achiever change management leading change small business

I trust you are following along in our continued exploration of the phrase/mantra/process, “Gentle Pressure Relentlessly Applied”. So far, we have explored the first three words, Gentle, Pressure and Relentlessly. Today we turn our attention to the fourth and final word in the process: APPLIED.

Now it makes sense, right? When you put all these words together—gentle, pressure, relentlessly—you really don’t have anything cohesive until you add the word, applied. 

Applied is defined as: “put to practical use or brought into action.” Applied is actually the opposite of abstract or theoretical. Once something is applied, it’s real. It’s being used. 

If you’re a leader who is in the business of change, you want real, not theoretical, results. And you want real, not theoretical, change. 

Organizations often fall short on the execution of their change intentions. I’ve seen leaders talk about a change for years, but never implement it. Eventually, employees stop believing it will happen—and they stop believing their leaders at all.

As a leader, you will have to move from the theoretical to the practical. You will have to act and apply the pressure. Yes, applied is referring to pressure. 

This is where those without the force of will are going to have a tough time. Applying pressure is not for those who are casual about change. If your results are optional, there’s no need to insist on action. But if you are still reading this, I’m assuming your results are not optional; pressure is necessary. In fact, only those change initiatives that include an element of pressure will get results. 

What does applied pressure look like?

  •  It’s the parent who insists on enforcing the bedtime rules in the presence of intense crying and debate.
  •  It’s the supervisor who disciplines the employee after two tardies. 
  •  It’s the pet owner who establishes a systematic formula for meals, playtime, and sleep.
  •  It’s the person who changes their habits due to a determination to lose weight, eat healthy, and exercise regularly.
  •  It’s the high school graduate who takes night classes at a community college so she can work to pay for her own education. 
  •  It’s the coach who insists the team runs just five more laps after an exhausting practice.

You might think some of these look like consequences. You might state that all of these require discipline. You might not know where to begin, especially if your work (or home or athletic team or fill-in-the-blank) culture has languished in allowing people not to perform.

Many leaders won’t do these things because they require the application (and reinforcement) of a plan. If others are involved (the employee, pet, children, team members), it’s unpopular to require them to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. This resistance applies to internal changes too, within ourselves. Sure, the idea of losing weight sounds good in theory, but achieving it is difficult. 

Applying pressure (expectations, guidelines, standards, extra work, schedules) won’t be met with unanimous acceptance. So how will that play out? There you will stand—the one person insisting on behavior change—while your children, employees, or team are displaying all the actions of outrage, oppression, and revolt. 

Once you have decided on a change, in order to lead others through it so that you won’t end up on the finish line alone (or sleeping in the bushes from fatigue), you’ll have to be determined. You will have to be certain. I say you have to be bulletproof. 

What are the elements of bulletproof? I guess you’ll have to order my book to find out more. 


Great Mann Group content, right to your inbox.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.