Leadership is conceived from intrinsic vision and purpose-driven motivation that influences others to partner together. I have never lacked in inspired vision or the willingness to pay the price to accomplish it. However, I have never embarked on a journey that was absent of conflict, surprises or setbacks. Growth and change inevitably bring conflict. Conflict invites emotional responses that could either sabotage or empower any worthwhile endeavor.
My daughter, a young professional, needed to update her wardrobe for her corporate positioning. We excitedly rushed off to a well-known store only to find out-of-date styles and the announcement of the store’s closure—they are no more! Our assumption was that the leadership of this company rested on the many years of successful reputation rather than paying the price to change in order to remain relevant to up-and-coming professionals.
No matter where we lead we must recognize a basic law of nature knowing that anything left to itself will deteriorate. The moment a tree stops growing it has begun to die. If we are not moving forward we are automatically regressing and becoming less relevant to those we lead. We are faced with two options—we maintain while the world around us is advancing or we step out beyond our comfort zone to continue to meet a need in our world.
We must recognize the destructive effect of stagnancy. Every good leader risks today’s accomplishments for the success story of tomorrow. The fact that growth always brings conflict challenges our mindsets to naturally and emotionally prepare in advance. We recognize that proactivity and the conflict that accompanies it can be a catalyst for positive change when we respond to it positively.
“Positive conflict strategies have the ability to deliberately position our teams relationally, practically and emotionally to fulfill vision.”
Here are a few things that I have found that can help us to prepare for and navigate through the inevitable and necessary change that comes with growth:
Get your head out of the proverbial sand. Most visionaries try to silence the dream smashers when they expose potential flaws or ask negative-sounding questions. The reality is that they are assessing the vision’s capacity to hold the weight of impending difficulty.
Before you launch a vision is the perfect time to research and find solutions for every potential conflict. We can’t see all the obstacles of our future, but we can be forewarned and prepared by having well thought-out strategies. We move from the thrill of the dream to the reality of its execution which is a sign of mature wisdom that brings security to those we lead.
Lay the groundwork before you launch. Gathering the right people resources as well as the administrative structure is foundational. Before you build a house you have to know what it will cost, hire the right people to build it in excellence, and determine how it will be paid for and maintained after it is built. When first-time parents discover they are going to have a baby they begin to emotionally prepare through research and asking questions about every aspect of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and how to parent this precious vision. They begin to practically prepare a nursery, organize a baby shower and begin to gather everything they need for the baby’s care. It would be imprudent to bring a baby home from the hospital without first preparing for its arrival. The elements of building a home or the care of child change as you walk out the journey in the same way administrative structure will need modification. Therefore, it is important to have a solid groundwork established in order to build confidence and produce buy-in within the team.
The right people are our greatest asset! There must be mutually established trust with those who work together within the vision. Each one has paid the price to authentically communicate from the heart and is positioned through proven competencies. The entire team recognizes that all the components for successful building and maintenance are already woven into the vision. Emotionally intellectual individuals are strategically placed with a proven track record that they will follow through to completion in excellence as they serve the vision. These individuals are problem solvers not excuse makers. The team is flexible as it faces the unexpected setbacks knowing that every obstacle is an opportunity to be and do better.
“Nothing is given to man on earth – struggle is built into the nature of life, and conflict is possible – the hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent him from pursuing the values he has chosen.” Andrew Bernstein
Will you keep the dream alive? Will you be willing to go back to the drawing board? The vision you carry or its advancement is worth the price of re-envisioning, re-investment and re-launching. The world needs your contribution!
Dr. Melodye Hilton