I sat in the conference room with poor lighting and industrial carpeting as a healthcare executive began to speak. “This is not an important initiative you are working on,” he said, followed by a dramatic pause, “it is the most important initiative this company is working on.”
He was right — the business did not have scale in an industry where scale is necessary to survive. But when I looked around the room I saw mostly blank, unenthusiastic faces. As I walked into the hallway after the meeting, I heard people jokingly repeat “the most important initiative” to one another. When I asked a team member why people didn’t take the phrase seriously, I received a telling response: “I’ve heard him say that three times for three different initiatives in the past year.”
Because the well-intentioned executive had lost credibility with his teams, even logical and necessary proposals were met with skepticism and resistance. Which highlights an important reality:
[bctt tweet=”People will not believe a message that presses the case for change if they don’t believe the messenger.” via=”no”]
That’s the bad news. The good news? Three steps can give executives a greater chance at success. To build a transformation that people will enthusiastically support, leaders should (1) identify and understand personal values; (2) align those values with the transformational goals; and (3) identify actions to model those values to the organization. We call this a “credibility first” transformation.
Read more: Putting Credibility First