There Are No Shortcuts to Transformation

A CEO called to hire me to speak to his sales organization. I was a particularly good fit, and we both agreed that my keynote was just the right message at just the right time.

As we talked about the event and the outcomes, the CEO asked me how I could guarantee that his team would execute and succeed with what I taught them in the keynote. I explained that outcome far exceeds what anyone can achieve in a keynote, and that transformation is something very different than a keynote (and quite a bit more money). He said he needed assurances that the keynote would ensure change. I told the CEO that I was unable to agree to speak to his team, knowing that there was no way I could achieve the outcomes he expected, and we parted ways there and then.

Transformation is a decision, followed by a thousand conversations, followed by thousands of actions, small and large. This is why so few companies actually change.

A Fish Rots from the Head

Change starts at the top. If the leader isn’t willing to change, the organization is incapable of change. A leader who won’t change is a bottleneck that prevents the rest of the organization from changing. It’s the leader’s willingness to engage with the change, to lead it, and to exercise their will to insist that the change occurs that ensures success.

Good Managers and Accountability

If behaviors are going to change, it is going to be the work of the managers to initiate that change, and to change the behaviors of their team members. Without managers who are willing to hold people accountable for adopting new beliefs, learning new skills, and taking new actions, change is nothing more than a fleeting idea.

Change Is Incremental, Even In Transformation

Change takes time. It takes more time than you want it to take, and the results are not fast coming. 1 comes before 2, and 2 comes before 3.

Transformation is a game of patient persistence. You have to keep doing what you know is right, even when it doesn’t feel like it’s working. You have to stay the course, waiting for the skills to be developed, waiting out the people who are trying to wait you out by pressing forward, and waiting for the wheels to grab the pavement and thrust you forward. You can do the right thing for longer than you think without generating the results you want. The results will, however, show up when you’ve put in the work.

These are the fundamentals to change. There are no shortcuts, and there are no quick fixes. If you want transformation, first you have to transform.

Filed under: Leadership

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