“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the New.” Socrates
Change though inevitable can be scary. The thought of making a life change can at times be so intimidating that even though your coworkers may want to be the master of their own destiny, they'll end up doing nothing – or settling for less than they deserve – simply because fear and paralysis sets in.
In today’s fast-moving world, leading change must be part of a CEO’s daily checklist, because without change there is no creativity, innovation, or incentive for improvement.
Simply put, organizations (and individuals) who initiate change in a way that engages at all levels, will have a better opportunity to create the desired outcome than those who do not.
There is no single checklist I’ve found to lead change, so here's 3 strategies I’ve employed to inspire my coworkers to become visionaries, rather than observers, in creating our collective future.
1) Tell the truth, build trust
Demonstrate integrity, honesty, and credibility, and don’t make promises you can’t keep – both as a CEO and a brand. By looking for the candid honest truth in every area of your organization, regardless of track record, and financial consequences you will always engender trust. Trust cannot be bought, it has to be earned.
In my industry, being a disrupter finding an ‘unseen’ efficiency and leveraging it when it's least expected was and still is a game changer. Operating from a position of trust allows innovation to thrive.
To keep innovation ‘innovative’ and manageable, simply focus on a different aspect of the company each year - structure, rewards, processes, resources, ecosystems – wherever you feel you need to impact the most each year to create a breakthrough competitive advantage. This fluidity also breaks up outdated power structures and will make an organization as a whole more creative, and adaptable to market innovation.
2) Seeing the forest through the trees
There's a persistent problem among many growing companies: the failure to spot new opportunities in the marketplace and initiate new developments in a timely manner. Innovation so often declines when a company grows, but it doesn't have to if the CEO makes it part of the company DNA.
My top focus as a CEO is to consistently inspire others to think as visionaries, rather than reactionaries. Here are two ways that have worked to take my teams to new heights:
-Empower others to stay focused on what they ‘want’ to create, rather than focus on things they ‘don’t want’, which ends up creating fear instead of inspired action with clear goals.
-The best way to do this is to expose people to new aspects of their tasks and encourage new ways of collaboration on the big picture. We all need to see it to believe it.
What happens is that people start asking bigger questions, pushing boundaries, thinking of their work in new ways as it relates to other areas both internally and externally. This kind of thinking always spurs innovation.
3) Count on ‘Purpose’ to power your mission
Purpose is one word with a whole universe of power. Just as the sun powers the earth, in business numbers power progress.
What gets measured gets done. When people are under constraints to deliver efficiency, effectiveness, and engagement, they'll think, act, and create change on purpose to make their numbers. Nature evolves under constraint, and as humans, we do to. Ask yourself daily, how are we progressing on our purpose, at every point of change?
New research from HeartMath proves that our heart has a mind, and creates the hormones that drive us. I recently became aware that babies develop a heart before a brain. This tells me why 87% of consumers believe companies perform best over time if their purpose goes beyond profit.* It all begins in the heart, and always has.
At EarthKind®, we’re on a mission to reduce the need for families to use toxic chemicals in the home to control pests. Our goal is to reduce chemicals 50% by 2023. When we began, the category was 98% toxic, today it's 90%.
To reach that goal, everyone has to be thinking like a leader. They need to collectively think: "how do we create products that work as effectively as chemicals? How do we make them affordable? How do we make them available to all homeowners? How do we get the word out without big marketing budgets? It takes everyone in the company working on answers to these questions to effect change.
When people believe in what they're working for, that truth is what connects the heart, mind, and gut in each of us to be proactive leaders creating our own destinies and initiating innovative change for our own futures.