Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 148

Forcing change never builds capacity as well as when people want to change.

Change is one of those things that is never easy.  Even when we are in favor of a change, leaving the status quo is always tough.  Imagine how much tougher change becomes when we are forced to make a change, rather than when we welcome the change with open arms.

Leaders who force change miss out on the importance of truly building capacity.  You can't make people believe in an initiative by forcing it down their throats.  Nor can you encourage people to support an idea just because you keep repeating it over and over.

Building capacity is one of those leadership skills that is all relational.  If we know how to work with other people, we can more effectively build capacity than if we aren't quite a "people-person."

Forced change ends up in one of two places.  Either the initiative is enacted, and people hate it, constantly working against it and forcing us, as leaders, to constantly be travelling uphill.

Or, the initiative, even if it is a great one, never gets off the ground, doomed to failure simply because it was presented poorly.

In both cases, the leader loses.

And, so do all the other stakeholders, particularly if the initiative would, in fact, make things better for all.

Building capacity requires finesse, and that means leaders need to step carefully around the issue as they collect data.  Knowing your supporters and detractors is important as is getting a big picture idea of how the initiative will not only change things in the present, but in the future as well.

Once we've collected this data, we can begin bringing those on board who are always our early adopters.  A leader can't foster an initiative alone.  Having a group of educators who see the merit of the work being done will make encouraging others to participate all the easier.

Finally, leaders need to celebrate small successes and also reflect on benchmarks and failures.  Change is a life process, and as such, we have to approach it as a community.

Making change is never easy, but forcing change is impossible.  Better to build capacity and work towards change as a family, then to fight a battle that can never truly be won.

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