Chances are you’ve driven by a construction site and seen a cement truck pouring a new foundation. It’s fascinating to watch. The cement begins as a malleable substance before hardening into something that can last a lifetime.
In leadership, I like to use this metaphor to refer to the phase in transition where your new plans—the changes and initiatives you’re just starting—begin to solidify. Just like cement takes hours to fully harden, your plans as a leader take time to become concrete. When you first begin to implement change, things need to be pliable. Imagine trying to pour a cement foundation with rock-hard cement! It doesn’t work. You need a softer start in order to mold it to what you need.
Right now, as a leader, you’re building frameworks for your vision; you’re pouring things in; you’re moving things around. You may not know what’s going to work yet—or, at least, how it’s going to work. That’s okay—that’s why you leave things pliable for a while.
Now, I have a confession to make. I love to plan. I’m a strategist by wiring. I want to administrate, organize, and come up with a process—for everything. What I’ve found, though, is that this skill set is sometimes my downfall when implementing change. I have to put this drive into neutral until the very last stages of transition. Why? Because, if I’m not careful, I can get in there and harden the cement way before it’s time to do so.
Take it from someone who’s done it before: Don’t harden your cement before it’s time. Take the time to make sure your changes work for your organization, and that you’re not overlooking any details in the process.
If you allow the process to run its course, you’ll end up with a beautiful, smooth, solid foundation that propels your vision forward. If you rush it, you may just end up with some bumps, cracks, and weaknesses. The choice is yours.