Change. It is the single biggest challenge for every leader at every level. Change creates disruption, conflict, confrontation, and fear. Change requires effort, exertion, and adjustment. It strikes fear into people and often causes people to dig in their heels and resist or outright defy it. Yet without change, every organization is doomed to irrelevance and eventual failure.
It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. - Isaac Asimov
As leaders it is our responsibility to not only drive change but to embody that change. We have to be the advocate for innovation and differentiation in order to enable our business to compete in today's world. This requires not only an understanding of the what of change but also the how.
Knowing what to do is one of the greatest challenges of leadership.
Every business has its own unique issues; however, with the globalization of business, the proliferation of technology, and the abundance and access to information, leadership must be constantly evaluating its strategy in order to remain competitive. There really is no place to hide.
Overcoming resistance. I have always found that overcoming resistance to change is the greatest impediment to leadership. It is natural for all of us to feel comfortable in the status quo. We all enjoy operating in our "comfort zone" and often try to avoid or even refuse to change.
As a leader, we must find ways to empower people to change while encouraging and motivating them to change.
How we drive change therefore, is just as important as the change that we are driving.
Here are some things that I have tried to do to become more effective in change leadership, I hope you find them of value to you.
These are the how's of change leadership:
- Over communicate. Be sure that the team clearly understands your goals and objectives
- Invite debate. Give the team a chance to react and offer input.
- Be flexible. Listen carefully and be genuinely open to different ideas and approaches.
- Empower the team. Make initiatives "team initiatives".
- Define success. What is the ultimate goal? How will you measure progress?
- Track progress. Regularly review progress at the team and individual levels
- Where appropriate, offer incentives.
- Evangelize the goal and evangelize the progress.
- Be patient and keep the team focused.
- Be the number one believer every day in your words and actions.
About this series: Our CEO and President shares his experiences and insights as a thought leader for 39+ years in the technology industry.
Other posts in this series:
CEO Insights: My 4 Pillars of Leadership
CEO Insights: Presenting Reality - The 1st Pillar of Leadership