It isn’t until our routines are disrupted that we really discover how difficult change can be… -George Couros via Jimmy Casas
And very often it is not the change itself that causes the frustration and chaos within an organization…it is the lack of clarity and transparency that accompanies that change.
Try and picture it like this morning drive to work…
You get out of the house and on the road…feeling pretty good because you are right on time. It’s looking like a good start to a great day. And then it all begins to unravel…
As you merge onto the freeway, you feel your blood pressure rise as you find yourself face to face with a sea of red tail lights. And while you can’t see the cause of the problem up ahead…you know its there.
In an effort to avoid the “this is definitely going to make me late” traffic, you quickly veer off on to a side street…which is only a little bit better than your previous circumstances. But at least you are making some headway…and if things stay that you way there is a great chance you won’t be late.
And as things start to move and you feel the “going to be late” tension fade…that same frustration comes rushing back in as you find yourself face to face with a “road closed” sign. Unbelievable. Just closed, no other signs, no directions, no re-routing…just closed.
Now you find yourself guessing on which streets to take. A left here, a right there…only to find yourself merging back into the same traffic that you worked so furiously to avoid.
So you give in…merge into the traffic and slowly make your way to your destination. Arriving late, tense, frustrated, all wound up…never really knowing what caused the disturbance to your usually uneventful morning drive.
When leaders are not clear and open about the changes that are coming…they push their organization and people into that morning traffic. Ultimately, bringing the pace and progress of the organization to a halt, as people find themselves slowly inching their way along…unaware and uninformed of what lies ahead. Just knowing that whatever the change…it is causing congestion and organizational gridlock.
And even worse, when an organization lacks transparency and clarity…people begin to look for side routes around the congestion and confusion created by the change. They try to figure out their own routes around the roadblocks they encounter.
Either way, when an organization lacks clarity and transparency around a change or change effort…their people will usually find a way to arrive at the destination. The problem is in how they arrive…the journey they had to endure. Will they arrive positive and energized. Or will they arrive frustrated, tense and tired.
Leadership not only determines the path…they determine the quality of the journey. Roadblocks and obstacles will always surface during change…the challenge of leadership is to not create your own congestion, roadblocks and frustration for your organization…and those you lead.
Transparency isn’t just about being open…it’s about being clear.