We've got a plan. It's a good plan. A tremendous plan! I don't mean to brag, but it is one of the finest. The need for this is clear. It's important for our organization, to me personally, and people say the change is needed. Their insights make the plan even better! So why isn't my plan working out? Is it my fault? Am I failing as a leader because I'm afraid?
Nope. That can’t be it. I'm not afraid to make a mistake or do things differently. The plan is based on great ideas, worked out with the group. Our conversations have shaped the idea into something beautiful. I’m not afraid of the challenge, yet it feels like I’m failing. Why isn't my plan working?
I’m frustrated, so I reflect on the core of leading change:
- The Problem: Can I name the change? Do other people see and agree that it is a problem?
- The Vision: Do we have a shared vision of how it could be addressed? Is it realistic?
- Shared Hope: Do people share a sense of hope that the plan is worthwhile and it can be achieved?
- Challenges: Am I avoiding a challenge because I fear failing and hurting my self-image, or am I embracing it as an opportunity to improve?
- Obstacles: Is there an obstacle or an outside force that is causing fears or setbacks for me?
- Effort: Do I see my efforts as being meaningless, or do I see myself making a difference through hard work?
- Criticism: Do I worry that criticism of the plan as criticism of me, or do I believe that it is helpful information we can use to improve?
- Success of Others: Am I feeling threatened by the success of others, or can I celebrate and learn from the success of others?
Actually, I am afraid. I’m afraid that if the plan doesn't work, that my actions will result in other people believing that they are failing. I don't like this feeling.
So, this is where I turn to you. Providing leadership isn't only about the plan, it's also about maintaining a growth mindset for everyone on the team as we move forward. What advice can you give me as I move forward to focus on the positive, recognize the effort of others, and nurture a growth mindset? How do you move a plan forward?
-- Mark Haugen, Extension educator, regional 4-H youth development programs
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