Change Leadership Secret – 50 – Change Paths To Success

Change Leadership — Secret # 50
Change Paths To Success

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure. —Abraham Lincoln

What I Need to Know

How many successful football running backs put their heads down and run in a straight line? Successful running backs keep their heads up and continually change paths in response to events as they unfold.

When a path gets to a dead end, don’t despair; get on a different path. If a path were certain, then the path would already have been taken. So the change leader and her client must acknowledge the risks that accompany any change. The reason you or your client are currently considering making a change is because, in one way or another, the current path is not working. If, after getting on the next path, it does not work either, then you will simply need to do it again.

Of course, no one wants to be a Chicken, constantly changing directions before giving each change a chance to succeed. But neither do you want to be like the chicken that was born in a large poultry farm and watched every day as thousands of frozen chickens were taken to the market. Outside the gargantuan chicken coop, a road led out of the farm. Do you know why the chicken crossed the road? He figured he wasn’t really crossing it. He was just going to the other side of the same road—the road to the market. The chicken was fried the next day. Success requires being willing to change to entirely different paths, and then following through and giving the new path a chance to succeed.

What I Need to Do

It’s one thing if you are the person changing paths. But what should you do to get the customer to change paths?

The first step is to ask the customer to play out in his mind where the current path is leading. If he prefers to cope by refusing to acknowledge the current path is leading to an undesirable outcome, you will have to keep checking back with the customer until the inevitable day comes when he confronts reality.

The second step is to ask the customer if he had a magic time machine and could magically jump into the ideal future, what would it be?

The last step is to ask the customer to walk backward from the ideal situation to the current situation, asking, “What has to change for this to happen?” each step along the way.
Many people are anxious of uncertainty along a different path. Ask the person, “How certain is the current path?” Then, remind him that uncertain hope is better than certain failure.

Action Summary

  • Success requires changing paths.
  • Objectively assess the expected outcome of the current path.
  • Determine what events must happen along the path to success.
Change Leadership Secret - 50 Change Paths To Success
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About Brett Clay

Clay is the author of “Selling Change,” named the best business book and best sales book of 2010, and is the CEO of Change Leadership Group, LLC, a firm that helps clients improve their sales, marketing, and leadership capabilities. A veteran of 20 years in international sales and marketing management, most recently with Microsoft Corporation, he is an award-winning author, award-winning marketer, trainer, speaker, consultant, and business leader.

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