Mountain climbers have known it all along:
Reaching the top involves performing three steps over and over again. These are the same steps that will help you implement and manage change in your company.
Not far from our downtown Salt Lake City offices are the Wasatch Mountains that offer world-class skiing and several of the canyons are destinations for mountain climbers from all over the world.
Most notably, our own support rep Vlad, is known for leaving the office after work and making his way up one of the dozens of climbing areas.
Have you ever taken time to watch a mountain climber?
At risk of over-simplifying things, you could say that mountain climbers make their way up a mountain by doing three things over and over again:
They look up, reach up, and pull themselves up.
Those three steps might help you understand how to implement changes in your organization.
I’ll come back to those steps in just a minute.
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Why am I telling you this?
I work every day helping businesses improve their business processes, often by adopting technology such as PlanPlus Online. Many of these companies see great improvements after the implementation phase… but before those improvements are manifest, they go through a dip in productivity as they adopt the new CRM technology.
The three basic mountain-climbing steps can help you get your company through that dip in productivity.
Look up = vision
First, mountain climbers look up. That’s your vision.
You need to develop a picture of the future that’s relatively easy to communicate and appeals to your workers. A vision helps clarify the direction you need to move.
Your vision isn’t a book of procedures, goals, methods, and deadlines. It’s a statement. A manifesto. A sentence or two of what the future will be like for you and your customers once the change is made.
Let go and reach up
Next, a mountain climber reaches up.
The first part of reaching up involves letting go.
In order to get your team to let go, they need to experience some discontent with the status-quo. They need to be unhappy with the way things are now to be motivated to work for something better.
You can’t reach up unless you let go.
Finally, a climber will pull themself up. This is the bridge you have to build from where you are now to where you want to be. You will teach new behaviors and implement new processes.
Of course, every mountain climber celebrates when they reach their objective—and that’s what you need to do as well. Plan and create short-term wins and rewards on the path. Make sure to recognize and reward the workers involved in the improvements.
I realize that even successful change efforts are messy and full of surprises, but by thinking of the three mountain-climbing steps of Look Up, Reach Up, and Pull Up you’ll experience fewer errors and unhappiness and that can spell the difference between failure and success.