If you're going to be a troublemaker, be good at itPath 2

If you're going to be a troublemaker, be good at it

by Chandra K. Bricker

Positive disruption is critical to the growth and evolution of a business, especially one undergoing a digital transformation. But how do you disrupt gracefully?

Recently, we explored the incredible effects troublemakers can have in an organization and shared how to embrace those rebels in your office. But it begs the question: what does effective "relentless dissatisfaction" look like? 

For those who are curious about how to drive change without damaging relationships or reputations, these are our top five tips for effectively becoming an agent of change.

#1: Be Curious

Change and evolution happen when you ask questions and seek to understand the answers. It's not enough to look at a set of problems and assume you know the right path forward. Be curious and listen to those who've spent time with the issue. Understand what the downstream effects are if you make a change. Listen to the counter-arguments and learn the logic behind why things are or were done a certain way. Look for the why not as well as the why. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but a lack of curiosity will kill your company's progress. Changes without foresight can breed mistakes and misdirection—transformational change only comes when you listen and understand what outcomes your changes will drive.

#2: Be Passionate about the Company

Good change agents focus on solving problems—not creating them. Yes, it's true, you have to break eggs to make an omelet, but change can only happen if you have the right intentions. Breaking rules is part of the process, but don't break relationships. As Mike Georgoff, Chief Product Officer, shares, "You can't do anything valuable alone." Change requires that you bring others along with you and that means you have to have strong relationships with people who are working with you in service to the company’s goals.

#3: Be Open

If you are curious and passionate, people will want to help you bring about change, but only if you are open about your intentions, open to feedback, open to trying and testing new things, open to listening to opposing opinions, and open about what you're trying to do. Being secretive or exclusive, or shutting people out alienates them and creates an environment of mistrust, which will not only slow you down but create a culture that collapses itself when the weight of change pulls in too many different directions.

#4: Be Honest

Seek truth—and provide truth. Rulebreakers and troublemakers frequently speak the unpopular truths that everyone knows, but no one dares say out loud. By being honest (and open on how to move forward), you can deal with the root problems preventing progress, rather than solving for the "polite" problems that won't help move you forward. Trust is essential to change—dealing with people and problems honestly is the only effective way to transform. 

#5: Be Brave

In many corporations, going along to get along is the politically savvy thing to do. At H-E-B, we know courageous action is absolutely necessary for our future growth. You can be curious, passionate, open, and honest, but without pluck, you won't challenge the status quo. It takes some gut—or grit—to stand up and question the proven practices of a century-old company. 

Thankfully, H-E-B has a history of pursuing relentless dissatisfaction and embraces troublemakers—like me.

Chandra K. Bricker is Senior Manager of Strategic Communications at H-E-B Digital. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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