One of the jobs of the leader is to think long-term to develop strategies to affect change in the future. The leader may discuss plans with a senior circle and have many, many meetings about the idea long before it is able to become public. Because the leader spends so much time thinking about the new, she becomes accustomed to the idea and it no longer feels new to her, and therein lies the potential trap.

Unless a conscious effort is made otherwise, leaders often forget that there is a lag between when they first started thinking about an idea and when their staff or wider audience learns of the plan. The change-makers at Alia Innovations have depicted this gap in the Leaders Lag chart, illustrating that the leader is always ahead of the staff in thinking about change.

The leader has the advantage of having an extended interval of time during which they have become comfortable with the new and, to be successful, the leader must allow that adjustment period for others. The next time you are trying to impact a change, take the time gap into account. You need to synchronize in order to swim.

Thanks, Amy!

Thanks, Colleen for use of the picture!

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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