Five Key Steps to Lead Change and Succeed
By Kgobati Magome & Dr Michael Hall
If you want to create and lead change in your community, there are five key steps that have been proven to work -
Alone you can do things, and achieve much. Yet, if you really want to achieve something great, if you want to invent or create something of lasting excellence, you are going to want to do so within a community or a team.
As the great African Proverb states, “If you want to go far, go together.” Going together- collaboration- is an incredibly powerful approach. It has brought us the Pyramids of Egypt, a man on the moon, the space station, as well as various other inventions such as Facebook and Twitter among others. Closer to home, it is the power of going together that brought South Africans the “new Rainbow South African Nation” and continues to bear fruit for many causes the world over.
So, as we continue with this year’s no violence against women campaign, we want to remind ourselves of how to make the best of this power of going together to succeed in leading the change we want to see.
Here are five key proven steps to take:
Make a Decision to actively work together with others for a greater good. Many people are blocked from creative collaborations by their ego, because they want to have “their way”, or have the need for constant recognition, attention or honor. They may also have a vested interest in the status quo, or just fear change. Making a decision to work with others re-organizes your mind to channel energy towards your goal. It will help you to open yourself up to other people’s views, and welcome others into your world. This requires you to balance your need to have “your way” with the need to be part of a winning team.
Co-create a vision with others. At a subconscious level, we humans do things because there is some benefit we derive from them. Being aware of this, and talking about that mutual benefit is important in creating the energy for doing what needs to be done. So, instead of going it alone, going on your own even if no one else believes in your vision, or coercing others to be with you using threats and other means, help others to buy into your vision. Do what is necessary to point out the mutual benefits for your vision to become a shared vision with the people you are working with.
Cultivate the basic social skills necessary for effective collaboration. This involves brushing up on the skills for listening and being present to others. Rather than interrupting, being bossy, demanding, self-centered, critical, sarcastic or judgmental- deliberately listen to others, support them, validate and confirm what you are hearing. Take the time to incorporate what others are saying and feeling. So, how would you rate yourself on these skills, and what can you do brush up on these in this month?
Embrace people’s differences and celebrate them for the benefit of all. The power of collaboration lies in – as the African idiom points out – the fact that we can do more together, travel further together, than we can alone. Bringing together and synergizing different facets generates new creativity that enables more together than individually. This requires that you - as a leader - recognize others and respect them for being unique and innately worthwhile. It also requires each person’s uniqueness and differences to be celebrated and used to the benefit of others. So, to what extent do you pull people in your group together, and embrace their differences? What are you doing to help the group’s spirit emerge and to enable everyone to feel an important part of the group?
Celebrate milestones, and re-calibrate as necessary along the way. Celebrating milestones and having specific rewards along the way helps you to consolidate the change so that it becomes part of everyday life and continues to happen. It encourages and helps you - the person who is driving the change - to feel good and renew your energies to keep going for the goal. So, how much time do you take to celebrate achievements and milestones?
In today’s interconnected world, collaboration - going together - is more important than ever. Neither individuals nor organizations can afford to “go it alone,” operate in isolation, or act as though they are independent from others. Sadly, though, we still see individuals, organizations and nations attempting to do so. Today, big visions and “big hairy audacious goals” take people working together effectively as high performance teams to achieve. Today, companies are moving to self-managing teams of people who, via their collaboration, provide the leadership and management required for their area of responsibility.