The world, and probably your industry too, is facing giant problems right now. Something we don’t talk about enough (but should) is that most people simply don’t have what it takes to solve them.
People who can solve huge problems share a couple of key things in common. First of all, they are both people-centred AND problem-solvers. If you want to be a leader of change and you’re not interested both in how change affects people and love solving problems, stop reading now.
You can't be someone who wants to solve problems, if only there weren't pesky people involved. A surefire sign you’re people-centred is that you're happy to spend time building consensus and co-creating solutions. This has to be a natural instinct, otherwise in moments of stress your lack of care will show and the process of change will be damaged.
Of course you also have to be a brilliant problem solver. Change makers don't care that there isn't a solution yet and can’t find the answer on Google. You’re comfortable making up your own process and deciding what the next steps in the dance are going to be.
It may sound harsh, but having spent 15 years in this industry I know that without these two traits, there’s very little chance you can be the leader of change in your industry.
When you think about huge problems, you feel a bubble of excitement build up in you.
This is important because, to be a change maker, you have to extract energy from the problem itself, not the idea you can solve it.
You see giant problems as an opportunity to innovate and aren’t afraid of the challenge. You need this attitude because solving problems and making change is never a straight path without issues.
Giant change requires momentum. Change makers don’t fall at the first hurdle. Your desire for positive change means you won’t rest until the problem is solved and you don't care if you’re the last person standing.
If all you are energised by is the idea of being the person who solves the giant problem, it’s likely your ego will get in the way and you’ll stop when things get tough.
Of course, it’s great to be the person who solves an aspect of the problem, but the people who make massive waves in their industry have an almost unreasonable level of determination and motivation. You're excited, inspired and energised by problem-solving and that’s enough motivation in itself to see you through the ups and downs.
If there is a specific problem in your industry that makes you feel excited, inspired and energised, then it’s likely you’re a change maker. Just remember, there is no job spec for saviour of the world, so stay in your lane and focus completely on solving your one big problem.
As a change maker, you will 100 percent make mistakes. I don’t mean general mistakes anyone could make, but highly personal mistakes where you will say things you believe to be true and that will turn out to be rubbish. To be the person who makes massive change and becomes known as the go-to problem-solver in your industry, you have to be okay with not knowing the answers.
This doesn’t mean you’re helpless, it means you’re human. Humans are brilliant at reflecting and making meaning from our mistakes, so every time you’re wrong, dig in and discover why.
You may worry that others will judge you for your mistakes. Ditch the disease to please because, as a change maker, you're not always going to be liked for the decisions you make. Be yourself come what may and the right people will like you even when you’re making mistakes. Be the kind of change maker who can lead people down a dead-end, but be so authentic and transparent that people still follow you anywhere.
Being first on the path of solving a problem isn't easy. With giant problems, there is no case study to follow so you have to be okay with big goals but not knowing the steps to take to reach them. You might create a framework or process to measure where you're going with no idea if it’s going to work. To be a change maker in your industry, you have to be okay with uncertainty.
I know what it’s like to be first on the path. I’m supporting a local authority in their recovery from Covid 19. No one has done this before and I’m definitely making mistakes. But even mistakes where you’re not getting what you intended can still give you nuggets of gold.
For example, I recently sent a survey out to a hundred service areas to understand more about their ability to recover from Covid 19. I was expecting the majority to say they thought recovery would be extremely difficult or relatively difficult. But instead 84 percent said they thought it would be extremely easy or relatively easy. This didn’t help me categorise appropriate levels of support, but it did tell me that people are feeling positive about their ability to come out of this.
I’m not saying my way of path finding through a process is best in class. But I’m excited, inspired and energised to go on the journey and motivated to ensure we get where we’re going together (with plenty of mistakes along the way).
People don't follow leaders who have all the answers, they follow those who are persistent enough to handle not knowing and be first on the path with potential solutions.
You don’t have to be right to be the person who leads your industry out of crisis but you do have to be fully invested in getting it right. If you want to be a change maker, your legacy has to be bigger than your ego.
If you have the natural skills and burning desire to be a change maker but you don't know exactly how to create successful and sustainable change, my new programme is for you.
You could piece together ‘How To’s’ from blogs and websites, but that wastes time and doesn’t give you the big picture. Instead jump on the waitlist for The Change Maker Academy.
Not another online course, it’s a 100% supported programme of insight, development, education and feedback. It will give you everything you need to become one of the Change Makers of tomorrow and, as a bonus when you sign up to the waitlist, I’ll give you 25% off the cost of the course and an optional payment plan.
Money doesn’t have to be a barrier to you reaching the next stage in your career so join the waitlist now.
Oakwood is a Transformational Change Consultancy that works with mid-sized + companies, local authorities and individuals who are on a mission to create successful, sustainable and self-sufficient change. With our proprietary, comprehensive and proven 5i Framework and our collection of tools and processes, we have a higher record than most at creating the result you desire, without it being all about us … because your success isn’t about us, we’re here to support, guide and empower the change YOU make.
With our unique Matrix Method we can see things that others can’t, no matter how complicated the problem, it can be analysed and simplified into a system you will understand, and our enviable network of experts means that no problem is too big or too difficult to find a solution for.
Our experience spans private, public, local and global which means we understand the inner workings of change in each environment, without losing the feeling of real relationships - we truly have a global reach with a local feel. www.oakwoodmanagementconsulting.com
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Oakwood.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.