I flagged last year I had been working on a TED style talk or keynote on the topic of Strength of Surrender in Change. It started with a musing on the role of surrender in change, and has taken six months of percolating and mindmapping to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. In doing so, I dwelled on the spiritual aspects of change – namely “faith” and “trust”. They really do play a key part in helping move people through change curve from awareness and understanding to buy in and commitment.

It struck me, we really do ask a lot of people in the workplace.

  • Trust me, this will get better
  • Trust me, you’ll find this system easier
  • Trust me, this is a new direction that is necessary.

Without faith in the future, it is understandable that people may be aware of the change, and understand the change, yet be reluctant to move to the next stage of buy in. Faith can be defined as the complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

So who is that “some-one” or “something”? Is the some-one the change manager or the change leader? I would argue the change leader. It’s bad form when the change manager takes centre stage. But is the change leader really a leader, if there is no-one with enough faith to follow?

Which then had me pondering on what are the attributes of change leader that generate faith and trust. The ones that immediately come to mind:

  • A willingness to show vulnerability
  • A willingness to listen
  • An ability to create stories of a compelling future
  • An ability to acknowledge past mistakes and lessons learned
  • An ability to talk straight.
  • Courage and conviction.

So thinking about the workplace change you are experiencing now. Is there faith and trust in the future to generate buy-in? And is there a leader who shows these attributes? Would love to hear your thoughts on trust, faith and change leadership.

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