achiever change management leadership leading change small business

Today, let’s tackle the second word, Pressure. It’s immediately paradoxical that these two words are used together: Gentle. Pressure. But any change effort will require some sort of pressure. 

 - “He couldn’t take the pressure of the new job.”

 - “She felt pressured to change her mind.”

 - “The Quarterback folded under the extreme pressure from the fans”

Where does this pressure come from? Plot twist: It’s not you! Pressure must come from the use of Metrics! 

The metrics form the pressure needed to create change. Once a number is attached to an effort, for example, there is immediate—and growing—pressure. Consider these examples:

  •  How many nights have you set an alarm in order to wake up in time to make an early morning flight? When I do, I often have trouble sleeping out of a fear of the alarm not going off, causing me to miss the flight. I toss and turn, thinking: Did I set the time to a.m. or p.m.? Is the volume setting loud enough to wake me up? Have I allowed enough time to get to the airport? Pressure. 
  •  What if you were a high school senior who dreamt of attending Harvard University? In addition to your high school extracurricular career and GPA score, you would need a good SAT score to gain admission. A quick bit of research reveals that you would need an SAT combined score of 1580 to give yourself the best chance to be considered. As you sit down to start the grueling test, you can see that number flashing in your head: 1580...1580...1580. Pressure. 
  •  Let’s say your team just implemented a new online system to allow customers more access to their own data, as well as to solutions and answers to common problems. To measure whether the new platform works, you set up metrics to measure customer satisfaction, numbers of complaints lodged to customer service, and overall staff time spent managing these problems. Over time, you watch these numbers to see if the change is working. Pressure.

Here’s the thing: if pressure isn’t created by the metrics you chose, then the pressure for results will have to come from you, the leader. You will be constantly circling back to remind your team of their responsibility. You will have to manufacture some sort of punishment/reward system to keep people moving forward. You will find yourself feeling all the pressure for results—and your team will feel none of it. Or worse yet, you will have no idea if your change is effective, and confidence and trust will plummet. 

Creating this pressure—through metrics—is the key to ultimately developing and enjoying a Culture of Accountability. The real challenge for leaders is determining which metrics to track. What measurements will bring about the right pressure, for the best change?  Contact us to set up your 30 minute FREE assessment!


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