One of your most significant roles as a leader is to help people change. Change the way they work. Change the way products and services work. Change their minds about real challenges (whether perceived as scary or an adventure).
This is fundamentally difficult, especially changing people’s minds.
Changing people’s minds is difficult for many reasons, but the first reason is… people don’t want to change their mind. The default state is “I know I’m right.”
Considering this observation from Perry Marshall: “People don’t go to Facebook to form their opinions, they go to Facebook to have their opinions affirmed.” We like echo chambers.
As a leader you can help people get more information, or outline another perspective, or reframe their current information in a new way. You can patiently persist in these activities on your part. You can hope that events and circumstances occur which give people pause to reconsider their view. You can leverage your positional authority to help, or at least get to grudging compliance.
But don’t ever assume you can change someone’s mind. There is not a 100% guaranteed formula. Do your part, but each person must own his part in the process.
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” (G.K. Chesterton)
Adults crave stories about overcoming hardships, solving problems, and defeating dragons (internal and external).
It’s important to remind people that they’ve successfully killed dragons in the past, and they can do it again.
It’s astounding how many times we read in the Bible where God tells the children of Israel, “I am the Lord God who brought you out of Egypt.” Reflecting on this, I don’t think God is bragging. I think he’s dealing with real people, who are forgetful and need to be reminded. Frequently. Within a generation and across generations.
You and I are working with people who are just as forgetful. Reminding people of past successes is part of helping them work effectively towards a brighter future.
Begin by keeping these core truths close to heart:
I can’t change the past.
I can’t fix a broken past.
I can build a better future, beginning with actions I execute today.