Leading Through Change
What does it take to change the status quo? It takes a change agent that is willing to be bold, a person with the energy to exhaust themselves into getting the train back on track and a creative thinker that is firm but has the wisdom to be flexible. But, first and foremost you must understand the situation of the status quo. Understanding allows the change agent the opportunity to better engage with the problematic issues. Often times the group itself does not know how they arrived at the status quo or why it has become the norm or in some cases acceptable behavior. Using my many years of experience I will share three things a change agent must do to change the status quo.
First, be prepared. Your first interaction will set the tone, so you must deliver a meaningful solution that the group now views as their final destination. Be intentional and deliberate with your messaging. Prepare an agenda for your first meeting but not before speaking with key members of the group and seeking their advice and input. An agenda will help keep you on task. I have learned over and over and over again the importance of setting the agenda, of knowing what it is that you want to have as the final outcome and being willing to own up to that and to be responsible for that. You have to own your vision and allow the group to adopt the vision as their very own. Change starts in a person’s mind and the change agent must tap into the mentality of the group immediately. They have to see, be able to touch and feel that there is a stark difference from the status quo. Laying out a success plan and call to action will convey your degree of preparation and set the tone for the group as the journey begin.
Secondly, be authentic. The most impactful, potent leaders are those who are most authentic and most true to themselves. I think it can be easy to try to imitate another highly successful person. Instead, what I’ve learned is most important, is piecing together the things that you admire about the people you have learned from — but then expressing these things in ways that are unique to you. Trying to follow or pretend to be somebody else wouldn’t be the most true and distinctive version of yourself. Trying to be something or someone you are not will also make the process a steeper uphill battle. Authentic leaders speak their truth. Some say things to please others and look good in front of the crowd. Speaking truth is simply about being clear, being honest, and being authentic. It allows you to lead from the heart. The best leaders wear their hearts on their sleeves and are not afraid to show their vulnerability. They genuinely care about other people and spend their days developing the people around them. They are like the sun, the sun gives away all it has to the plants and the trees. But in return, the plants and the trees always grow toward the sun. Allow the group to know and accept you for who you are. Being authentic will help them grow to appreciate why you were entrusted with the assignment to change the status quo in the first place.
3. EMBRACE FAILURE
Thirdly, embrace failure. I think people need to stay humble no matter how successful they get. The nice thing about being a change agent is you are inheriting a situation that has failed to reach its expected or full potential. The admittance of failure can be a tough conversation for some because humility can be a very slippery slope. People that reside in the eye of the storm sometimes become blind to the reality of failure and the role they played to further erode the current situation. Your job as the change agent is to present failure in a manner that makes it an acceptable conversation. Do not be afraid to use personal experiences to gain credibility with your group. Having failed greatly does not make you a failure. It is because of your failed experiences that you are so well-equipped to succeed as a change agent. Facing the reality of a situation is a critical and sometimes awkward step forward. As the change agent you want to address the elephant in the room but do not allow the elephant to control the room. You want to provide the group with a big picture perspective that can be narrowed down to an uncomplicated process. This should not be a side step or tentative approach. It’s a come to Jesus conversation. Trust me, the group already knows the truth, they’re just waiting for someone to be bold enough to share the truth without judgment. They also desire a fresh start and an opportunity to be a valued member of the greatness the future holds. Your new found success will become a byproduct of a laser focus execution of the process. The elephant in the room will be removed and the outcomes will now be measured daily by conquering the process daily.
In closing, let me add one last thing about changing the status quo. Remember change was needed because the train was off track not because it is inoperable. In other words, don’t fix what’s not broken. Use what is working as a caboose to anchor your change. In doing so, you will gain valuable buy-in from subgroups that can help pull the entire train back on track expeditiously. Once the train is back on track, you want the passengers to appreciate the ride and realize they are the real change agent. My job was to create the change they needed to be successful.
Here is my parting shout to changing the status quo: The transition from who we are to who we are meant to be is often challenging and fearful but it’s part of the process to produce the change we are meant to ultimately experience and enjoy.
You are made to be a champion. Now Own It!
The Coach of Champions
About Bo Porter:
Bo Porter has more than 28 years of MLB experience as a player, coach, manager, front office executive and broadcast analyst. He is a proven leadership coach for high-profile executives and elite leaders in the sports industry. As a business development consultant, Bo provides tangible value by helping companies improve profit margins, and he’s a change agent for organizations looking to enhance, reboot or pivot their strategic plan. He understands the value of team building, the challenges facing athletes when they transition to life after sports and the value add of transformational leadership. Known as the “Coach of Champions,” Bo has coached, mentored, guided and influenced countless others to reach their full potential en route to championing their lives. Using his vast professional experiences, Bo has developed a holistic platform and become a force for all that is good. He’s the founding president and CEO of CORE Magazine, a digital and print-on-demand quarterly periodical reaching millions of growth mindset readers in business, sports, leadership, philanthropy and marketing.
Aspiring leaders register for his Champions of Leadership Program to successfully navigate the ever-so-important world of sustainable excellence in business, and athletes at all levels utilize The END GAME Bridge to Excellence to prepare for life after sports. Bo also is a highly sought after keynote speaker and author. Read his books, subscribe to his podcast, and follow him on Linkedin, Twitter at @BoPorter16Bo, Facebook @OfficialBoPorter, and Instagram @therealboporter.