As I walked through the woods today, and noticed the trees taking on some color, I felt a bit like the woman in the commercial who see's the first fallen leaf of the season and runs screaming from the sidewalk; you know the one, she just can't cope with the notion that summer is actually coming to an end. Huh...neither can I.
This has been a banner summer for Ontario with temperatures that take you back in time to the beach, or the cottage or wherever you spent your lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. We've had the kind of weather you drift back to as you're standing in a three-foot high snow bank on a downtown Toronto street in January... scraping your windows.
So, as we collectively buy school supplies, put away our shorts and close up the cottage, and prepare to return our noses to the grindstone of real life, I can't help but wonder how the world of business will fare in this 'not quite a recovery' economic climate. How will business owners and their employees walk the line between being both courageous and cautious? How will teams innovate when their instincts may still be telling them to reign in, be careful and keep scanning the skies for signs of, well anything, that might point the way back to business as usual?
In this atmosphere of ambiguity, there is still one thing I know for sure. I know that as employees listen to the 'Big Plans' or 'New Directions' their leaders roll out for their adoption, they will be deciding whether to throw their lot in with the change; they'll be looking for:
Common Ground: People want to know if their leaders really understand them. They want to feel that you appreciate their challenges; and can relate to their situation.
Authenticity: They want to know if you're real; followers want transparency; the stakes are too high today to be kept in the dark. Feeling manipulated by your leader is intolerable when people are being asked to step up or take one for the team.
Love: Yep, love. If people are going to follow you into an uncertain future they want to know you care about them. Employees aren't as impressed with degrees and 'know how' as much as they are with your genuine interest in them and empathy towards them.
Remember, 'If you don't engage people's heads and hearts, you'll loose their hands.'
Need to review your preparedness for leading the changes that this new season of business will bring? Call us. We have assessment change tools and programs designed to help you be the Change Champion that people want to follow.