(Look below for the link to download the infographic pictured above).
Here's a myth you'll recognize:
Because you have the title, you have the authority to lead.
Yes, as CEOs we can tell people what to do. We have all the carrots and sticks.
And telling people what to do is necessary when the assembly line for creating customer value is mature and established. "There's a way we do things," becomes a mantra. Great for scalability, and great for creating value and return at the margins.
But telling people what to do doesn't work when we need to fundamentally transform how things work.
For example, when we need to disrupt, restructure, bring in new leadership, acquire and integrate companies...
...when we need to navigate a rapidly changing world.
...when we need to influence key stakeholders and build coalitions to get big things done.
Bottom line, telling people what to do doesn't work when we need to innovate.
That's right, innovation is simply very hard to mandate (see Blockbuster, Kodak, etc., the list is long).
The Mother Of Innovation Is Leading Change
Innovation is hard because its mother is a deep personal choice. To authentically innovate, to find solutions to hard problems, individuals have to choose to push into the unknown.
I'm not talking about the extraordinarily creative types who hit historical moments and manifest unicorns that disrupt entire industries (see Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs).
I am talking about most of people who work for us, normal people.
We need enough these people to have enough of an appetite for innovation so that our organization can continuously refine value propositions - or invent them anew - to gain and maintain competitive advantage.
To repeat: you can tell somebody to do that, but it doesn't work (as many researchers have concluded).
This challenge multiplies in the real world of teams. The challenge is greater when you need people to venture steadfast into the unknown together - and to not break ranks in the face of ambiguity and setbacks.
The challenge is also greater in the real world of complex organizations, in the land of matrixed capabilities and the private Idaho's of power silos.
If you've tried to lead change in these real worlds, you know what I'm talking about.
The Roadmap For Leading Transformational Change
There is a roadmap for leading transformational change.
I'm not referring to fixing problems or adopting established best practices (for these important distinctions, see How We Think About Leading Change Matters [ebook]).
I am sharing a proven roadmap to lead transformational change that works. There are six steps:
- Choose To Lead Change: You choose to be the source for a culture of accountability – the first step on any change journey.
- Create A Case For Change: Create a presentation, script or communication plan that ignites urgency and buy-in for change you envision.
- Build A Guiding Coalition: Build and leverage a core group of trusted allies committed to following this roadmap towards the ideal future state.
- Conduct A Gap Analysis: Assess key conditions for success that allow primary constraints to be easily identified in business cultures and business models.
- Map Milestones: Identify milestones on the journey towards your ideal future state.
- Influence & Implement: Together build and leverage alliances to overcome resistance and ensure alignment on a shared journey – executing towards the next milestone.
I developed this approach partnered with CEOs in dozens of businesses, from tech startups to complex global firms. This is the work I do. What I find reassuring is that it works (always a plus!).
It also reassuring that this framework echoes the work of other change leaders (e.g., Kotter). We're encountering similar solutions to the big challenge of how, precisely, leaders can create teams who powerfully lead complex change.
I created an infographic that lays out the roadmap and provides critical 'how-to' details. You can find it here.
And please let me know what you think.