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In this episode of The Leadership Habit, we will be focusing on the topic of Change Management. We interviewed L. Bonita Patterson, the founder, and CEO of a company called Polaris Consulting. Bonita specializes in people optimization and organizational change. She joins us today to share her knowledge and experience on the topic of change management. Bonita has over 20 years of experience in senior management and leadership roles in Fortune 100 mid-sized and small companies. Her strength as an executive coach, consultant, and advisor lies in her understanding of human behavior, organizational complexities, and sustainable change. Join us for this discussion where Bonita will explain the 5 words to remember for successful change management: Why, How, Who, Roadblocks and Confetti!
Full Transcript Below:
Jenn: 00:03 On this week’s episode of The Leadership Habit. We will be focusing on the topic of change management. We interviewed L. Bonita Patterson. Bonita is the founder and CEO of a company called Polaris Consulting. Bonita specializes in people optimization and organizational change. She joins us today to share her knowledge and experience on the topic of change management. Bonita has over 20 years of experience in senior management and leadership roles in Fortune 100 mid-sized and small companies. Her strength as an executive coach, consultant, and advisor lies in her understanding of human behavior, organizational complexities, and sustainable change. I’m excited to welcome you to Bonita. I hope that you get some great habits that you can incorporate to your leadership habit today.
Jenn: 00:55 Bonita, I am so happy that we get to talk to you. You are one of Crestcom’s expert faculty members and you supported a recent Change Management module that we are using currently in educating our leaders. I’ve been really excited to interview you. You have an extensive leadership background. You are the founder and CEO of Polaris Consulting Group and Bonita Patterson, please introduce yourself to our listeners.
The Challenges of Change Management
Bonita: 01:25 Well, hello everybody. I’m thrilled to be here and I was just overjoyed to work on that change management module, it’s so meaningful, and working with you folks is always such a pleasure. And you know, my background, I have a corporate background. I worked in a large corporation for over 15 years. Then when I left there I worked for medium and small size companies and then started my own consulting firm and I spent many, many years in management, in the chair that our listeners are in, dealing with the issues that our listeners deal with on a daily basis. So I have a lot of, not just book knowledge and educational knowledge, but a lot of experience in dealing with tough situations and anticipating roadblocks and barriers and making things smooth and correct the first time.
Jenn: 02:16 Yeah. Which is challenging, right? Especially when we’re talking about change, you know? And if the change strategy can go off 100% perfect the first time, I think that gives you permission to maybe buy a lottery ticket because it’s not that common – the chances of it happening might be very low. But no, that’s great. And you know, I know our listeners will really appreciate being able to hear some of your experience and how you even work with your customers to help them find success. So we’re really excited to be talking about change management on today’s podcast episode. Bonita, I know that you have a really great strategy for how you look at being successful with change. It’s your five tips and you had talked about it in terms of words, like a very simple approach. What is- or how would you describe- a successful tip or tips for people to think about change management?
Bonita: 03:14 Well, I think of it this way. All you have to do is remember five words to nail change. And the five words: are Why, How, Who, Roadblocks and Confetti!
Jenn: 03:31 Ooh! I like the confetti. I mean, that’s an exciting word.
Bonita: 03:37 You know, if you do all five of those things- and we’ll do a dive into what those five things are- but they help you cover all your bases because we know Change is a lot of moving parts, a lot of variables. And the reason it fails is because people focus on one or two or three things. They don’t focus on all five things. And I’m telling you if you focus on all five things, it will be successful.
Jenn: 04:02 So it’s focusing on the Why, the How, the Who, Roadblocks. And my personal favorite, Confetti!
Bonita: 04:09 That’s my favorite too. Like the ice cream sundae at the end of a long hard drive.
Jenn: 04:18 Because change is hard. You know, whether many organizations can fail at change and maybe it’s seen at a big level and it could be very public or it could be just something small. But change is hard. But I love this very simple approach for how managers can look at if they’re facing a change, maybe in a procedure or a task or maybe it’s a product change, that they can reference these five words before they go down that path of change management. You’d said that you were going to give us a little bit more information about each of them. So let’s start with the first one, which is “Why”.
