Changing Behavior Starts with Connecting the Dots

 In Communication, Leaders

“People need to play bigger!”  This was something a leader announced to his organization about how they could transform their business.  He had conviction and passion… but he also had everyone is his organization utterly confused.  Play bigger?  What did that mean?  How on earth were several thousand people going to put such a vague directive into action? 

When people are asked to change, we need to be specific about what is expected.  Sometimes it might seem like we are stating the obvious and not giving people enough credit to think for themselves.  But people need the dots connected for them when they are asked to change… and they need the dots drawn very close together and connected with a big fat marker.

What is expected of me?  What should I do?  It may seem obvious to leaders, but it is often times not to the people who need to shift the way they work. 

Getting more specific eliminates confusion and misdirected efforts.  Knowing very clearly what actions they should take helps people focus on conquering small concrete goals to build their confidence.  And pride in even small accomplishments helps accelerate a person’s ability to absorb the change.    

Once people pick up the behaviors, they will internalize them and make them their own.  They will start to build on the new behaviors and improve on them.  They will come up with ideas for how they can be even more accountable without being asked because this will be their new standard of behavior.