The Formula For Creating Actual Change
When you considered the idea of serving in a student leader position, the wheels in your mind probably began to turn as you thought about the ways you could create something new or make something better. In fact, the very issue that appeared to frustrate and discourage the current person in the "soon-to-be-your" position, is the same issue that excites you and challenges you to turn it around into a positive.
You are ready to make some changes around here. But where do you start?
I believe there are five key areas that you will need to consider and develop in order for your proposed change to result in...well...actual change.
1. Purpose - This answers the question: Why do we need to make this change? Most people really don't like to change. Unless you can provide them with a valid and necessary reason, you will struggle to get people onboard with your idea. People will rally behind your proposed change if they feel that it has a compelling purpose and leads to a better future.
2. Strategy - Simply proposing a change doesn't guarantee that it will become actual change. This area answers the question: How will we implement this change? The more people affected by this change, the more difficult it will be to bring about. A strategy helps people know the next step to take in the uncertain path that change brings about.
3. Influence - Everyone can have a great idea, but not everyone has the support that one needs in order to bring that idea to reality. This area answers the question: Why should I believe you? As the leader, you may not have the influence necessary to change most people's minds, but you should know who does. Find out who people listen to and get them onboard with your strategy and purpose. If you lack the influence to persuade people that the proposed change is a good idea, you will struggle to bring anything to life.
4. Communication - Throughout the change process, communication will add momentum or stall your strategy and purpose. This area answers the question: What do people need to know as we proceed toward this change? You must clearly communicate and over-communicate purpose and strategy on a regular basis. People will have questions, doubts, concerns, and misgivings. If you fail to constantly keep people in the loop, you will lose any valuable influence that you have and they will find ways to stall your strategy.
5. Resources - If you propose a change, you must make sure that your group or organization has the resources in place to make the change possible. Or you must make them aware through communicating your strategy how you plan on obtaining the necessary resources. This area answers the question: Do we have what we need to move into this new area? Resources can be materials, people, systems, money, etc. They are whatever it takes to bring your change about.
Think about these five areas as part of a formula:
Purpose + Strategy + Influence + Communication + Resources = Leads to Actual Change - People will move toward accepting your change.
If you are missing one of these elements, it will stall your proposed change.
Purpose + Strategy + Influence + Communication + Resources = Leads to Apathy - People feel your change is unnecessary.
>> Purpose +
Strategy + Influence + Communication + Resources = Leads to Confusion - People will not know how to move forward.
>> Purpose + Strategy +
Influence + Communication + Resources = Leads to Mistrust - People won't support your change.
>> Purpose + Strategy + Influence +
Communication + Resources = Leads to Ignorance - People will be unclear about your change.
>> Purpose + Strategy + Influence + Communication +
Resources = Leads to Dead Ends - People won't be able to bring about the change.
Sometimes, even the smallest idea can be difficult to implement. But change is a necessary function of every organization if it desires to remain innovative and relevant and wants to grow. Growth equals change. But change doesn't necessarily mean growth. That is why purpose is so important when one considers leading an organization through the change process.
Leaders realize that every change will cost the organization something, but believes that the price is worth what the change will bring about. Whenever you consider proposing a change within your organization, run the idea through each of these areas. Otherwise, you might face more of an uphill battle than you need to.