How many times have you found yourself wandering around the aisles looking for that ‘right’ bottle of wine for a special occasion, house party or special dinner with friends? Stymied by the multitude of choices and the ‘unknown’ of so much of what you’re seeing, the tendency is to go with the ‘tried and true’ – either in terms of type (always going with those merlots), staying true to a specific label or relying on the most recent recommendation from friends quite eager to share their latest ‘find’.
This bias to ‘stay the course’ in the face of a multitude of choices and unclear outcomes is well documented – and certainly plays out in leadership teams as they wrestle to implement strategies to meet emerging issues. The tendency is often to select courses of action that have proven successful in the past, relying on the same players to deliver on results, using the same methods as previously or deferring automatically to those most influential or vocal on the issue.
How best to build appetite to try a new approach when momentum is with the ‘tried and true’? As with your adventure in selecting the ‘right’ wine for the occasion – there are several specific actions you can take to build confidence in decision-making and increase your team’s likelihood of success with a different approach.
- Try It Yourself — look for opportunities for you and your team members to try the proposed approach in settings where the downside risks are minimized while you experience some of the upside potential. That way, you can make adjustments prior to launching your final choice into the ‘real’ world.
- Draw On Others’ Experience — connect with colleagues, in other settings, who might have applied your proposed approach and found success. This requires openly sharing details of your current situation and as well as the options that you’re considering.
- Ask The Experts — reach out to folks who are truly qualified to offer advice on how a given approach might actually play out. These are likely recognized as ‘go-to’ people through their presence in the marketplace through press coverage, written articles or industry gatherings.
- Pilot Test -– rather than go ‘all in’, there may be an opportunity to implement the new approach, on a smaller scale, while keeping your ‘tried and true’ in reserve – just in case. This way, you’ve got a fall-back position should things not quite work out the way you anticipated.
- Involve The Impacted Audience — reach out to others who may be impacted by your decision and get them involved in providing feedback and suggestions. You may be pleasantly surprised by both the range of suggestions and the appetite people have for trying something different.
As with your adventure in selecting a different wine for that special occasion, there are a variety of actions available to you and your team to build confidence and strengthen uptake for a new way forward.