Change happens in all companies and especially in fast-growing teams since they are measured and survive by successfully implementing change.
By the nature of fast-growing companies, there are quick iterations and change happening most of the time. That’s their nature.
However, I want to discuss and focus on the principles of how change effectively happens regardless of company stage, be it a startup, scale up, or working enterprise.
One of the ways that I measure change in teams is by the flexibility, adaptiveness, and time between how long it takes to declare a new initiative and put it into place.
Some teams can implement in a week or two, others months.
Which kind of team are you in?
A note on speed:
Speed is favorable however you have to learn when to slow down when to speed up.
Some change needs to happen immediately, other change needs to happen over a set period of time.
Regardless of the initiative or change happening, it’s still important to understand at what speed your team can implement since that will give you proper planning protocols in order to really see your initiatives and strategies through.
Because it takes too many weeks or even months for something to happen that should take only a couple of weeks- then you have a big problem and can die from extinction as a company.
The inverse is also true if you work too fast and don’t take proper measures to be thorough you may create new issues for yourself in the future.
Regardless, I believe teams must have the capacity to adapt not only to survive but to thrive.
Thriving teams allow for greater work being done, more productivity, and more impact.
In principle, there are 3 ingredients that are necessary to implement change in any team
They’re quite simple, some blatantly obvious, and you can call me out for being too simplistic about this however I believe it’s important for us to keep these ingredients at the forefront of any change management because without understanding these key ingredients the change you are seeking to implement may falter.
The 3 major ingredients are
1) “Pigheaded” discipline
2) Tight communication and
One of my book mentors Chet Holmes uses the term pigheaded discipline. I love it for several reasons since it captures the idea that once you’ve focused on an objective and key outcome, don’t overthink it and execute with all you got. It isn’t to call anyone pigheaded nor to seem insulting – it’s another way of saying “keep the main thing, the main thing”.
Most teams have monthly, quarterly, and even annual planning. Investing time and resources to plan the next QR or year. If you do the heavy lifting there and decide on where you’re doing, what changes need to happen, what new initiatives need to be put into place – there should be zero overthinking or doubting your direction after these sessions. We can do a separate Spark on this.
This easily brings us to the second ingredient which is tight communications because YES you will have to make micro-adjustments and tweaks to your master plan as you create it and put it into the world.
Just a quick philosophical aside on potentiality and actuality:
When we have an idea or initiative, it is in a potential state (it’s still in our minds). Putting it into motion (or action) starts to bring that idea into actuality.
The thing with our planning is we may not always know every consequence or second or third-degree outcome of every action. You could in theory run it through a computer simulator to bring back every possible outcome.
Regardless, the outcome of putting our ideas into actuality creates feedback for us to reassess and adjust our next actions to ensure that the possible outcomes line up with our intended initiative/outcome.
Feedback loops can’t happen in silos and must be communicated. Communication inter-teams and across teams. With a goal to act as one organism moving forwards the same intended outcomes vs being pulled in multiple directions and distractions.
Communication with discipline can transform teams.
The inverse is also true: communication without discipline can destroy teams.
Some of this discipline requires self-discipline to make sure that you’re not always bogged down by the day today and that your calendar isn’t always filled with pre-scheduled meetings or appointments.
Ensuring that you are self-organized on the most important actions you need to take every single day and that your team knows exactly what important actions they need to take.
To learn more about self-organization and how to lead more effectively through clarity of mind I have Sparks around the 80-20 Day Optimization protocol. You can check them out here:
The third ingredient necessary to implement change in any team is time.
This one is an obvious one however it’s important for us to keep this at the forefront of our minds. Whatever change we are trying to make, it will take time, and that we just have to remain constant consistent over time.
Consistency is what separates the average from the exceptional.
For example, imagine your favorite sports team playing every single game as if it were a postseason game.
Here’s the hard fact about time: every day counts.
There are zero guarantees that tomorrow will be like today.
Today is the only today we have.
Keeping a high level of consistency will allow you to maintain high levels of output and execution. NOT because you’re doing more, but because you’re doing what you set out to do even when you don’t feel like it, when others have quit, and over a that period of time it will look and feel that you’ve done a lot. When in reality it is the small daily implementations added up.
This takes strong leadership, high levels of EQ, empathy, and an amazing team culture.
It will also take into account our humanity, brokenness, and weakness. But going deeper to search in the core of every person, especially you, you will find that we can strive to deliver everything we are capable of.
And when we come together as a team we can make a larger impact in our work, in our field, and in the world.
In my view, these are the 3 ingredients necessary to implement real change.
What change are you striving to make?