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POSTED ON 22-JUL-2014

I received a really nice mail this morning from a client. Mick had been on one of our development programmes, one of three hundred participants last year. He has just been promoted into a new area where he will be managing a much bigger group of people who are Customer facing. He was writing to say ‘Thanks again for all the help, support and encouragement’.  I was chuffed.

In the training business, you sort of know you might be doing a good job. When people are engaged and discussing issues, you get a real sense from the buzz in the room that it is working. We also ask for written feedback at the end of every workshop and most of the time people validate your input and organisational skills.

But it is rare that you get personal notes to say thanks.

I copied the note to the Admin Team and they were delighted and appreciative of Mick’s kind words. They do all of the hard work, the trainers are just the mouth piece.

On one of the workshops that Mick attended, I do a piece on Change. It can be a bit radical for conservative organisations. Mick got it and gave an example of a large scale, capital project that he had been involved in.

The model simply suggests that you do not have to bring everybody with you to make change. You communicate to everybody; work with a few apostles and use them to convert the big group who are stuck in the middle and indifferent. Leave the objectors alone initially and maybe they will convert but take the risk that they will not.

This is the bit that confuses people, leaving people out seems wrong. My response is that when they are in, they cause disruption and directly prevent or inhibit the improvements that you are implementing.
Having an apostle in the training room is every trainers dream. When s/he can articulate the application of the model to a big project back in the company, you are on a winner. What was even more interesting was that we had some objectors in the room who tried once again to deny the model, the project and Mick.

He quietly stood his ground. He is soft spoken and good humoured. Mick’s simple proposition was that change happens and as Leaders, we need to be at the front end.

Understanding that the objectors will always have a go; this is normal. How you spend your time and energy is critical. Your energy needs to go with the people who are interested and willing to be convinced. Open and honest discussion is adult behaviour and welcome. Back biting and personalised gossip is harmful and wasteful.

One of our challenges is to find people like Mick; engage and encourage them, give them projects and promote them if you can. Success is based on good people doing the right things, let them at it.

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