Of late, I have noticed, when I talk to industry leaders, the one word that frequently comes up during our dialogue is “change.”
I keep hearing phrases such as: “We need to embrace change.” “The industry is changing at an incredible rate and to change is to grow.” “The relationship between manufacturers and distributors is changing.” “My staff is resisting change!” “What changes will the future bring?”
No doubt these comments sound quite familiar to you. When I reflected on the whole concept of change, the notion of the importance of hope came to mind. Given recent world events, I am hopeful that things will get better for my grandchildren and children in general. Hope, in fact, plays an important role in our lives. As a result of hope, positive change takes place. Hope gives us the motivation to tackle challenges with determination.
Leaders that drive change remove obstacles, cumbersome procedures and policies and instill hope. Hope is a verb. It entails taking positive thoughts into the future and mustering the resources needed to succeed. Hope involves work. We accomplish very little without hope. When we think about a positive future, we work harder. It becomes personal, and we are truly engaged. Creating a vision and purpose about the future is the hallmark of a hopeful leader.
When employees are hopeful, they develop challenging goals and believe they can achieve them. Hopeful people have grit. Despite roadblocks, they succeed. Hope has the power to make hard times seem temporary. Hopeful leaders are pathfinders; they cut a path toward success and rally us in the pursuit of objectives we cannot achieve alone. Change without hope is a wish. Hope makes us resilient even when we experience setbacks.
Hope flames the fire of determination and unleashes our passion and perseverance to focus on goal achievement. During times of change, a leader must function as an emotional shock absorber, and guide employees over the potholes to work shoulder-to-shoulder with them, listen to issues and concerns and lead the charge toward the change. During times of change, leaders give of themselves and show courage.
Hope enables us to believe that the future we envision is attainable. Hope is a magnet. It levels the ship during the storm. Hope brings together disparate experiences and empowers people to be creative. Hope is a critical enabler of change. Employees learn to trust each other through a shared experience. Hope gives employees and the organization the power and energy to lead and support a collaborative effort. Hope gives us all a reason to celebrate successes and accomplishments and to share the good news. Hope engenders hope and deeds, not words.
The door for positive change is open. Indeed, the possibilities are limitless. The challenge of leadership is to ensure that they have a positive impact on the people they lead. The real magic occurs when organizations blend business objectives with the aspirations, needs and hopes of their employees.
As an industry, as we take action to build a better aftermarket, let us remember that change and hope are very personal. Our mission is to leave our industry better than we found it, because of our involvement.
The question is: How will we be judged?
As we contemplate change and hope, let us consider how we can make the change more meaningful – by adding a very large dose of hope and faith.