Of course once an issue is recognized, then the next step is to bring about the change that solves the issue. In fact, the ability to Negotiate Change is another of the core Leadership competencies and maybe one of the toughest to master. The best leaders know how and when change is necessary and how to proceed with bringing it about. But all too often most of us have had little help in learning how and when to tackle change. The word negotiate itself stirs the pot of personal emotions as much or more than most. And given our own life experiences it shouldn’t be much of a surprise. All too often we end up having to “negotiate” many of the largest and most expensive decisions in our life (homes and cars) with a seller who has us at a competitive disadvantage because they have so many facts that we don’t. Or so it appears anyway. Thank goodness that has changed to some extent with the info available online although the playing field is anything but even.
A common example can illustrate the anxiety the mere thought of negotiating can trigger in most of us. Anyone who has ever bought a car will understand what the emotional battlefield is like. No is always an out but when you need a car it isn’t except as to the car you are thinking of buying. So you burn up hours trying to decide which one or ones would be right for you. And in the middle of that process you will eventually have to “negotiate” a price and terms for the car. And that process takes place with a business who can’t exist without selling cars to people like you and their agents are trained to get you to buy their car and not someone else’s. You know but a little through your research about the pluses and minuses of the cars you are looking at and opinions are endless about the best, the worst, the value and all the rest of the detail that you would ideally know before you make the right decision. They know their cars, the competitions cars, and what they need to focus on to get you to buy theirs because that is what is in their best interest. I personally so despised the process that I was determined to make nearly all of the decisions without interacting with a dealer or their representative until it was buy time and my decisions had been made. In fact, the rule was if they called me after I filled out their online request for quotes and the promise that they wouldn’t, which I naively believed, that I eliminated them from my search. I chose to refuse to engage in the battle because I felt that my time should be spent in a more productive manner than negotiating with someone who past experience taught me they would put their best interest in front of mine. I just didn’t want to pay the price of engagement with them. The time and place for that is in my business where the stakes are higher and of far greater value.
The ability to negotiate change is one of the most powerful skills a leader can have. Without it we are stuck in the status quo, no matter how bad it is and even if it’s good now it won’t be forever. Change is perpetual and those that know how will evolve and grow and those that don’t will eventually go. It is that simple and a glance at the behemoths of business that are gone should make the point. But understanding and agreeing with that concept is just the starting point and doesn’t make change any easier for the unskilled.
An understanding of why people change is essential to even beginning to bring about change. A great deal of your ability to do this should have begun with the hiring process and that starts with you. As a company you have a strategy, values and beliefs, and objectives you wish to accomplish as a business or should have. They should be real and genuine. If you can’t clearly express those that you actually observe then your chances of getting employee engagement is going to be very poor. Engagement occurs when the goals of the business are aligned with the employee’s goals and how the employee spends his or her time. And the continued alignment necessary to bring about change has to be continuously worked on through honest and open communications. Employees have to know and understand how and why what they do in their job each day means to the company’s objectives. When the stage is set in this manner and the benefits of change to them and the company should be synonymous and thus mutually beneficial.
And that’s where the real work begins. Whether the change is small or large there are a number of other steps to work through that will facilitate continuing change and growth to the business and the employee’s. Lots to understand and but good leaders are willing to do the work necessary to bring it about.