Bonita: 04:57 Why. Well with everything, think about even in our own lives with anything, before we are personally really willing to change, there has to be a reason. What is the Why? You know Simon Sinek is always talking about, the Why- he has it nailed. You have to know your Why because people need a sense of urgency. When you do your risk-benefit analysis and we all do it internally about everything. We don’t necessarily call it that, but we’d look at why should I do this? Why shouldn’t I do this? You can weigh things to the Why should I move forward? If there’s a sense of urgency and especially if that sense of urgency has a lot of positivity. This is the wonderfulness we are going to walk into. We are going to move into if we do this, so the Why should be encouraging. It should be something that draws people in. And not a fear-based Why. Sometimes Whys are fear-based because sometimes companies change because they don’t want to go into the ditch, right? So if that’s the reason that’s driving it, I say before you speak to your employees and your leadership team, you need to figure out what are the golden nuggets, the attractors that people will be excited about because change is hard. Change is worrisome. But if you’re also excited, as you all know, you can be in a situation where you’re afraid and you can be frozen with fear. Or you can be in a situation where you have that little tingle in your gut where you’re kind of afraid because you don’t know what’s happening, but you are also very excited. I want to get on with it and just get there. And that excitement makes it easier for you, makes it easier for the leadership team. And it makes it easier for the people to overcome the hurdles they will have to overcome to move from what they’re doing now to what they need to do in the future.
Jenn: 07:00 That Why, and I love that look of, Why are you changing? Are you changing because you’re afraid of losing relevancy, our market position or XYZ, employees? But how do you elicit that excitement? What is the possibility or the future that the change can bring about? So making those decisions from that place of like, where can we go if you make this change? Like how high is that limit? Or is it the sky? Can it even get higher than that? Is there such a thing? It’s really exciting to think about, you know, just the reframe that change does get a very negative connotation and oftentimes because it is associated with fear and words like risks, but risks in a really daunting way instead of, hey- if we take this risk, this is what we could potentially grow into. So yeah, maybe looking at that Why and making it really exciting. Like, if we do this, this is what’s possible for us. This is what it could look like for you, for communities, for XYZ. That’s exciting. I love the Why!
Bonita: 08:08 You used my favorite word and that is reframe. My favorite thing is the reframe. I think the reframe is- reframe with sincerity, not with manipulative intent of course- but it is the most powerful tool. Shifting the way we view a situation. Do you see possibilities and not danger? Be aware of potential danger so we can avoid them, but really be energized by possibilities.
Jenn: 08:37 Hey, and trusting that we’ve all, at some point in time in our life, we have changed. And it’s not necessarily as scary as what we’ve made it out to be. We just may not have realized that the change was occurring when it was happening. It could be simple things like changing behaviors, maybe changing the activities that you enjoy doing. When we look at it from a personal level, I think we can see change as a very natural thing. I like to joke around with some of my millennial clients that I work within a coaching practice to say, for example, when did you stop playing with these childhood toys? Why aren’t you so upset that you’re not playing with them? Right? They’re like, well, I naturally grew into different behaviors. I had different interests. And so you pivoted, you changed, you went there and you met yourself and it’s really just not that complicated, but we make it more complicated than what it needs to be. We change because it’s a natural thing that may need to happen to align with the future direction that we want to go to.
Bonita: 09:42 I’m so glad you said that because you hit on such a key. And that is reminding people, you’ve done this before. All of you have ever done in your entire life is change. Period. From day one. You’re an expert at it. Remember that, and let’s tap into it because you’ve done it well many, many times. Let’s just do it well again.
Jenn: 10:09 Yeah, absolutely! Okay, that’s fantastic. I’m loving this conversation so much and I’m excited to talk about your second word, which is the second tip and that’s How.
