What fuels the momentum for transformational change? Transformation has more vitality and purpose when it is inspired by a vision statement (a desired future state) that compels unified action throughout your organization. A vision for change is more powerful when it is co-created by large numbers of your stakeholders rather than handed down by senior leaders. When people participate in the formation of a shared vision, they are far more likely to achieve it.
Major change triggers people into a range of challenging emotional reactions. There are many approaches and tools to support people in making the emotional shift out of resistance to committing to making an organizational change. One vital tool is the two-way, face-to-face conversation, either with an individual if the issue only pertains to them, or in a team or larger group setting if the upset is pervasive. How you facilitate such conversations and meetings can make or break your change efforts. The first step is up to you.
Every person has six primary core needs. We each have all six to some degree, but one or two are usually dominant and drive most of our behavior. You could say that these one or two are how we are wired and we behave in our lives to meet these priority needs. If they are not met, they become our hot buttons--our most sensitive issues. When our core needs are threatened, we react to protect ourselves. When we are emotionally hurt, upset, or resistant, it is usually because one or more of these core needs have been negatively triggered by events around us. This is especially true during change when things are more uncertain!
People often share with me their “aha moment” of pleasant surprise when they first realize what the name of our company, Being First, means.
Being First is a double entendre: If you want to be first – win, perform your best, increase market share, or any other objective you may have – then put your “Being” first. Our name extolls the truth that excellence and achievement on the outside is ultimately enabled by your development on the inside.
Mindfulness is the start of your self-development that can lead to greater success in every aspect of your life. It is not the end game, but it is the beginning.
There are two critical factors that have a dramatic impact on the success of change—adequate capacity and the assurance of the right skills and knowledge to fulfill the requirements of the future state. This is especially true if the transformation you are after requires the organization to break through to new levels of performance.
Great transformational leaders have many traits and characteristics in common:
- They see the big picture and the relationships between market, organizational, human, and cultural dynamics.
- They see interdependencies, cause-and-effect relationships, delayed consequences, and distant impacts of local actions that others miss.
- They navigate complexity well. They can see the roadmap for solving complex challenges that create new possibilities.
- They relate and connect to people in authentic ways.
- They engage others, communicate and listen deeply, and ignite the passions and motivations of those around them.
Our organizations, and the world, need great transformational leaders. How do we develop them? It all starts with self-mastery.
What is Transformational Change?
Transformation is a unique type of organizational change that often triggers significant human dynamics that, if not addressed, can become the cause of failure. Often, leaders do not know how to handle these human dynamics, but in transformational leadership, they become leverage points for success. Here’s how.
All sponsors want to secure the best content solution for the issue they are solving, especially if it is at the level of an organizational breakthrough. In fact, this is the easy part of leading change. History shows us that the cause of failure is rarely that the solution was wrong; it is more often that the organization could not adapt, adopt, or integrate with it.
When determining your scope of change, think beyond defining the problem you are trying to solve and consider the implications of the change that you imagine would best serve the organization. This requires expanding your view of the solution’s requirements and its impacts on the organization and your people. What would a radically different future require?
The moment you take on the mantle of change sponsor for a priority change initiative, especially one that requires a breakthrough result, your attention must go to how to launch your effort so that it will be understood, create momentum, and have the viability to be successful from start to finish. This requires an effective launch strategy.
Achieving breakthrough requires possibility thinking. Possibility thinking is when we open our perspective to entertain new possibilities that have previously been beyond our worldview, expectation, experience, or comprehension. The challenge is that most people’s minds don’t think in this way without conscious intention. If we are not conscious of our mindset, our minds have the unconscious tendency to engage in probability thinking that limits our perspective. This keeps new possibilities from ever emerging.
For forty years we have seen a consistent correlation between our clients' change leadership success and their level of self-mastery. The greater their self-mastery, the greater their success. One of the most practical and immediate self-mastery techniques is breath control.
You might be wondering, “What does breath control have to do with maximizing my results from change?” In fact, as a results-oriented pragmatist, you might shun a blog on breathing. “Oh, the soft stuff. This isn't for me.” But be forewarned—this blog may hold key insights that will radically improve your change leadership capabilities. So, take a deep breath and read on to discover how simple breath control techniques can make you a better leader.