Now that’s a thought, isn’t it? ‘…from where they are to where they have not been.’ It implies that we are going to take people somewhere that isn’t here. Easier said than done.
The craving not to look ridiculous is embedded in the human psyche. But when we lead, we need to dampen down that instinct and go out on a limb, if needs be, to push the VISION forward. We have to speak up. We have to speak of ideas that may seem impractical and somewhat unconventional at first glance. Most bold ideas start into a precarious existence. It takes someone to be the advocate for ideas if they are ever going to get up and running.
“It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” Adlai E. Stevenson II
Quite often, many of the initial objections aren’t as insurmountable as they first seemed. There have been naysayers littered throughout human history. Many people ‘in olden days’ thought that the Elizabethan (the first Elizabeth, not this one. I know, we too in the UK are ‘Elizabethans’! But I digress.) Adventurers were totally crazy…the Earth was flat and all that….. In fact, we’ve probably all been naysayers at one time or another. But if we are going to lead we have to find ways to get those ‘crazy ideas’ out there and for people to embrace them at some point.
So how do we do that in a way which gets people to at least listen and consider our brave new ideas? Well, we don’t have to put it all ‘out there’ at first. We can find one or two people we are comfortable with and see how they view it. We can use their reactions to assess how it might be viewed by a wider audience and take the opportunity to hone our delivery. By talking to others and seeing their perspective we can find out what we don’t know and to get greater clarity on how the VISION might unfold. Others see things that we don’t and by listening to their points we get a more complete sense of the landscape and can then develop a VISION that could actually work. If we know where the landmines are we can find a path around them.
Neither should we apologise for our ideas or let them go too easily when faced with strong comment. Challenge people to stop being ‘Devil’s Advocate’ at this point and focus on how it can be done rather than what can get in the way. Assure them that there will be ample opportunity to review concerns along the way but initially, you want to focus on how it could be done. Negativity may appear so be prepared and plan for it so it won’t push you off course when it arrives. People often need a little time to grasp what has been said and to make sense of it in their own way.
There will always be those who aren’t comfortable with change just because they aren’t but it is the role of a leader to promote ideas and concepts that will improve things.
So. Are you on your horse? Are you leading your Cavalry? Or are they still in the corral trying to catch their horse?
We’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear your challenges and what approaches you may have tried, or be thinking of trying, to improve your VISION for your company or your part of the company. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and share your stories with us. Go on. You know you want to.
Jan Sargent, Director of Transforming Performance, can be contacted for support with Leadership, Team Performance, Coaching, Mentoring, Behavioural Profiling and Executive Coaching and help in getting the best from you and your people.