Leading Change Courageously

The latest developments in the technology and unbelievable innovations in all fields of life have totally changed the world in just two decades. Similarly, everything in the business world from the type of competitors and stakeholders to the definition o f the market and from the pace and intensity of the competitions to the purpose and structure of the organization is changing. There is nothing wrong in saying that complexity and the volume of problems in the business world and the very nature of the work are also changing.

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Affects of Change in Organizations:
The changing business environment has had both positive and negative impacts on the organizations. Some of these effects have been mentioned below.

  • Employees are overwhelmed by the complexity and the pace of change.
  • They cannot keep up with rapid changes and are discouraged by the experience.
  • Both business owners and employees are uncertain and fearful about the future.
  • They also start doubting their ability to make a contribution.
  • They get threatened and over anxious, negatively affecting their performance.
  • It also leads to low levels of trust among senior executives and employees.

Gallup’s 2013 Global Workforce Study of 142 countries indicates that only 13% of the global employees are engaged in the process of change, 63% are not engaged at all and 24% are actively disengaged. The reason why increasing number of employees are not concerned about the changing business environment is the poor leadership. It is important for business leaders to adopt a more proactive and executable approach to engage more employees to counter the effects of change on the organizations.

The Change is Accelerating:
It is also important to note that the “rate of change of change” is also increasing. This change is continuous and increasingly complex. Therefore, it is important for business owners to adopt “change leadership” as it will help them to achieve competitive advantage necessary to succeed in extremely competitive business environment. Unfortunately, few organizations are investing in developing change leaders and therefore, even a small surprise can lead to the failure of “change efforts.”

How can Leaders Cope with Change?
As a matter of fact, leaders can only cope with change by taking courageous actions. The courage in leading change means choosing to serve your organization and people even when it means putting yourself at risk.

Some Actions that Matter:
There are some “actions” leaders have to take to manage change successfully.

  • Define Means and Ends:
    Senior leadership must assume the common understanding of the change as differences in this regard can impede the effort to manage change. It is critical for senior leaders to have consensus on “the means and ends of change.”
  • Don’t Over Plan:
    The concept of managing change is literally different from the traditional project management approach that deals mostly with large projects. Leaders need to be more creative and think originally to manage speedy and complex change.
  • Refuse “False Urgency:”
    Change can definitely elicit fear in the minds of business owners and executives and it can also foster a false need for urgency. This causes organizations to react without putting in creative and original thinking, undermining their efforts to manage to change. Courageous leaders will resist false urgency and set the optimal pace of change.
  • Do Two Jobs:
    Mostly, leaders concentrate on current change efforts and do not learn anything from the process. On the contrary, courageous leaders do two jobs: lead the change effort today and build change capacity for tomorrow.
  • Occupy Central Position:
    Leaders can be “swept up” in organizational change and become reactive and as a result, teams can suffer. Courageous leaders remain proactive and position themselves between the welfare of their teams and the chaos of change.
  • Develop People Constantly:
    Change also offers individuals a unique and profound opportunity to learn new things and develop constantly. It is also a fact that people involved in successful change management report accelerated personal development, provided the great leadership is present to guide them.
  • Create Change Leaders:
    Great leadership is the most important factor in the successful change management yet very few companies have launched programs to create change leaders. Courageous organizations invest in creating change leaders by integrating change competence in formal leadership development.
  • Drive Continuous Learning:
    Many change efforts do not incorporate learning. On the contrary, courageous leaders ensure that learning occurs at individual, team and organizational levels.

Managing change successfully is all about courageous actions of leaders rather than lifeless words of consultants. Courageous leaders create and maintain a learning environment during change, use change to accelerate personal development and understand the essence of change to achieve success.

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