In my career I’ve often found myself bewildered when I’m amazingly ineffective in engineering a change that appears to be a no-brainer. I’m kind, smart, experienced, charismatic, brave and strategic. Where does the resistance come from? Don’t they get it? What’s the deal? Well, I’ve learned that you can’t have more than a 15 minute advantage on your constituency. Your constituency can be your team or your organization. When you have more than a 15 minute advantage, you have to go back and get them. Dramatic change comes from within, seldom from without. People need to be ready for change. They need to understand the language you’re speaking. You need to understand their’s. People and organizations can only change a little at a time when pushed. I have found that even if people embrace and talk about a change, they can only be influenced/guided to change gradually. Usually I’m too far ahead and have to go back, take the temperature, listen, understand their language, their incentives. And then bring them along slowly, planning and executing smaller steps. Takes great patience – not my long suit – exercising my weak patience muscles. Then I need to be prepared to move forward when the time is right. The fun part of being a change agent is finding and working with those like-minded colleagues who will co-engineer change with the 15 minutes in mind. If it seems that it will never be possible, it’s time to move on. Please lord, help me to know that time.
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