Bonita: 10:22 How! So the How is- what is the strategy behind it? What are we going to do? What is the strategy, the parameters, the guidelines for this change? And we really want to focus on giving people a framework for how to go there. And a framework for making decisions about it along the way and it needs to have some bit of flexibility because we’re dealing with change, which means there are unknown things that will pop up. So in your strategy- and as you’re laying out your plan and your strategy- you also have to plan time for unexpected occurrences. Because 100%, there will be some unanticipated- no matter how genius you are. And I’m sure you and your staff are the brightest people on the face of this natural earth, but there will be some changes that you have not anticipated. Maybe some unintended consequences that start emerging and you have to shift. Or maybe something that you never even imagined would happen in a particular way. So always leave room for flexibility. So even in your timelines and schedules, schedule the time for the unknown because if you schedule time for the unknown, it gives you freedom and energy to actually deal with it instead of ignoring it and just plowing ahead by checking off the next thing on the list,
Jenn: 12:00 Which is easy to do. Especially when you are, maybe you have some deadlines and you’re very focused on, we told our shareholders, or I told my boss, depending on who the intended audience of change is. Sometimes we just want to cross it off the list. We said we are going to do this and so we don’t even face the unknown, right? Because we were like, we were supposed to finish this by this date, so let’s just ignore that and keep plowing through. And then the consequence is that change likely does not end up occurring the way that they actually wanted to see it. So it moves them further away from that vision, and might even put a bad taste in the mouth of the people impacted by that change because maybe you were a little sloppy or lazy, with how you wanted to address it. And you know, believe me when I say lazy, it makes sense, people can be really busy and have a lot of things going on and it can be really easy to say – oh well, it’s okay, I don’t need to look at that. But again, that short term pain of just investing, hitting that head-on, leads you to that long term gain. Right? Versus having to come back and try and do some PR or change the strategy on change. You know, you can set yourself up for success by just addressing that head-on.
Bonita: 13:20 And you know, you bring me to a real pet peeve of mine. There is a tool we use in change. Everybody’s used it, it is a powerful tool. It is so abused and misused and it causes a bad taste- it leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. And that is the Pilot. Often when we are changing, we set up a pilot. What is the purpose of a pilot? Well, the purpose of the pilot is to test it out. It’s like being scientists and experiment. What is working? What is not working? How do we tweak it before we roll it out on a grander scale and impact the lives of yet even more people and even more close customers and clients? But somehow we have a super tight schedule. We were going to do this, you’re gonna do this, we’re going to do this pilot. And at the end of the pilot, we’ve got two weeks and we roll it out – Boom! If you’re going to do that- so I have a thing that I always tell my clients- either do the pilot for real or don’t do it at all. Don’t buzzword it. Don’t say, We’re going to have a pilot because it sounds so B-school”. You’re like, “oh yeah, I’ve got the methodology down, this is what we do”. Do it for real or do not do it? Because if you are not for real, you’re going to get people excited and then you’re going to rip the rug out from under them. And good luck capturing their hearts and minds and passion again,
Jenn: 14:48 Right! We all by nature we have to trust the experiences that we have. And those experiences, good or bad, shape our ability to want to maybe try something again. And so if you are starting with that negative or poor perception, it is that much more challenging to get them on board when you actually really need that.
Bonita: 15:10 And a real tip for making it happen in the right way, is in your scheduling. In your initial planning, you have to allow space for unanticipated occurrences, which is what I was just saying before, but now even applied to the pilot, schedule it! Make sure. And as you are dealing with whomever you have to get an OK or a buy-off from in order to meet a certain timeline, help them understand. Well, guess what, let’s schedule it here. With all intentions of doing it sooner. So we will under-promise and over-deliver, rather than the opposite.
Jenn: 15:52 Love that! Love that expectation, right? It’s, it’s really the one, it’s much better for any party involved to under-promise and over-deliver. I would much rather do that than the opposite.
