Change is a delicate thing, and it soars on the wings of energy that is built with trust.
Years ago, I witnessed a leader who was asked to introduce a new initiative. He kicked off with an enthusiastic leadership call, engaging his audience with benefits while establishing absolute clarity around next steps. Everyone on the call agreed that their first step would be to provide a similar kick-off with their team by the end of the week.
The great energy waned almost immediately as checking-up began the very next day with this email message:
I know it was mentioned yesterday that each of you should roll this information out to your teams by the end of the week. If you could each get me the exact day and time of that roll-out, as well as the room number, I would appreciate it.
The next day, another email appeared:
I have not received the exact day, time, and location of everybody’s roll-out. I need that by today. I would also like for you to call me and share any changes to the presentation script.
Almost instantaneously leaders began to pull their energy back from the change initiative, and energy is critical during kick-offs.
Here are 3 ways that checking up can cause people to check out in the early stages of change:
Are there times when checking-up is necessary? Absolutely. But not right at the beginning of change. Energy is more important than perfect execution.