Our consulting practice has shown that it takes much longer than expected to accomplish anything worthwhile. That’s why it’s important for you to build a realistic plan for the process. Otherwise, you’ll lose focus and commitment as you encounter the normal delays and difficulties.
Goldilocks wasn’t a management consultant, but maybe she was right about managing change: not too little and not too much. Not too fast and not too slow. Somewhere in between is just right.
Don’t confuse “not too fast” with not getting started at all. Troubling situations won’t resolve themselves, and you can’t wait for a perfect solution. That’s just evasion and it’s an abdication of your role as CEO.
The Goldilocks Theory of Change
Managing change isn’t a matter of being heroic or timid.
Not too fast, not too slow. Somewhere in between is just right.
Most top-performing CEOs are decisive but not impulsive. They’re rarely early adaptors of new ideas, but when they’re convinced a new idea is a good one, they’re superb at implementing it.
When something needs your attention, start by defining the issue. Then get your team involved, explore the options, choose a course of action and move forward.
You’ll need to be fully committed to making the change, so take care to allocate the resources required — both money and time — and remember that wishing doesn’t make it so. Get your management team engaged in the process and work with a real sense of urgency.
Once you’ve gotten underway, observe the results, make adjustments and continue to move forward. Now look for the next thing you want to improve.
When we start new consulting assignments, I tell clients that we’re probably not going to identify any opportunities that they don’t already know about.
But even without any glittering new ideas, we’re still going to make progress — by taking lots of baby steps, all forward. And then we’re going to place wedges behind our feet so we don’t go backwards.
Taking a steady and persistent approach really can lead to meaningful progress. It will take some practice for you to get better at the Goldilocks approach, but you’ll find it clarifies your choices and makes it easier to begin making progress.
I don’t worship at the shrine of Goldilocks, but it turns out that she was a pretty good management consultant.