Bonita: 16:04 When I’m getting an estimate on something or whatever, say your car, whatever it is, an estimate. And somebody says, “well the ballpark is…” I say get me a real conservative estimate. I want you to give me the worst case scenario estimate, don’t tell me it’s going to be X and it comes in way higher. I’d rather the opposite. And they look at me and go, “OK, yeah, we’ll make sure that we include some other possibilities when we give you your estimate”. So it’s the same thing. We tell them this pilot’s going to take the six months even if we think we can do it in three, and we ended up doing it at four and a half. And guess what? We’re not late, we’re early.
Jenn: 16:45 Yeah, and you likely addressed all of the things earlier, the unknown you gave yourself time to be able to address the unexpected. Let’s move on to your word number three, which is the Who.
Bonita: 17:05 Who- is the people. We always forget about the people. The people are going through two types of change. There is the change-change and then there’s the internal change. Are you giving people enough information and enough time and enough opportunities for input to help them make the shifts they need to make to get on board? And have you cascaded it in the proper fashion? Is the executive team on board? Is the senior team on board? Is Middle Management on board? And then cascading from there. Then the employees- because guess where change dies? Change dies in middle management. Boom. Period. End of story. It’s been that way since the dawn of time, it will be way till the end. So if you don’t get middle management on board, so they can start modeling the new behavior, so they have the right attitude when their people are going through change, it’s going to die on the vine. Meanwhile, if you do get them on board- Whoa! It just fuels the change and fuels the excitement and makes it that much easier, that much more successful.
Jenn: 18:17 Yeah and middle management is likely who the majority of your employees have exposure to. And if they see that individual really embracing the change and that the individual is also having a deep understanding of why that change is needed, and what possibilities will open up as a result of that change. All of that enthusiasm can start to be generated. People can get excited, but you know, I’ve definitely worked where I have reported to and worked with mid-level managers that have said, “I don’t know why they want us to do this, but this is what we have to do, so you have to do this”. And of course, then as an employee, you pick up that same attitude. You say, well, basically we’re doing this because we have to, even though it’s not necessarily a relevant change or a great change, all because of that messenger and how they’re packaging it. And it really can kill that morale and really burn that change management strategy.
Bonita: 19:14 You’re absolutely correct, which means- as you or even taking it out to the management ranks, whatever size your management team is- you need to make sure that the level of fear in your management team is minimal. If They are afraid for their jobs and they are concerned about what’s going to happen, there’s no way they’re not going to convey that to their people in some way or other. They’re going to convey that energy to their people and then that’s just going to have a mushroom effect.
Jenn: 19:52 Absolutely. You know, sometimes we forget how easy it is in a conversation with people to know when they’re afraid of something. Right. We sense that from each other. I think we’re all connected in that way where we can see that or if our boss is acting uncharacteristically and how they’re showing up, like you can see that and then when you’re starting to observe that, it’s natural that you then take on that fear and start to say, oh my gosh, do I need to get out of here and start to look for a new job? Things are really going to go downhill and if we just address it head on and say we know that fear can be a very, very big impact or ugly thing that needs to be addressed. It’s the elephant in the room. It’s the reason that people want to change or resist change and if we can address that head-on, that’s where we can get the people to be excited or our employees to be excited and want that change. But yeah, if I’m afraid who wants to go and do something when we’re terrified.
Bonita: 20:49 Exactly. If you feel like by participating in this change, you’re accelerating your demise, where’s the benefit? What’s in it for you to actually do it? So you hit it right on the head,
Jenn: 21:03 Right? No, that’s great! Let’s, let’s talk about your fourth word, which is Roadblocks.
