The ability to see a bold future, build a compelling vision and define a strategy to achieve it is essential to leadership.
Realizing that vision almost always requires change. Navigating others through such a transition requires the “C’s of change”:
Clarity: Define clear vision, structure and actions to achieve your goals. Once a team understands and is on board with the vision and strategy, it must reach consensus on the steps required, their priority, who best can take on particular tasks, and a timetable for getting them done. Defined responsibilities and accountability breed teamwork and achievement.
Communications: Verbally and visually sell the dream—both externally and internally—so people can see the possibilities and build the desire for change. Moving others out of their comfort zones can be difficult. Authority and rewards usually are not enough. Strive by word and deed to elicit an emotional commitment from willing contributors.
Culture: Create a culture that will unleash the talent within the company. Don’t seek affirmation of your own genius nor settle for concurrence with your ideas. Listen, encourage and acknowledge input without judgment. Discourage competitive “silos” of responsibility and enterprise. Promote the goal.
Catalysts: Bring influential staffers together to define the best path to achieve specific goals. Accept that your way may not be “the way” and that the team can define a clearer and more direct path.
Course Corrections: Encourage frequent “feedback” as the change takes place you can recalibrate and stay on course to reach your goal. Like an elusive halfback, you must keep adapting and shifting to reach the goal line. Strategy, tactics and resources are all subject to how well your collective effort is “hitting the nail on the head.”
Customer-Centric: Make sure internal clients (your staff) and external customers stay clear, motivated and aligned to the future. If either group is not informed and accepting, you’ll see an undertow of resistance with one and, at best, indifference with the other. Enlist their excitement about what the change means for them.
Constancy: Maintain the strong relationships that brought you where you are today and enlist them to take you where you want to be tomorrow. Do not overlook the power of the quiet, steady team members whose past performance made your present possible.
Celebrate: Consistently recognize the behavior and initiative that support your goals. Share them with the team so others can learn quickly as well. Praise in public; align in private. Both are important; one means nothing if cause for the other is ignored.
Cultivate: Nurture the leadership behaviors that keep you humble, appreciative and forward-focused. They’ll make you a beacon of success-a leader to be followed in your company, market and community.
Practicing these C’s as a leader will allow you and your team to achieve uncommon success.
Synthesis CEO Bobbie Goheen focuses top managers on a shared vision, specific goals and creative collaborations to achieve them. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on SmartBlog on Leadership.