Playing the Long Game  

When it comes to parenting, it’s what we do that counts, not what we say. When my two eldest girls reached 7 and 11, I decided it was time to institute a more formal approach to pocket money. The girls selected a few age-appropriate chores, above and beyond their normal expectations, and we negotiated a weekly amount to compensate them for their efforts. 

A few years later, we are at the point where the girls remember their Saturday jobs pretty consistently and do a fairly good job of them. But this wasn’t always the case! It took a few goes for us to get it right.

Apparently, just writing the list and agreeing the pocket money together wasn’t enough for them to develop new habits and do a half decent job of the dusting. (Honestly, HOW DOES THAT LOOK CLEAN TO YOU?!)

I realised after the first couple of frustrating failures that I was being unrealistic in my expectations – if I wanted the kids to take ownership of their new responsibilities, they needed me to support them through teaching, reminders, and monitoring. It’s not a quick win (damn it) but it is something worth taking the time to get right, as they learn more about how to contribute to and run a household, and develop skills that will serve them for the rest of their life. 

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” -John Maxwell 

The lesson? Embedding change and progress takes time and effort.  

Over the last two weeks, I’ve written communicating change to your teams in a way that promotes engagement and creates meaning to build buy-in. The first part of this is the ‘tell’ – the need to provide conviction and clarity about the change you want to see in your organisation and the importance of making it a reality. The second is in the ‘ask’ – asking the right questions to shape meaning and make strategy real.  

The final piece in the puzzle is the largest and considers the need for support – how do we embed longer term change in the way we work and deliver outcomes? 

Change is constant – how many times have you heard that lately? It's a cliche because it's true. Sometimes it feels like we’ve just rolled out something new when the next big thing hits. But when we take our finger off the pulse, and expect things to run smoothly without any additional tweaking or support, change dies.  

Just like I couldn’t expect my girls to just instantly become expert dusters who remembered their chores every week without my input,  we can’t expect our teams to stay the course unless we lead by example and provide consistent support. 

In the spirit of asking better questions, it’s about asking: 

“What’s working?”
“What isn’t working?”
“How can I help you to do this?”  

More importantly, it’s about practising what we preach – if you’re not modelling the importance of doing this stuff and getting it right, why would your people?  

Are you providing the support your teams need?  

Til next week! 

- A