I’ve been impressed by a recent article in the magazine Engineering & Technology (5th May). It’s an extract by Steve Carter from his book “Road to Audacity.” He is a psychologist, fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, and makes three fascinating points about handling change, which seem to me to be a good framework and to apply more widely than just the present recession. Here’s my summary paraphrase.
Things never stay as they are, so we need to be as attached to the present as we would want to be to a building that is on fire! Leaders must not offer false comfort, but be honest about what is happening now. We need to be in fully in touch with reality, and this includes listening to our staff.
A MOTIVATIONALLY RICH VISION
So where to jump to? We can’t stay where we are; motivating people to avoid something does not work; and anyway if we avoid reality things may get worse not get better! We need to have prominently in front of us in our mind that which we are seeking to build. Know what you want to become, and be passionate about it.
A SMALL MANAGEABLE WORLD
If the vision, the desired change, seems to be too distant, people feel not motivated but powerless. Therefore there needs to be a focus on small steps, that is realistic goals in areas that people can make an impact (compare Stephen Covey's “Circle of Influence”). People need to be clear about how they can contribute. So the leader’s task is to present the reality, the vision, and also the plan for this leg of the journey.
Text of article here
Steve's profile at Apter International here