Making sustainable changes in any organization is not easy: Change is hard. People resist it—even positive change—and they often express their resistance through declining engagement and performance, and by slipping back into old habits.
But, change is necessary to succeed and grow. For change to happen, and for it to stick, tough decisions are needed. Leaders need to be serious about communicating passionately, engaging their people and increasing productivity to improve bottom line results.
Easier said than done, right?
But what if you approach change differently. Leaders first need to understand that you can’t change people—only people can decide to change.
Creating change requires a rational and, more importantly, an emotional connection. No matter how rational an argument you make for the need for change, people will not buy in until you engage them on an emotional level.
This is why creating change is so challenging. People are inherently resistant to change, and connecting with them emotionally will not happen overnight. Change takes time, and you need to have a plan—I use the 3P Change Equation.
The 3P Change Equation
Change in Purpose & Passion + Change in Process = Change in RESULTS
The 3P change equation is a framework that is focused on both the emotional and rational elements of change. It includes 3 essential elements that are critical for CHANGE:
State your intent behind the change you propose and define what your organization will stand for and how you will choose to behave/conduct yourself. This also establishes your culture.
In the absence of a clear focused purpose—whether it be for the company or a project you are working towards—people will fill that vacuum with their own and you potentially have people moving in different directions.
However, with a clear purpose in place, it provides your people with clarity and the opportunity to emotionally connect and join you in your journey.
Once you have a clarified your purpose, you need to tap into the passion/emotion of the people who you are working with. You need to understand who your people are and what drives them so you can tap into their emotions.
This starts with your own behaviors. Leaders need to go first—lead by example and walk the talk. Integrity of your behaviors opens the door for others to trust your vision and decisions—and builds trust and cooperation into your organizational culture.
Finally, you need a clear roadmap of where you are going and how you will get there. The foundational element of any roadmap is a process for building accountability into your organizational DNA. Without that critical ingredient, no process will save your change initiative.
Clarity of expectations creates accountability and ensures the organization delivers against expectations—internally and externally. I call this a No Excuse mindset and it will help you achieve a change in results.
Sustainable Change Improves Performance, Profits, and Results
While difficult, change is essential if you want to see an improvement in performance, profits, and results. People inherently resist change—even positive change that is beneficial—because it is hard, messy and painful. And it should be, otherwise everyone would be doing it. It is much easier to hold onto what is working right now than to make hard decisions, ruffle feathers, and hold people accountable to navigate change.
To succeed, it is essential to stir emotions strongly enough to overcome the natural tendency to slide back into the comfort of old habits. Purpose, passion, and process are the key elements to get your organization fired up and focused on creating real change. When leaders understand the rational and emotional components of change and how to clearly leverage the 3P Change Equation, they will be in a position to achieve desired outcomes.
When all these elements are in place, then you can expect a sustainable change in RESULTS.