Bonita: 21:09 Roadblocks! What can you anticipate? What possibilities can you anticipate where the wheels may come off the cart? So that enables you to set up a situation where it doesn’t happen or it happens minimally. You have early warnings it is happening so you can avoid it. And so how do you get that information? You often get that information not by just having a bunch of managers sitting in a room, coming up with a plan that they would get an “A” for in B-school. I keep saying B-school, I mean Business school. I’m so buzzwordy. B-School, right? But you need to get the people that are actually doing the work. That actually interface with the clients and customers, that actually interface with other departments on a working level. They really understand how the information flows, how we connect with the client. Get them involved to help you anticipate barriers. And you can set it up in a way so it’s not just a complaining session. Set it up in a way that this session is about us being detectives. We’re putting on our Sherlock Holmes hat and we’re trying to figure out what could we possibly run into so that we have plan B, a plan C, plan D in our hip pocket to deal with it when it comes up. And we have the foresight to see it coming before we’re right in the middle of it. So get them involved because there’s a natural resistance to change. This gives them a legitimate opportunity to voice their concerns and to come up with solutions, keep us out of that ditch to keep us out of that territory. And it creates more buy-in because by doing that, they’re beginning to create a process with you.
Jenn: 23:12 Yeah. The partnership is formed. You are aligning with the people that are going to be doing that hard work and they are the ones that more often than not have more experience than you do in relation to that role and what will be needed to accomplish the change. So it is really important to think about how you can partner with them, gain some insight. So what you said- being that detective- but really just being curious, you know, more often than not, people aren’t giving resistance because they just don’t love change. They have genuine concerns that do need to be addressed. I don’t think they intentionally are saying, “I really want to be difficult to make sure that this doesn’t work”. No, they want your company to be successful just like you do. But, they also have a different point of view that when you don’t acknowledge that or you ignore it, you’re missing a big piece of your puzzle. I didn’t know how annoying that is when you put together a puzzle only to find that you’re missing pieces because it just does not look the way that you want it to.
Bonita: 24:19 It’s like, actually it’s even- I’ll build on that. It’s like putting the puzzle together without the picture.
Jenn: 24:27 Yeah, absolutely.
Bonita: 24:31 And then you’ve got the pieces. You don’t even know where you’re headed. Whereas the box cover would provide you with that vision of what you want to end up with. So by getting them involved and having that box cover for them, starting the discussion with, “this is where we’re going, we’re really excited about it.” We know we’re going to run into some things along the way, so let’s figure out what we might run into and how we might avoid it. But always keeping the focus on the excitement of getting there and that way it doesn’t devolve into just negative energy, but it’s very helpful. People begin to get excited at that point. It’s interesting how talking about potential roadblocks and solutions can actually get people excited. Particularly if they feel like they have a voice in the solutions. They have a voice in how we get there.
Jenn: 25:22 Yeah. People want to feel a part of it. And you know the other piece of that that I think you might have something to probably respond, but the manager’s job or whoever is actually working to uncover those roadblocks, they’re ability to suspend their own ego, especially if they are the biggest champion of that change or maybe the originator of that change because oftentimes the, and might be the ones that do not want to see the roadblocks because they want to see their vision come to life. But really as a manager, as a leader, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at, you have to be able to suspend your own ego. It’s not directly about you. This is about the change taking place because it needs to solve X or to create X and you know, improve X. But it’s not about you. Right. It doesn’t need to be me versus you. It’s just always being open and curious and wow, thank you so much to that employee that may have brought to light something that we have not even considered looking at. Thank you. Instead of, “we’re not going to go down that road because that’s going to conflict with my change management strategy and that doesn’t feel good.” Right? I mean it is an issue because I think people do put that pressure on themselves to want to say, “Look, I drove this change and I did this!” And we feel sometimes that the change might be a bad thing. Whereas really to be able to pivot, to be able to be flexible, you will again end up looking better in the long run because you were able to adapt instead of just pushing your way through,
Bonita: 26:57 Boy, you really hit on it! Learn to take credit for the pivot. Not just for the original plan. Learn to take credit for growing and changing with the process and leveraging your people and getting them excited. That shows that you’re a true leader.
Jenn: 27:16 Absolutely. All right. Let’s, let’s talk about our last word, the one that you and I both love, which is Confetti! I mean, I think I already know where this is going, but I love that word because I know where you’re going to go with it. I think it’s so important to people with change. So what is the confetti word representing?
