Some people are inherently reluctant to change. Others embrace it. To accelerate the pace of change, you may need to change “the trust equation.”
In my book The Leadership Equation, I talk about how trust hinges on predictable expectations. If I do something for you, then I expect to get something in return. That’s the principle of reciprocal altruism. It’s at the root of trust. Changing the trust equation means animating the workplace with mechanisms of reciprocity that encourage change, rather than subvert it.
At Apple, what drove its momentous growth was a relentless focus on the user. CEO Steve Jobs created a culture that continuously experimented with new ways to surprise and delight customers.
Intel is another company with a relentless focus on change. With each new project, employees compete for positions on project teams. Those who bring the best ideas and proven skills get selected. Those who get left out are literally left without jobs. It’s “survival of the fittest,” and it creates a culture of continuous improvement, innovation, and success at Intel.
Once people understand why continuous change is truly important for the company’s future success, it ignites a sense of ownership. This has nothing to do with compensation and everything to do with instilling a sense of purpose. Once people see what is truly essential for the company’s success, it unleashes the natural drive to improve.
With that idea in mind, it is the leader’s job to make sure this honest conversation is taking place regularly throughout the organization. That means reorienting yourself and understanding that this type of communication is the most important thing you can do.
Internally, this means a focus on creating forums throughout your company where people can talk, share information, and continuously learn. It also means focusing on external communication. Since there is no “under the radar” anymore, leaders need to invent new ways to communicate and shape the rules of the game with customers, shareholders, and others.
Download the PDF – The Four Powers of Communication