Change management is too passive a term for what businesses need. They need progress leadership. The best companies are planning and leading towards progress not just making the changes that are happening around them. Progress Leadership has three key pillars that make it one of the best tools for keeping your business competitive in today’s ever-changing environment. They are proactive, future focused, and based on vision and plan rather than reaction and response to events and circumstance. Making changes isn’t enough anymore; you need progress leadership in order to succeed in the 21st century marketplace.
The word progress in progress leadership doesn’t refer to big, huge strides but rather small, steady steps that may seem insignificant in isolation. A few good examples are: progress on any company or business goal—no matter how large or small; progress on team morale, company culture and employee engagement; and improving processes for all levels of employees so that they’re more effective at work.
Before we can move forward, we need to decide where to go. Defining a clear path helps you gauge your progress and keeps you focused on moving forward. Businesses often use customer feedback as a way to determine their direction, but it’s not always easy to define what customers want or if they even know themselves. In fact, according to Fast Company, 70% of business decisions are driven by gut feeling rather than facts and data.
If your employees don’t buy into your vision and mission, they will make you miserable. The best way to combat that is to hire people who share your vision. If you don’t have enough of those folks on staff yet, start looking for ways to bring them on board now. Use social media to seek out like-minded candidates. Get in touch with alums of colleges or high schools you attended. Ask everyone you know if they know anyone who would be a good fit for your team.
Before any change can be made, you need to know why it’s important and how it will work. As a leader, your job isn’t to direct every employee; it’s to direct progress. The best way to make sure your team is on board with progress leadership—and committed to contributing—is by building trust. Without trust from their coworkers, employees won’t be invested in making positive changes or seeing them through.
It’s not a cliché: delegation really is a powerful leadership tool. By entrusting tasks to others, you free up your time to work on higher-level projects—and develop relationships with people who can help you long-term. And hey, even if your boss doesn’t hand out work like party favors, it doesn’t hurt to ask her what you can do to pitch in. The worst that can happen is she tells you there isn’t anything new right now.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or statistician to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Measure your progress at least once a week, monitor its effectiveness and make adjustments when necessary. The smarter you are about what you want, how you want it and why, sooner or later you will get it right. Remember: It’s all about progress not perfection!
Shout out to my friend Dean Lindsay and his New Book: Progress Leadership