Change processes can be difficult. Think about what you're actually doing when you decide to formally launch a culture change effort. You're asking the people who you've hired (or inherited but kept on the team), to stop behaving the way you've asked them to, in some cases for a long time. Now, you're asking...er...requiring them to be different.
Here's the rub...you're asking for the change from your team because it is abundantly clear that a change is necessary. You haven't failed, and honestly they haven't either. It is simply time to evolve.
Asking people to change is hard enough in our private lives, but when you factor in professional training, familiar routines, and in many cases a history of doing good work, the push back can be heavy and significant.
Your mettle as a leader is going to be tested.
Stay the Course
We have many opportunities to watch leaders in action. New executives come and go and bring their perspectives of what is best for the organization. The delicate balance that leaders, including human resources practitioners, have to manage is pushing hard enough to maintain momentum while not completely bringing the organization to a standstill.
Balance is hard...and your mettle as a leader is going to be tested.
Listen to Your Team
One of the most effective ways to not only maintain the vision of the future-state of the organization and to keep the change process going is to be flexible enough to accept the team's feedback.
"The end game is achieving culture change, not following a self-prescribed linear path to the desired change. Feedback from the team that provides for minor course corrections not only gets the necessary buy-in, it also gets you to the same end point: culture change."
Whether the feedback is about the pace of change, messaging, or the elimination of barriers to success, it makes sense to leverage the skills and insights of those tasked with executing the change process.
How About You
Is your mettle being tested? It can be very lonely, particularly when you feel passionately about the issues you're advocating for inside your organization. Avoid the trap of convincing yourself that your perspective is the only one that can get the desired result. Stay strong, use your team, and show the world you truly are a heavy mettle leader.
I'd love to hear from you.