Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150Leaders are hired to improve results. It’s expected that they will change the status quo to accomplish this objective. But leaders can’t change things by themselves; they succeed by inspiring and influencing others to get it done.

When driving a change initiative, be aware of two issues that influence how motivation for the change is perceived.

Impact and imperfection drive change by clarifying the reasons for it and by accelerating it.

People need to understand why a change is necessary or beneficial for them. There’s no chance of inspiring change without first answering the “why” question.

But striving for explicit clarity in your change rationale can reduce its impact, and the urgency needed to cause movement. Change can’t be achieved via memo – it requires an emotional connection, best accomplished through story-telling, using inferences to create perspective, and inviting others to engage in action. Meticulous explanations won’t drive the change, but they are often used later to justify it.

Change involves breaking things. It’s the pursuit of a better way or an entirely new approach; it is not a pursuit of perfection. Things are moving too fast for that – by the time you perfect something, the target has moved.

Unless you’re in the compliance business or a high risk industry (nuclear energy, medicine, etc.), it’s not expected that your change will produce perfection. Improved results are needed sooner rather than later, so asking more questions, analyzing more options, or pursuing any other activity that favors safe answers over a more rapid delivery of benefits, can cause the change initiative to fail. Using best practices to produce high quality, impactful change is different than stalling in pursuit of perfection. Get comfortable with imperfection on your way to implementing productive change that produces exceptional results. Refinements that strengthen the change will come later.

How often do you use stories or inferences to produce change actions?

Why is the pursuit for perfection different from the pursuit of quality?