WE RE MAKING A BREAK with the past. It used to be that people looked the other way when you violated policy, but now we re supposed to hold people accountable. How do you change the rules in the middle of the game?
Many organizations are just beginning to ask their employees to step up to a new level of initiative, teamwork, customer service, and so on. Unfortunately, despite leaders efforts to bring about change, slogans, buttons , and banners aren t enough to transform a culture. Calling a group a team doesn t make it a team.
Telling your children they can no longer walk all over you may not reverse the results of a decade of weak parenting.
You can t solve long-standing problems if you haven t let others know exactly what you want. With unclear expectations, you don t have the right to confront individual violations. Confront the past. Without singling anyone out, outline for people the natural consequences of how things have been. For example, you may describe how saying yes to every urgent demand has caused you to have chronically poor quality and terribly costly operations. As you help people connect consequences with past behavior, you build moral authority for resetting expectations.
Illuminate your general vision of how things are going to be in the future with specific, identifiable, and replicable actions. Clarify dos and don ts. Study best practices. Contrast what people used to do with what they need to do now. Then teach and focus on those specific actions. If you don t know precisely what you re looking for, you have no right to expect it. Only after you ve clarified your new expectation do you have the right to begin having crucial confrontations with those who violate the new standards. More than a right, it will then be a responsibility.