I was contacted recently by the CEO of a company who I had worked with in her first year in office about 3 years ago. She said the last two years were enormously successful as she implemented countless new changes. She said that as she begins her fourth year, her list of what she wanted to get done had shrunk coonsiderably and wanted to pick my brain on how she might continue to be an effective change agent and a leader.
I asked for examples of what she had been able to orchestrate. All were new strategies, organizational structures, pricing plans, product launches, an acquisition, and the like. I told her it appeared that she had brought in many new ideas, which in my view, is one side of the change agent model. The other side, and the one I suggested she adopt as her operating mantra for 2014, is to “remove barriers.” Both an individual and an organization can move forward by learning new skills or by removing performance barriers that keep them from optimizing the skills they already have but have not fully harnessed. Both lead to being more effective. How do you find out what barriers are? That actually might be one of the easiest things to do – just ask. She has committed to implementing a robust feedback process organization-wide to solicit barriers to performance and use the results to drive further change.
This week, think about both yourself and your team. What are your barriers? What keeps you from feeling empowered to change things that need to be changed? How might these be addressed? Your surprise will be that what are likely your barriers will be similar to others. They will be relatively minor and things you can change quickly.