Affecting change within an organization, regardless of how well understood or widely used the program or system might be, is a matter of leadership. Leadership is how we constructively influence behavior. Behavior is ultimately what we must change to make our programs and systems take root.
A fundamental leadership technique is to use examples of good and bad, poor and better to communicate our expectations to our peers and our followers. We use it at home with our families to teach children how to clean up their rooms or brush their teeth. We use it at sporting events when we say, “That was a good play; our team needs to do more like that,” or contrarily, “Oooh, that was a mistake!” We use it at work when we say, “This is good; make them all like this.”
We don’t have to be extraordinary to know how to use examples to set direction, communicate expectations, and establish desired behavior. We do have to have those examples, however.
There is a tool that I didn’t realize I was using until I found myself going back to it, over, and over, and then re-creating it a second time on a different initiative. It turned out to be useful to me in so many ways that it eventually became a habit for me. That tool I call the Change Leader’s Journal.
Let me briefly explain why it is so useful, though I have already given away one of the most important elements. While it has uses for keeping records of events and providing evidence during an inquiry, we hope that we never need to use it for such. It’s more productive uses are as follows.
- Enables a (albeit subjective) measure of progress
- Provides evidence of progress
- Captures indicators of problems or roadblocks
- Captures examples for facilitating behavior adjustment