Bonita: 27:38 Excuse me. But for some reason when I say confetti, I also visualize cupcakes. So for me confetti comes with the cupcakes! That is about finding success and celebrating. Celebrate, find wins and structure it to have some early wins. So you can start celebrating and the wins don’t have to be big. Small, incremental changes. Those are changes. Those are wins. And you celebrate it and it gets the momentum going. It reinforces the fact that hey, we have actually changed. Oh, that didn’t seem like that was a big change. But now that you think about it, we did do it and now we’re not doing it the old way anymore. This is awesome. Okay. We took step one and two. Maybe I can take steps three and four! And it really just gets people energized, but there’s one caveat I have with the confetti piece. Please make sure they are absolutely legitimate. Make sure these are real wins, not some manufactured thing that looks like wins because we’ve juggled some statistics on a piece of paper and made it look like a win. We can talk about it because people can smell it. When people know that you have basically stepped in it and they’re not- even if they are looking at you smiling- they’re not buying it and you’re losing the crowd. So you want to keep the audience, your clients, your employees. Just make sure they’re real wins and you are celebrating the new behaviors that you want to see and you do not celebrate behaviors that you do not want to see. All too often I see people celebrating because we hit a milestone. We hit a milestone in the person that gets the most credit as the person that had the worst behavior going through it. And that sends a huge message because you’re trying to not just hit there, you’re trying to hit there with a certain behavior that you want to propagate going forward. So you have to really look at what are you celebrating, who are you celebrating? Are you celebrating enough people that were involved in it? Look at those factors, so it’s real, legitimate wins and then people get really excited. And again, it makes the rest of it going forward easier and easier because more and more people are on board.
Jenn: 30:18 Great. Well and then you brought up that it is really easy to look at a high performer or maybe someone that has accomplished a great deal of success. And I think people can sometimes ignore the bad behavior because they don’t want to see it. Like the consequences that they could potentially cause is for people to disengage or to just not connect or disengage overall from your culture because they’re seeing this big change management strategy or change management effort and the face of that are the poster child for that is someone that may not be acting in a way that you actually want to put on a pedestal, but by their position and association with that change in the visibility of that change, they’re getting that recognition. And so people may just completely forget about the benefit of the change because they’re so frustrated by the fact that there was this individual that didn’t maybe communicate in ways that were respectful, solution-oriented. Maybe they didn’t take that feedback. I mean we’ve all worked with the people that can be really challenging leaders and they may even have those positions where they can act in that way and they’re not held accountable, because people are afraid for changing them out of the change. Recognize that your face of change- if you see that face of change and you start to hear those problems because the rumblings happen- when people are sensing and they’re not really connecting with that individual. You need to address that head-on stop tolerating bad behavior because of past success.
Bonita: 31:57 Absolutely, and another powerful tool when you’re celebrating the wins, a great tool for leadership is to ask a couple of people what changed? What did you go through in making this happen? How did you shift personally? What happened to you? And for them to share maybe a story about how they had to shift as we went through this thing?
Jenn: 32:24 Well, it’s exciting how you can, then you can then empower all of your employees to share their story and say, “Hey, you know what? Even if it’s peer to peer, I did not want to do that because I knew that there was going to be maybe a learning curve or an increase in the amount of time it takes to do something, even though it is going to be a win”. And talking about those real examples of, hey, “I really thought that what they were asking me to do was just not something I wanted to get behind.” Because that’s a natural thing, right? And it makes sense. Also as humans, we like to focus on what we know. We want to be comfortable. We want it to be safe. It’s a very natural human condition. But we also know that amazing things happen on the other side of change. And so building in all of those people that can become advocates and champions for change will really just help propel that success and then you get to see the confetti flying from all over in the organization because you have so many different champions that are saying, look, let’s do this together. Look what we can do! What are the possibilities? Going back to that beginning word – look where we can grow now or how can we use this to build into our future successes? And you know, talking about the celebration. I think people can be so focused on again, work, work, work. We forget all of that hard work that we did. And forget to even celebrate or even find value in celebrating because we think there’s so much work to do we don’t even have time to celebrate.
