Pursuing Progress vs. Change

Robert Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders deal with change almost every day.  And rarely is it easy to implement – resistance to change is a normal and expected reaction, because few want to depart a known, comfortable state to move towards a different, unknown one.

This sense of uncertainty is amplified when the change initiative lacks a coherent direction that specifies progress from where you are now to where you want to be, towards something better that achieves your goals while sustaining alignment with your purpose and values.  When leaders focus on communicating purpose and progress rather than change, achieving team commitment to the new direction happens more quickly.

The differences of focusing on progress versus change looks like this:

Usually starts with where you are now and how undesirable this isStarts by defining where you want to be, why you want to get there, and how desirable this is
Often initiated by fear – moving away fromDriven by aspiration, a desire to improve, moving towards
Change can be directionless – the impetus for change is to move away from an undesirable current stateDirected – the impetus for change is to get to the goal or at least progress towards the goal
Success may not be clear as the desired outcome is often negative (e.g., avoid disruption)Success is clear, it is a goal achieved or progress towards the goal.
The outcome can be imposed on youThe outcome Is a deliberate choice to move in the chosen direction

How often do you focus on progress when communicating your change initiatives?

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