Change Leadership Secret – 51 – No Pain, No Gain

Change Leadership — Secret # 51
No Pain, No Gain

Genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains.
—Jane Ellis Hopkins

What I Need to Know

Change involves risk—the risks of making the change and the risks of not changing. But change also has cost. One of the costs of change is pain. Change may not be easy. It may be downright difficult and painful. That does not mean it is not necessary. For example, is it easy for geese to move their entire flock across continents? Geese burn a massive amount of calories and endure significant hardships moving over such great distances. But if they did not do it, they would perish.

My image of pain is watching riders in the Tour de France ride hundreds of miles a day for three weeks, seemingly straight up and down mountains. I try to do an hour of spin cycling at least three times a week. If you have taken a spinning class, then you know how painful it is. It is hard to imagine, while on the spinning bike, that the Tour de France riders do it for six hours a day, every day. I figure if Lance Armstrong can do it faster than anyone, seven times in a row, and beat cancer, then we can endure the pain of a little change in our life spaces.

No one should expect change to be painless. Rather, everyone should expect to understand the forces driving change and to harness them effectively.

What I Need to Do

Change is serious business—take it seriously.

Change is painful business—take pains to minimize the costs.

Change is risky business—take actions to reduce or eliminate risks.
Carefully set expectations. Set realistic expectations for the benefits to be realized by changing. And set realistic expectations for the costs of changing.

Remind your client that just as “there is no free lunch,” it is not realistic to expect gain without some amount of pain. If the customer has rational expectations, setting these expectations will help you underpromise and overdeliver. If the person is scared off by these expectations, then his expectations are irrational; you may want to consider disengaging from a customer who will be difficult and costly to satisfy.

Action Summary

  • Carefully set expectations.
  • Avoid painting impossibly rosy scenarios that set the customer up for disappointment.
  • Underpromise and overdeliver.
Change Leadership Secret - 51 No Pain, No Gain
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