Dale Carnegie wrote his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People way back in 1936, in his book, Mr. Carnegie encourages us to, among other things: Talk in terms of the other person's interests, respect others’ opinions, try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view, and try to make the other person happy about doing the things you suggest.  In other words, genuinely care about people and their feelings.

But Mr. Carnegie’s classic does not only encourage us to take these actions for the benefit of the people we are respecting and “making happy.”   The book doesn’t even make the argument that it is even morally right to care about people’s feelings (although I am sure Mr. Carnegie would agree that it is).  No, the book simply makes the clear case that caring about others’ feelings is good for the person (or company) who cares. 

Intense focus on feelings in a time of transformation is often described as the “human side of change management.”  This always gives me pause.  The “human side” of business—what other side is there?  Some might say the company side.

So then, the company and the humans are on different sides?  That’s the problem right there.  Companies are formed by people (humans) partnering to get their wants and needs met by helping other people (humans) get their wants and needs met.  Leaders who do not take the individual into account and do not plan for the human side of Progress often find themselves scratching their heads about where their plans went wrong. 

“Humanize globalization and globalize humanization.”  -- Father Anselm Gruen

It takes more than the title of supervisor, manager, or “change agent” to lead people in the direction of progress.  We all want to be in relationships with people, as well as partner with organizations that bring progress to our lives. 

Without personal commitment to execute, new organizational plans and initiatives often fail.  Execution is assured by establishing clear links between operations, strategy, and team members.  Progress leadership means working to understand and communicate how a team member’s personal goals can dovetail with the organization's goals and thus create true commitment that gets the team member to act – because he or she wants to, not because they have to.  Progress Leadership means striving to help others find meaning in their work.

“Meaning arises when people bring together what they do with what is important to them.” -- Viktor Frankl

Also, just because a company is getting bigger does not mean it is progressing.  A serious challenge for companies large and small is to progress, and not just change.  Moving our focus from change management to progress leadership creates a shift in power from wielding power over employees to creating power among employees.  Progress Agents thus create a work culture in which empowered employees are committed to finding what is truly the next step forward.  Goodbye, Change Management.  Hello, Progress Leadership!

Contributed By:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge