Finding Strategic Success in Letting Go and Moving On

finding-strategic-successIn times of planning, we ask questions like, “How do we continue this momentum?” and “How can we improve results?” We want to understand the keys to success – the path we should follow to get where we want to go. And yet, we sometimes forget that the path to success is simply moving forward.

Letting go of the old is a precursor to ushering in growth.

There are many times personally and professionally when you will need to let things go and move on to grow. How do we stop doing what we’ve always done and start doing something new?

Assess Needs

Use a checklist or assessment to determine what you need to change to be successful in the future. Which areas need improvement? Where do opportunities exist for growth? Where does risk exist that could be better mitigated?Access the Free Online  12-Point Revenue Generation Assessment Here >

Once you have identified the places where changes could be beneficial, plan for how you will achieve that improvement both organizationally and as a leader.

Let Go of Habits

As people we are creatures of habit, which means that we inherently want to keep doing things the way we have always done them. Embedded in these habits are feelings, opinions, and memories that we rely on to guide our decisions. And yet, these are some of the least reliable things in our metal toolbelt.

Changing our habits requires rewiring how we think so that we can act differently. Sabina Nawaz, a renown CEO coach, advises that business leaders use micro habits to change their behavior a little at a time to achieve larger organizational goals. She explains the concept in this way:

“It’s great to dream big, but the way to achieve big is to start small — through micro habits. Micro habits are small components of a larger habit. By breaking down an ambitious job into smaller, more achievable ones that you build over long periods of time, micro habits help you complete big goals… The reality about big behavioral changes is that it’s unlikely you’ll make a dramatic shift overnight — otherwise you would have done it long ago. To succeed with micro habits, you must be deliberate and choreograph steps to sustain them.”

In her TED Talk on personal change Dr. Christine Carter reiterates this message in saying,

“To paraphrase the Dalai Lama, our goal is not to be better than other people; it’s just to be better than our previous selves. …It turns out that to grow as people, we need only do something minuscule. When we abandon our grand plans and great ambitions in favor of taking that first teeny-tiny step, we shift. And, paradoxically, it is in that tiny shift that our grand plans and great ambitions are truly born.”

With old habits out of the way you can be more agile with your strategy, adapting to what the market requires. If you need someone to model change for you, find a mentor to act as your personal guide or a business consultant that can lead you through the steps needed to change strategically. Leaning on someone else can help to take some of the discomfort out of change.

Accept Failure

Even among small incremental changes we can’t be afraid of failure! Letting go of the old requires an openness to failing, which is never easy, but it is valuable. We must remind ourselves that failing along the way is inevitable, but as long as we keep moving in the right direction and learning as we go, we will come out of it on the other side stronger and better posed for success.

Embrace Change

Don’t treat change as a threat. Embrace change to stay relevant with your audience of current and prospective customers. As your customers’ needs change the way you meet them will need to change as well. Meet them where they search and connect now with what they need now to build trust and win their business.

Commit to the Transformation

Welcome change and take the steps needed to commit to it across the entire organization. Win over managers and let them help drive transformative actions. In an article on how successful CEOs think about change, a team of McKinsey & Company authors make three key recommendations for committing to transformation:

  1. Be strong in your conviction that change is necessary.
  2. Frame transformation in terms of overall performance improvement, not projects or tasks.
  3. Be boldly ambitious with goals.

Remember, it’s pointless to begin a transformation without the conviction to see it through. Whether you are aiming for widespread organizational change or incremental improvements, fully committing to the transformation is the only way to help the company achieve its full potential.

Adapt and Respond

As is always the case with change, the ability to adapt and respond as you go is critically important. When your strategy includes letting go of the old way of doing something in favor of a new approach, you will need to win people over to get them to change their attitudes. The best leaders will help them to believe in new possibilities.

One of the best ways to achieve this kind of change is through deliberate narrative. In a Harvard Business Review article on storytelling that drives change we are told,

“Research has shown that storytelling has a remarkable ability to connect people and inspire them to take action. ‘Our species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories,’ the anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson has written. Tim O’Brien, who has won acclaim for his books about the Vietnam War, put it this way: ‘Storytelling is the essential human activity. The harder the situation, the more essential it is.’ When your organization needs to make a big change, stories will help you convey not only why it needs to transform but also what the future will look like in specific, vivid terms.”

As AI changes the way we do business across everything from prospecting and selling to customer service and product development, storytelling is going to remain critical in efforts to maintain the human element of business. Storytelling allows the transformative nature of change to be better embraced internally as well as externally, giving it a better chance of sticking to drive success.

Communicate Well

Communicating is the key to effective transformation because lasting change requires clear and transparent communication internally as well as externally. Leverage existing communication tools to keep everyone informed and highlight the value in using these tools to their fullest potential. Remember, in the same way that a hammer is ineffective on its own but can be used to achieve great things in the hand of a carpenter, tools are only as useful as we allow them to be. Rally your teams around being open to using tools to achieve more before, during, and after transformations.

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Topics: Strategy Strategic Revenue Growth Planning Change Management