Leading change can be a very frustrating experience. You can clearly see what others need to change and yet the change doesn’t happen. They may even appear to want to change. You might try multiple times, but still your advice goes unheeded. If you have positional power, you might resort to telling them to change. If not, there aren’t a lot of options available to you. Is it time to give up and move on?
Why People Change
The challenge we face in this situation is people only change if they think it is in their interests. They might be willing to dip their toes in the water but they quickly need to see some benefit or else they will abandon the effort. What if you are in a position of power and you can mandate the change? You will probably see some change at first, but sustained change is unlikely. The person will lack commitment unless you keep on top of them, and that’s no fun for either of you.
How To Lead Change
To lead change you have connect to what the other person cares about. When you connect to care, it stimulates their commitment, and leads them to take action and generate results. So how do you do this? Chris Voss outlines three steps in his book, Never Split The Difference.
- Build Rapport. Establish trust with the other person by actively listening to their point of view. Be empathetic about their situation. You don’t have to agree but you can acknowledge it.
- Uncover Motivation. Now you understand the other person’s point of view, explore what they care about. What is important to them?
- Make Relevant Offers. Use your understanding to offer something that they will assess as valuable. If it is attractive enough, it will provide the motivation to change.
What change are you leading and whose interests are you serving?