Last week I came across a video fragment which demonstrates Bruce Springsteen's leadership during a concert in Germany. During this concert, he tries to play a request from the audience which they haven’t played for a very long time. It’s not even from his repertoire, but from Chuck Berry.
After a few tries and after consulting with his band he finds the right tone and rhythm. After a few chords he realizes that he is being a little over ambitious with his current guitar and switches to a another with a more suitable range. After this they play the song with confidence and joy and put on a great show supported by an enthusiastic crowd.
It felt in a way like daily business life. Sometimes you’re stretched to work on something you used to know or do well but it faded away, or you’re confronted with something where you know the way to the solution, but have no idea yet where the path will take you.
When a change is initiated by the company, the managers (out there in the field) need to make that change happen across the organization. In all the change-related sessions I’ve joined over the years with all levels of management, a big part of the managers’ struggles were the same: “How to engage my people without losing control; do I dare rely on them to bring this to the desired outcome?”.
To deal with this struggle, I think the answer is to start by looking at it from their perspective. In general, people – and through them the companies where they work – thrive in an environment in which they have asserted their influence on change, or at least now have influence in dealing with the changes ahead.
Knowing this, it could even be to your advantage if you don’t have the solution yet. It provides the perfect opportunity to engage your people in the change process. Under your leadership, by laying down the strategic direction and with forward-looking, two-way dialogue, you can come closest to the desired change as well as achieving the highest levels of engagement of your people. If their solution isn’t working, then don’t hesitate to revise it in further dialogue, but always keep them included in the process. The ultimate goal is to inspire them to find the best solution that fulfills the desired change targets, within the scope of the direction given by the (top) management.
Showman or Manager
Now, getting back to Bruce Springsteen, he’s worried about playing that song, but as a true showman and manager his focus is on trying to get it clear in his mind, using input from his band and sharing and dealing with his own improvement points. He isn’t even near fighting resistance to change because they don’t know how to play the song, but they’re all energised and motivated to work through it and give the best show they can.
If you’re curious on where your organisation stands in its capability to deal with change and attaining business momentum, just take a few minutes to fill in our free Momentum Scorecard.
There are many more interesting insights on www.moremomentum.eu
If you are curious about the fragment of Bruce Springsteen, watch the video on YouTube.