When someone tells you to change something, what is your reaction? Do you become defensive, get frustrated, or feel motivated to do something different?
Most people we know do not like to be told to change. As a leader, you are responsible to make change happen, but we have found that it is much more effective to inspire change than to demand it. Here are a few tips to help inspire necessary changes:
- Make it vivid – Use analogies, share examples and tell stories to help people SEE the change for themselves. Inspiration is all about stimulating, motivating, encouraging and influencing others to action. What they see and believe, they will do.
- Connect change to something bigger. What is the greater why? What is the powerful purpose? Whether you tie the change to your vision and mission, your values or your strategy, change that inspires is bigger than the change itself!
- Model the change – If it’s important for someone else to do, it’s important enough for you to do. We are inspired by what we see people DO more than what they say. As Gandhi famously said, “BE the change you wish to see in the world.” Stop telling and start modeling the change.
- Crowdsource the change –People look to their peers for guidance on how to behave. When early adopters buy in, it builds momentum. Social theory proves that key influencers can create a tipping point toward the adoption of change.
- Listen to Understand – during times of change, people need to process what is happening. We live in a “fix it” world where the mere mention of a frustration or inconvenience moves us into problem solving mode. Stop solving and start listening! One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to allow them to feel “heard.” That means you must focus on understanding and do not solve – just listen.
Inspiration is infinitely more successful in creating change. Choose your actions carefully as you inspire others to change.