Bonita: 33:59 Absolutely. Absolutely. We are always talking about social proof in any kind of marketing situation, right? Social proof. Who else has done this? How have they liked it? How did they come to you? We see it all over the place. You watch commercials and I just lost 150,000 pounds in two weeks. You know, so people want to see other people being successful in doing it. And when you celebrate and give people opportunities to celebrate them doing it and hear other stories of their peers who have had success in making this change. And it’s also a great opportunity to set up something on maybe if your company has an intranet, to set up a place where you can start capturing the stories,
Jenn: 34:46 Spotlight your successes.
Bonita: 34:47 Absolutely. And so having some sort of vehicle where stories or spotlight it. And, you start to spotlight, you spotlight the people that they would expect to be spotlighted- but you spotlight the little known people or the people that are really in the background that have success. So that you mix it up and then you keep people engaged because you have people, high-visibility people and then more background-people and everything along the way. You hear all of these different stories and it just, it gets people encouraged.
Jenn: 35:23 Absolutely. Well, and you’re showing the culture then, right? Which is that piece that any organization to be successful in any strategy, whether that’s a change management strategy or anything else, we need to recognize that everyone plays a valuable role in the organization’s success. There are a lot of people that you may not see that are contributing and their efforts matter just as much as someone at the top. And yes, they contribute in different ways, but everyone, it’s the power of everyone working together. And that’s where that magic is. And it’s amazing when you can recognize and show people, “Hey, I see what you’re doing. You may not always be up on the stage or you may not be doing this, but I still see you and I deeply value your contributions and I am so happy to have you working here.” So we all need to hear, we want that. You know, we like to end our podcasts by talking with our experts about their leadership habits. So we talked a lot today about the five words that people can use to help them find success and change management, which were the Why, How, Who, Roadblocks and Confetti. And I think you have shared so many great stories and just tips for how people can really approach change management and hopefully in a very open and exciting way. I know that you have deep expertise within leadership development, so now I have to pivot out of change management and ask you, Bonita, what is your Leadership Habit that you practice to create success?
What’s Your Leadership Habit?
Bonita: 37:02 Well, my leadership habit is twofold: Respect and Courage.
Jenn: 37:08 Tell me more. What does respect and courage mean?
Bonita: 37:11 Respect particularly comes through with you’re in a difficult situation. You often don’t have to remember about or really reflect on respect when things are going great and we’re working with people, we understand each other and we’ve got great communication and things are flowing. But when we start running into obstacles or conversations become difficult, I think it’s very important to remember respect. I mean you have to have a difficult conversation or we just talked about meeting things head on, dealing with issues and there will be issues along the way. Always. To have, first of all, have the courage to step up and deal with it. To actually have that conversation or take that action and then in the midst of that, remember whatever the situation is, however difficult there, you demonstrate respect for that individual all along the way, even if it’s the most difficult of conversations. Treat that person with respect and have the courage to actually deal with it. Too many times in management and leadership, I run into managers, however powerful they are or seem to be, and they seem to have a lot of aggression and bravado. It is surprising how many of them are so risk-averse that they will not have those tough conversations. And so those two things, respect, and courage, they will get you very far in leadership and get you very high in leadership. Because you will be dealing with what you need to deal with and you will be treating people with respect even if you’re delivering a tough message.
Jenn: 38:54 That’s great, Bonita, those words are really, really powerful. Respect and courage. I mean it’s what we all need and we can do great things too. When we let courage guide us and we step into that role, great things can happen. Bonita, I’m so happy that we got to talk to you today about change management and just thank you so much on behalf of Crestcom for taking the time to talk with us and share more insight into the change process. I really enjoyed our conversation today.
Bonita: 39:25 I did too. Thank you for having me and it is always, always a pleasure and I look forward to the next time. Thank you.
Jenn: 39:35 Thank you for listening to our interview with Bonita Patterson. If you liked what you heard, feel free to leave a review for us on any of your favorite podcasts, streaming services, and if you want to learn more about Crestcom, head on over to Crestcom leadership.com. Until next time.