Appropriate Momentum, Inappropriate Drag

Respond to circumstances appropriately and you create momentum for your initiative. Respond inappropriately and you burden yourself with the weight of indiscretion.

For example, as I write, Washington, DC is being hit with its second record snowfall in a one-week period. Roads are challenging at best and dangerous in most circumstances. Everybody except one whose presence is mandatory is staying at home, unable to make the trip in.

An appropriate response is to recognize that people have their hands full dealing with children at home from school, possible power outages, taking care of basics (groceries, spouses at home, small tasks becoming difficult due to dangerous outdoor conditions, etc). Any change leader who takes the time to reach out, acknowledge the circumstances, and light a way forward that ensures their peoples’ basic needs are being met will win goodwill, support, and in many instances efforts beyond the call of duty to complete projects on time.

Further, if there are mandatory deadlines, reminding people of the timeline and inquiring what support they require to make the mark given the challenges of the situation are in order.

However, simply sending out a brusque set of program requirements that sidestep any circumstantial challenges will do the opposite for most of your people, incurring disapproval and slowing down the results they generate.

The same approach holds true for all mitigating conditions: family emergencies, death in the family, challenges generated by nature or dramatic shifts in circumstance such as reorganizations or losing key people.

Further, responding appropriately to dramatic improvements in circumstance can greatly accelerate and increase results. This includes happy occasions like exceeding projected goals, new babies, marriages among close family and friends, promotions, even local successes such as the Saints winning the Superbowl when you are doing business in New Orleans.

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