I think we all will agree that these are times of great change in today’s market place. Unemployment, rising cost, stock market swings and growing national debt are demanding our attention because they are impacting every business.
If you are in a leadership role, learning to handle theses external and internal threats will always determine the level of your success. If you going to stay above water then you must learn to ride these big waves of change. They are certain to come very often in this unstable economy. Protecting your core values and mission will require greater determination and focus.
Here are some things to consider if you find yourself leading in waves of change:
1. You must have a clear sense of your calling or purpose – Why are you doing what you are doing?
2. You must have adaptability – Leaders need to develop a vision for uncertainty. A well-planned professional is not only prepared for changes but must have a Plan B to use if direction does change. They say the best defense is a good offense.
2. You must be prepared to lead change – Changing technology is a game changer in many markets like music, printing and many others – we know that change will keep coming, faster and more often with each new innovation, so leaders are going to have to learn to ride those currents. The skills needed will also change too.
3. You must find a shared voice – The leader can’t do it alone. Leaders will need to hire teams that are strong, diverse and can support expertise in new skill areas. Those strengths will need to have a voice at the decision table.
4. You must have listening skills — the art of listening is more important than every before. Leaders must engage in listening to the voice of the customer, staff and other leaders. Networking has never be more important. Bench marking outside your organization is even more important now to measure your quality. Can you learn to see the problem from another viewpoint or perspective? Great decisions are always made with good information on the pros and cons of the issue. Swift action may be required to remain competitive.
5. Leaders must pick and choose when to draw attention to challenges. People don’t like to address challenges because they can expose their weaknesses or uncomfortable change. A great leader must decide when and how they are addressed. That means distinguishing between important and unimportant issues. A important challenges are the ones in which there is a general urgency for action. An unimportant issue is one that can be a problem but the risk is lower so waiting does not create additional risk.
6. Leaders must be data driven on issues and doesn’t get easily influenced by the emotions of those around them who only have opinions but have not measured the impact of their suggestions. Your data numbers will always tell you something.
7. Ongoing learning – education can’t never stop since new information and training is needed to remain current with latest technology and trends. Leaders will need to devote time to personal development and continuous improvement. In some cases, I have elected to abandon new technology after learning it and seeing no real benefits. New is not always better. Try to stay on top of new technologies—even if there’s no apparent application (Have you tried TeamBox for projects or Twitter yet?). If not – why not?
8. You must develop the trust of your team – it is hard to build and easy to lose. Learn to use all the tools to build this trust. It starts with integrity. You are only as good as the people around you.
9. You must have empathy – human connection requires a good understanding of your followers. This understanding is critical to training and developing new leaders.
10. and finally – You should always explain “Why” – your values and motive are always important to communicate to others. When they know why – it helps them to see your motive and that can improve their knowledge and trust for your leadership.
What waves of changes are you riding that are helping your organization? Which changes did you decide not to follow?
Running to Win…GTR