Monday, January 28, 2013

Are You Driving Change?

We all know that change is a constant, but get (appropriately) skeptical when people drone on about how "Change is good".  Why are people resistant to change?  Because some change is NOT good.  People become supportive only when we believe the change will be beneficial.

So what do world-class leaders do to optimize the process of change?

Here's an apt analogy a former Disney colleague of mine shared:

If you were riding in a car someone else was driving with the intent of going to a specific location, and they started driving along an unfamiliar route, what would you do?

1. Confirm the destination and make sure that you both intend to arrive at the same place.  If not, then you must determine whether or not you want to go to this new location.  If the final destination is the same, then you might...
2. Ask if the current route is better than the route you are used to.  If it is better, then support the new route (change) and learn something helpful.  If it isn't better, then you would suggest your more effective route (solution) to get to your mutual goal.  If you have nothing better to offer, then you would just let them drive and support the unfamiliar approach.
3. If you don't want the driver's destination or route, you can either disembark or take over control of driving the car.

Ultimately, the choice is yours.  Actively support the process or actively make it better, but get involved one way or the other (being passive is simply abdicating any responsibility).  It does not help to sit in the passenger seat and complain about the route or destination.  You don't improve the outcome - and you actually make the process worse.  The best option is to determine whether or not the "new way" is better or not, influence the driver if your way is legitimately better, or do the driving yourself.

Have you determined your destination?  Are you doing whatever it takes to appropriately influence your situation?  Or are you letting someone else do the "driving" and "taking you on a ride" you don't want to be on?  Are you willing to take the bold action of taking over or disembarking?

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!