This is the domain of the brave. And for that you definitely need resilience.
People won’t like it. People don’t want to see the truth because they want to stay within their comfort zone. Often it’s because there is a lack of collective resilience that change programmes deliver mediocre results.
The famous change equation (The Change Formula and model of Beckhard and Harris (1987) is actually attributed by them to David Gleicher) is a way of showing that an enormous effort is put into creating the conditions for getting over resistance to change:
Gleicher’s formula basically says your first step is to show people they should be dissatisfied with how they’re doing today. How do you lead people to become deeply dissatisfied with their current performance? It feels dangerous, difficult and unpredictable. It feels that the anxiety caused may not be worth it. Then, perhaps the whole issue is that the dissatisfaction would have to be BIG to make any difference- after all, doesn’t everyone have quite jaded views of change nowadays?
Then, do you have enough collective resilience to maintain a safe container strong enough for the level of anxiety that could be created?
On top of that, if the vision that you want them to go towards is unclear, woolly or emergent, creating dissatisaction seems pointless. The truth of current organisational visions is that they are unclear – we are in a world of ambiguity, complexity and wicked issues. Visions are now emergent, we’re trying stuff out, we rely on learning like mad to do all this successfully.
What do we do to help enable change as a leader? It seems we’re stuck!
The first step is that leaders – you – need to see the results you have today, and understand against the vision of the organisation and your bit of it – your vision – how you are doing.
- That takes capacity
- That takes mindfulness on a collective basis.
- That takes perspective.
- That takes collaborative effort.
- And to do it speedily, that takes resourcefulness.
How does all that come together? Resilience.
To have a vision in the first place takes a future-oriented focus.. We know that those who are at the level of resilience of coping or not coping so well, cannot have the capacity for this future-focussed work. Those whose resilience is not at least at bounce-back and beyond cannot authentically, passionately and intelligently co-create a vision that is about the future. Those coping, or those not coping well, resist change.
Bottom line? Resilience development is a necessary condition for any successful change.
Senior Executive Coach and Resilience Researcher
Curious about what resilience really is or how to build it? For further information on how to develop resilience, please get in touch. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.