At the Responsive Conference in New York City, Jeff Eggers provided a gardener model of leadership.
Gardeners, he noted, create the environment that allows their preferred plants to grow.
They do not yell at the plants to make them grow faster.
They do not try to plant in the middle of a frigid January for a February harvest.
They do not try to control the weather and they couldn’t if they tried.
What gardeners CAN do is fertilize appropriately, weed out the undesirable plants, protect the plants from hungry critters (as best as they can), water as needed, and do their best to encourage a healthy and happy ecosystem for their plants. Healthy happy plants = good harvest.
I think we can think about organizational change the same way.
For change to stick, we need to create the environment for that change to thrive.
By we, I mean executives, project managers, and trainers.
So what will help to develop a supportive environment for change?
From my experience, I see six things we can do:
- Focus on a change long enough for it to become habitual
- Identify the behaviors that support that change
- Provide models for the behaviors
- Provide safe spaces for practicing the change
- Continually reward and reinforce the new behaviors
- Mentor and coach out the old behaviors
I’ll talk about each of these in the next few posts.