To Ponder: Why Do You Lead?
A few weeks back, while recording an interview with Kevin Eikenberry on the Remarkable Leadership Podcast, I was asked about my career journey. During the discussion, I was able to put into words something that I’ve always intuitively known but never clarified: The reasons behind my career choices.
Essentially - Why do I work in change?
There’s some interesting contextual elements in play here, but on the whole, my career has been shaped by two internal values:
1) A desire to make a positive difference in people’s lives, and
2) A desire and longing for continually different contexts, people, and challenges.
It was the second point that initially led me to project management all those years ago - and it was both values that led me to found the Valuable Change Co.
Change is this wonderful space of both hope and uncertainty.
And Change meets my career values to a T. The simple act of clarifying my own internal WHY has led to a beautiful clarity in my day to day decision making and a new level of resilience in what I’m doing on those days that aren’t so sunny.
So this week, I invite you to do the same. Ponder:
WHY are you a change leader? What values shaped your decisions to this point — and what can you do today to better meet those values?
To Action: Does This Still Make Sense?
Most change - whether it’s a small process update, or a large transformation - tends to have a reason for its existence. Sometimes that ‘WHY’ is called out specifically, and other times it’s internalised and intuitive (which is the topic of a future post here, I’m sure).
In fact, all too often we hear the phrase ‘Start with Why’,
But what about when the change has already started?
How do we ensure our change continues to be useful to our organisation?
It’s with this in mind I posit to you a different question:
Does This Change Still Make Sense?
Or, to put it another way, is the project WHY still valid?
It’s this question that transforms that initial why into something of ongoing use. A great way to think about this is in terms of ‘proof of the problem’. To give you a sense of what I’m talking about here, here’s a simple example:
It’s something that takes just a few seconds to answer, yet it’s a huge guidepost for the ongoing success and usefulness of your change efforts. What’s even more awesome about this is that it then simplifies your decision making (something we touched on last week).
The decision shifts from a wish-wash of general feeling into one of three options:
a) The WHY is still valid,
b) The WHY landscape is changing and needs exploration and monitoring, or
c) The WHY is no longer valid.
This gives you as a Change Leader a very simple decision tree.
Ask this question over the coming week, then act accordingly.
To Reflect: An Obsession With What
Something I commonly see across clients is an obsession with the ‘What’ of your change efforts. By this I mean, an obsession with what I call the ‘Delivery 6’’.
What exactly are we doing?
How will we do it?
How much will it cost?
Who will we need?
What could go wrong?
When will we do it?
Each is an important question.
But each of the Delivery 6 is meaningless unless the change is actually useful.
As a Change Leader, ensuring that usefulness is your job.
Surprise! Brendon’s On The Leader Think Podcast This Week!
A week ago I had an awesome chat with Philip Greisen, the host of the Leader Think Podcast. …and this week Philip has published it! (That’s an impressive turnaround time!)
Philip said this after the podcast:
I loved your down to earth, lighthearted attitude. Never stiff or too intellectual.
I love how you include science, theory and practical advice all in one.
You can find the podcast here:
Or, anywhere you digest your podcasts.
During the podcast we discussed:
How to ensure ongoing change and team momentum,
What behavioural science teaches us about why we make decisions, (and why 'What's in it for me' is only half the story), and
The power of effective change leadership.
Give it a listen today!
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Have a fabulous weekend. See you next week.