Four Ways Leaders Lead Positive Change


There are two personal areas I'm trying to transform: one is a nutritional habit, the other is a time mastery discipline in my daily schedule. On the surface they seem relatively simple to change, but for whatever reason I seem to keep taking two steps forward and one step back. Even small personal changes can be challenging, but the progress is in seeing positive benefits.

Former President Woodrow Wilson said, "If you want to make enemies, change something." Few of us, if we are honest, welcome change. I used to think leaders welcomed change and followers didn't, but the truth is leaders don't like it any more than anyone else. 

Not all change is good. It takes thought and wisdom to select the right change personally and professionally. The good news is, the right change can lead to growth and breakthrough.

I'd like to offer four keys on how to lead change:

1. Don't make cosmetic change, get to the core –

Always ask yourself, what or who is at the core the core that needs to be changed? A surface level change can cause pain and disruption. Cosmetic changes only delay growth and positive results. 

For example, I just arrived back from Washington DC where I spent time with the president of the dynamic and growing company I'll be working with. They recently noticed long-standing employees leaving. Upon exit interviews they discovered an erosion of company morale and values.

Instead of making surface level changes, they surveyed their staff and are now aggressively making the proactive change to renew the culture, morale, and personal development of each team member. They are doubling down on investing in their team – that's called transformational change. Positive change. The right change.

2. Focus forward, let go of the past –

The death of any organization is six words, "We've always done it that way." To go up, clean up. Let go of yesterday's failures and successes. Focus 100% of your energy on today. Focus forward and don't be afraid of making positive changes that release new ideas, new innovations, new team members, new ways that allow a stream-lined approach.

Work smarter not harder. Here is a revolutionary change you may consider: it may be time to change the way we work. According to the 2013 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Greece is #1 in terms of hours worked, Poland #2, Hungary #3. Their productivity, # 18, #24, #25, respectively. Working fewer but more focused hours Dutch #1, Germans #3, and Norwegians #3… #4, #7, and #1 in productivity, respectively.

Allowing for quality breaks, workouts, and life-balance actually increases productivity up to 27%. That is powerful change, smart change, healthy change for sustainable growth and well-being!

3. Create a conversation about change –

Years ago, if I announced to my children: "Hey kids, we're moving to Montana. Open space, lakes, trees, mountains, pack it up... it will be great!" Knowing my kids, they would've said "Bye Dad!" 

Leading a team is like leading a family. Be respectful with change. Rather than announce big change, create a conversation. Involve others and you'll receive the benefit of positive cooperation that leads to new momentum.

4. Don't just believe in change, believe in your people –

People are open and willing to change if you show them your belief in their abilities. People will always rise to our expectation and belief in them! You can energize your organization by energizing your people around the right change. 

Note: I am making progress in my nutritional habits and discipline of time mastery. That change is good. What one or two good changes can you make for you and your team?

Here's to creating positive change!

For information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching, contact Steve's team at:

The purpose of Leadership Quest is to help professionals develop their personal leadership, vision and emotional intelligence. Everyday I strive to help leaders and teams achieve their desired goals in sales productivity, leadership, time maximization, and life-balance.