The “United” States of America is anything but united in the wake of last week’s election result of Mr. Donald Trump as President-Elect. Large protests in major cities and the hidden voices revealed, leave the country uneasy about what the future holds.
Mr. Donald Trump is in a predicament many leaders find themselves when they go through major restructuring or when taking over a company or division. Except in his role, the scope and breath is much wider and complex on so many levels. Change management is something every leader should be familiar with and needs to get good at in today’s work environment.
I would like to share leadership insights that Mr. Donald Trump and any leader experiencing significant change should consider in the early stages to be successful:
THINK BEFORE YOU ACT: many successful leaders are known for their actions and results so it’s tempting during a time of change to do what leaders do best, ACT. Here’s the thing though, are you thinking about the outcomes you want to achieve first? Because if you’re not, then your efforts are going to appear random and misunderstood to those who are impacted. In the United States, careful thought needs to be given on how to unite a deeply divided country and it cannot be done through Twitter.
CONFRONT REALITY: One of the first actions that need to be taken is to confront reality. Speak to this reality. Segregation is alive and real. It’s too big to avoid. Successful leaders speak to the void. And they take responsibility for creating the void if they had a hand in it. They acknowledge concerns and they get curious about what’s getting in the way. During this stage, they are not taking sides, they are simply seeking to understand the reality. Thoughtful leaders go a step further and solicit feedback about solutions because they know that everyone is part of the solution.
CREATE A PLAN OF ATTACK: Mr. Trump is in the process of creating his transition team and his 100-day plan. Thank goodness for this type of protocol. A 100-day plan is a great start to any key change initiative. It gives the people who are impacted an idea of what to expect and who will be responsible for what outcomes. This will give our friends south of the border and the rest of us a good understanding of Mr. Trump’s priorities and will set the tone for his presidency.
DEFINE THE DESTINATION: During any major change initiative, you need to tell people where they are going. What’s the destination? Especially when there is division, the destination needs to be created from common values and purpose. A true leader creates a compelling vision that the majority can rally behind. No doubt that some will feel left behind. Mr. Trump has the opportunity to use his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” by having Americans define what makes America great today as a means to unite the divided and create a sense of purpose of how together, the country can unite, heal and make things better.
DEAL WITH THE RESISTANCE: In the case of Mr. Trump’s presidency, there’s a great deal of psychological, economical and social resistance to deal with. However, he’s not one to shy away from resistance. However, dealing with psychological resistance is a new challenge for him. Successful leaders confront reality by seeking to understand and they continue to listen and inquire through the change initiative. Many people including President Obama and Hillary Clinton have asked the American people to give Mr. Trump a chance to prove himself as a way to minimize the denial and resistance among many voters. Mr. Trump needs to deal with the resistance directly otherwise it could sabotage his own efforts to move forward.
ACT LIKE A LEADER: During major change, all eyes are on you for direction, leadership and hope. Everything you do will be scrutinized and placed under the microscope. It’s not for the faint of heart. It takes courage. It’s about doing the right things. It’s about setting the example you want others to follow. It’s about admitting when things don’t work. It’s about giving clarity when things appear messy and unclear. It’s about giving hope when people don’t know what to believe in.
If you found this article helpful, join Shelly Cyr, of Synfini Works, for her upcoming webinar on Leading Change: Become a Change Agent on Tuesday, April 4 from 1-2 pm to discuss how progressive leaders manage change in their companies. Click HERE for more details.