Where We Don’t Want to Be in 18 Months

What if I told you that you can do something fast and it’ll feel like you’ve made progress, but it’s sure to fail in the end, OR you can do something successfully, but it’ll take longer and be harder work?

Most people want to be successful, so if presented with this choice, they’d say they’d do the hard work to be successful. But apparently most people aren’t presented with this choice. At least not in real life when it comes to leading change, given that 2/3 of change efforts fail.

Instead, we as leaders see a mirage, something that tells us that we can be successful changing our organization while moving fast—not by taking the time to ask our people for their ideas (in order to to make it their idea and to get a better perspective for solutions), not by taking the time to understand what will work and what won’t work in our organization.

We’re excited about the mirage, the idea that we can get into a room with fellow leaders and quickly solve the problem and hand it down to everyone else. We’re not excited when our people push back, when we finally learn that our ideas for the change were naïve, unworkable.

The mirage is our happy place, though. Or we’re under the gun. So we get it done in, say, six months. Then four months later we realize the change isn’t sticking. So we try another fast change effort, and 18 months after we’ve begun, we still don’t have our change. Talk about being under the gun now!

Advice from someone who’s been in the place we don’t want to be 18 months later: Do it right. Take a year to be successful instead of being unsuccessful and then unsuccessful and then unsuccessful.

Let me know what you think. I look forward to being in touch.