Many leaders today are yearning for fundamental change: of the culture, of the team’s dynamic, or of important relationships. Funny thing. As alluring as transformation is, and as much as we want the end result of it – most of us also secretly insist on getting through the experience without letting anything go.
It’s like expecting the bright miracle of a resurrection without the distinct reality of the crucifixion.
The space between endings and beginnings is routinely awkward. Leaders who are able to skillfully navigate this space are particularly good at two things: noticing obstacles and eliminating them – even when they realize that it’s their own thinking and behavior that’s the source of what’s stuck.
Some examples most business leaders will recognize include:
We want more employee engagement in the culture but can’t imagine letting go of decision-making authority and status perks.
We yearn for more trust in our relationships but can’t seem to let go of false harmony and hyper-politeness.
We crave more team cohesion, but the default approach of using blame to explain missed targets is ingrained.
Letting go of what’s familiar takes unwavering commitment to the new outcome, and vast courage to challenge ourselves about the way we look at things. It can be done, and you can find it happening in many global organizations whose leaders are committed to building the human capacity for rapid and sustainable change.
Where do you see a change effort that is stuck [hint: it sounds like: ‘here we go again’ and it looks like ‘one step forward and two steps back.’]
What part of the familiar ‘status quo’ is blocking progress because it’s too hard to let go of?