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Posts Tagged ‘change agent’

Be A Change Agent – Make It Easy to Tell You Yes

Concerned about something happening in your workplace? Don’t just tell someone about the problem, propose a solution. It’s fine to raise challenges. It’s better to raise challenges you’re willing to do something about. If you think two departments don’t talk to each other, bring them together. If you think a process is inefficient, propose a different way to get the work done. If you’re dissatisfied with software you’re using, offer to source three potential vendors and set up a demo. You’re doing the legwork and asking for a small investment of time.

When we ask for something at work, our request often requires time, money, or both.  Thus when an employee asks for something, it’s easier for a manager to say no than it is to say yes. “No” requires no work and no financial outlay. A “yes” may require both.

You make it easy to say yes to requests when you’re acting as a change agent:

  1. Propose a solution to a problem.
  2. Offer to do the work to solve the problem.
  3. Ask for small things that are easy to approve.

If you’re overwhelmed and want to hire an additional person, but your boss isn’t convinced you need the headcount, ask for a temp for a finite number of hours. It’s much easier for a manager to say yes to a small and known investment amount than to the long-term commitment of hiring someone new.  The point is to ask for something that is easy for your manager to approve.

The word “pilot” is your friend. If you want to make a major change, pilot a scaled down version of your proposed solution in one or two locations, rather than in your organization’s 10 locations. Again, asking for something small makes it more likely that you’ll be told yes.

The bottom line is to be part of the solution – as trite and overused as that phrase is. Don’t be the person who says, “That’s broken” without also saying, “and here’s how we can fix it.  Can I give it a try?”


Be A Change Agent – Make It Easy to Tell You Yes

Change agentDespite what you may think, your manager has enough to do. So when you drop a problem at her door, she finds it annoying. Rather than just alerting your manager and the leaders in your organization to the things that need to be fixed, go one step further, and be a change agent by offering a solution yourself.

It’s fine to raise challenges. It’s better to raise challenges you’re willing to do something about. If you think two departments don’t talk to each other, bring them together. If you think a process is inefficient, propose a different way to get the work done. If you’re dissatisfied with software you’re using, offer to source three potential vendors and set up a demo. You’re doing the legwork and asking for a small investment of time.

When we ask for something at work, it often requires time, money, or both.  Thus when an employee asks for something, it’s easier for a manager to say no than it is to say yes. “No” requires no work and no financial outlay. A “yes” may require both.

You make it easy to say yes to your requests when you’re acting as a change agent:

  1. Propose a solution to a problem.
  2. Offer to do the work to solve the problem.
  3. Ask for small things that are easy to approve.

If you’re overwhelmed and want to hire an additional person, but your boss isn’t convinced you need the headcount, ask for a temp for a finite number of hours. It’s much easier for a manager to say yes to a small and known investment amount than to the long-term commitment of hiring someone new.  The point is to ask for something that is easy for your manager to approve.

The word “pilot” is your friend. If you want to make a major change, pilot a scaled down version of your proposed solution in one or two locations, rather than in your organization’s 10 locations. Again, asking for something small makes it more likely that you’ll be told yes.

The bottom line is to be part of the solution – as trite and overused as that phrase is. Don’t be the person who says, “That’s broken” without also saying, “and here’s how we can fix it.  Can I give it a try?”


How to Become a Leader – Moving from a Doer to a Leader

There are things in our lives that bug us, but we put up with them.  They’re often little things like a burned out light bulb or a messy drawer in which we dump stuff that doesn’t have a real home. Maybe the bulb has been out or the drawer has been a mess for so long that we no longer even notice it.

Our workplace isn’t any different. There are things in your organization you’re tolerating. Perhaps a process or software is inefficient, but you don’t say anything to the people in your organization who can do something about it. Or maybe you said something a few times, but you didn’t feel anyone listened and you gave up.

Organizations are comprised of doers and leaders.  And organizations need both. If everyone wants to lead, you’ll have trouble. If no one leads, you’ll have even more trouble. Doers keep things going from day-to-day.  Leaders create opportunities, fix problems, and upgrade existing conditions.

I’m often asked to coach managers in organizations. The coachees’ boss tells me, “He’s a great employee.  But if he wants to move up in this organization, he needs to be a leader.”  And more often than not, the employee is confused by what the manager wants. Coachees say things like, “I give my opinion in meetings.  I volunteer for stuff. What else does my boss want?”

I tell my coachees the most straightforward thing I know to transition from a doer to a leader –improve processes and look for opportunities to fix things that are broken.

How to Become a Leader

Want to know how to become a leader in an organization? Ask these questions regularly:

  • What in the organization frustrates people? What could we do differently to ease people’s frustration?
  • Where do we have mediocre results? What’s the breakdown?
  • Where are we wasting money? Where are our costs too high? Where are we losing revenue?
  • What processes take longer than they need to? Or where is there a lack of process?
  • Where do we have inefficiencies and redundancies?
  • What practices work in one department that could work in another?

Leaders in organizations are always looking for ways to make things better. They look for opportunities and (picking their battles) pursue solutions. Pursuing a potential change does not mean asking your boss or department leader once or twice.  It means telling someone in a position of formal authority about a missed opportunity, asking permission to make a change, and then doing the work required to make it happen. Leaders do not tell their boss about a problem and walk away. Leaders suggest and implement a solution.

 


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