How to Make a Transformational Goal Believable

 In How-to's

“We will completely transform the way we {insert sweeping phrase that describes a huge part of your business},” proclaims one of your leaders, “It is our most important goal. We need each and every one of you to step up and make this transformation a reality.”

The success of this sort of statement is predicated on a huge assumption: that the people who need to do the work believe that the stated transformation is possible.

There are numerous reasons for such skepticism, such as… “We’ve heard this before… it’s the fad of the year” or “Management doesn’t know how things actually get done around here…what they’re asking for is impossible” or “They don’t realize the avalanche of unintended consequences this transformation will trigger.”

To overcome such doubt, you’ll need to face it head-on.

You might go one at a time to pivotal members of your team and say, “For you to believe fully in this goal, what would have to be true?”

Assemble a list of the answers you get. You might hear things like: I would have to believe that…

●    The CEO will keep this as his top priority for the next two years.

●    Our customers will accept this much change.

●    We can purchase technology that will meet our security and regulatory constraints, and that can be implemented in a reasonable time frame.

●    I can do something I’ve never done before.

Then you will need to tackle every significant doubt, showing your team members that their skepticism is unwarranted and/or overblown. Even more important, you’ll need to create a series of milestones that include these “must have” elements and knock them down one by one.

If this sounds like a long and complicated process, then you correctly understand how to make a transformational goal believable.

Many thanks to Marshall Goldsmith and his 100 Coaches organization for bringing us together with Alan Mulally. If you haven’t already, I urge you to read more about his “Working Together” management system.

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Amanda Setili helps successful leaders and their teams agree on what needs to change and how to make it happen. She is author of Fearless Growth: The New Rules to Stay Competitive, Foster Innovation, and Dominate Your Markets, and The Agility Advantage, How to Identify and Act On Opportunities in a Fast-Changing World. 

For more strategies, videos and free materials, please visit, and check out these quick examples of the type of work we do. Or listen to the Fearless Growth Podcast.

 Contact Amanda to discuss how she works with companies to improve profits, performance and growth.

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