Ring the Bell or Forget It!

© Milous Chab | Dreamstime.com

Change CAN happen if only some of your staff are on board. Engines can also run on three cylinders. But the result is nothing to crow about.

In order for an organization to have a huge and profound transformation, EVERY manager must vote in with their full heart—must pick up that hammer and ring the bell, every time.

There are reasons people head into a new initiative halfheartedly. So you have to ask for extreme honesty—ask each member of your team to go far beyond lip service as they answer this question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how committed are you to a breakthrough?

Most people will give an answer somewhere between 7 (“pretty committed”) and 10 (“committed out of my friggin’ mind”). A seven from any member of your team might just as well be a three for all the good it will do you. Anything less than 10 gives that person a place to hide, an escape clause, a reason to fail. “I wasn’t that committed anyway,” goes the tune.

And it just won’t do.

If anyone gives an answer other than 10, congratulate their honesty, then find out why. Some people will say, “I don’t have enough time,” or “Well, I don’t know. Explain breakthrough,” or “I’m a practical person. I can’t commit until I know EXACTLY what I’m committing to.” For each answer below a 10, you need to help them understand why their answer will end up hurting the rest of the management team because they must be a unified voice for a major breakthrough to happen.

Make it clear that the breakthrough you seek is not an extra credit assignment, above and beyond the job. It IS the job. “I don’t have time for the breakthrough” means “I don’t have time for my job.”

Watch out as well for those who say “10” but mean something else. I remember seeing this played out hilariously once in a leadership meeting. The CEO had zeroed in on one poor schlub named Roger. When asked what he would be on the scale, Roger had mumbled, “Well, I suppose I’d have to be a 10.”

The entire boardroom burst out laughing. It was the least 10-ish tone of voice anyone had ever heard.

“That doesn’t sound like a 10 to me,” said the boss. “Let’s try that again.”

“Okay,” said Roger. “I guess the only right answer is 10.”

Again the room went to pieces with laughter. Even Roger smiled. He explained that he wasn’t really sure what the transformation was all about.

After every other member of the team had chimed in with enthusiastic explanations of what the transformation was about and how much they believed in Roger’s ability to rise to the challenge, he was asked again. And this time, he answered with conviction: “I’m a ten!”

Once everyone is fully on board at the highest level, willing to go the distance AND to hold each other accountable, there will be nothing in Heaven or Earth to stop you from achieving the profound and lasting transformation you need and deserve.

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