The other day I bumped into a colleague whose responsibilities include something I often have to manage—encouraging people to change the way they work. She described her new team, including the familiar situation of having a number of people who were skeptical of any change, or who were otherwise reluctant to do so.
But she also said there were some who were interested in a new way of working, and some who were clearly enthused by what she wanted to achieve. “So I have to make sure I’m opening doors for those people,” she said.
I thought this was a good metaphor, and described well how to achieve success here. We can’t force people do what we want—if try, and even if we succeed for a short while, they will revert back as soon as possible to reclaim their free will. Even if we outline a grand vision of what we want to achieve the exact details of what success looks like depends on the experience and knowledge of those on the ground.
So a big part of success is identifying those people who want to make a positive difference and giving them the chance to be shape the solution. Opening doors for them allows the right opportunities to be discovered, and allows them to flourish further.