I could feel the tears start in my throat, and I was a little surprised.
Why was I feeling so emotional about a training session?
As the participant, not the speaker, I’d been anticipating this session for weeks. Calendar blocked, phone on do not disturb, and multiple beverages at the ready (because there’s always a multi-beverage situation).
As the host and the guest began, I got my Apple pencil ready. And then I didn’t write much down. I typed a question in the comments, but I wasn’t having that moment of epiphany. I began to notice that my body felt heavy, and I was slumping in my chair a little.
I had expected the opposite. I thought I would feel buzzy and weightless with pages of scribbled notes that would Change. My. Business.
Have you done this before? Ratched up expectations, putting immense pressure on one moment in time? This ONE thing is going to transform my team! This training will be the day that it all changes! My workplace culture will be forever changed because of this hour.
Goodness, when you see it laid out like that, you can spot the fallacy. One thing may be the beginning, but change is a path.
As I cried on the phone with my friend and coach, I realized this: In my life as a leader, there are few watershed moments. Instead, most opportunities are water over rocks and pebbles that build energy and momentum.
There isn’t just ONE thing that will transform your team.
There isn’t just a day. Your workplace culture cannot transform in an hour of training.
So how do you build momentum of change? If the watershed moment is a mirage, how do I use the water over the rocks and pebbles to build momentum?
Here are five steps to build moment and create change:
- Know where you want to go.
- Know where you are now.
- Identify the mile markers and define what success looks like at each one.
- Clarify the small consistent actions to get you to the next step.
- Check on progress and celebrate.
For me, I really struggled with step 2 in this training. I didn’t have an accurate picture of where I was. And I wanted the pain to magically go away. I had put too much pressure on this mile marker, and expected it to be the opening of all the things. I definitely hadn’t celebrated or checked my progress.
So what if I had viewed it differently? What I actually heard in this training session was I’m doing all the right steps. I’m on the right track. Keep going because this is working. Because that was the reality. I had lost sight of the path I was really walking on.
What could this mean for you and your team? So many leaders I talk to have initiative fatigue. We’re going this way! Now we’re doing it this way!
Imagine the encouragement and engagement of your team if, instead, they saw the steps clearly. If they saw the clarity of direction and the connection of their actions toward the goal? See how the feel shifts and the momentum builds?
A key piece of my story that you may have glossed over: I called in for help. I needed an outside perspective on those steps. I couldn’t see accurately where I was. I was blinded by the expectations of this being THE THING. I needed a better mirror to reflect back to me my growth and my current position.
These five steps are a framework for creating sustainable change. I know them, but I needed the outside view to help me see the way.
I can be that help to you with your team. Let’s leave behind disconnected actions and unclear expectations so you can build the momentum on your team that leads to the healthy high-performing team you want.