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The Leader At The Heart Of Change

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The Leader At The Heart Of Change

The world is shifting and transforming often faster than organizations, and their workforce can keep up. As a high-performing executive, your job is to navigate change with assurance from beginning through to completion. It’s an essential competency though much easier said than performed.

What do these leaders do differently?

Regulate The Emotional Gauge: Periods of change create emotional instability. You might even say it is a running hot, unpredictable point in time for everyone—possibly for you as well. Every stakeholder up and down the process chain may be dealing with their evolving identity. Some are celebrating their new role while a whole slew of others don’t believe this new way will improve their lot at all. In all likelihood, you’re lazer-focused on process improvement. However, if you’re not also massaging the feeling side of the operation, you’ll be losing momentum throughout the initiative.

The Power of Champions: Its hubris to think you can do it alone. True reinvention doesn’t emerge out of the mind of one instead from many. You collaborate with the entire team, but you stay on course through the support and aid of a few genuinely, trustworthy champions. Make sure those surrounding you are the right partners ready and able to achieve the goal with the least amount of trouble along the way.

Good Things Take Time: Leaders, as part of their role, naturally spend the bulk of their time working in the future while their staff handles the more pressing, getting the work done now activities. Part of the payoff for your employees historically is the adrenaline high and the rewards they receive at completion. Such experience equips them for short term immediately gratifying work which in no way establishes the needed muscle for the longer term, persevering activities they’re now required to generate to achieve the change initiative. A necessary element to your role is your talent for moving your people from a short-term centered comfort zone to a longer-term one.

Stand In The Breach: Leaders stand in the gap when messiness and breakdowns occur. They do this by taking the high-road while speaking with intentionality, integrity, inspiration, and articulate a clear vision that draws employees into the future no matter what they’re facing. You do this through exhibiting:

  • Optimism: No one ever follows someone who is touting doom and disaster; rather, they’re looking for someone who lives and breathes a bright future for their company and themselves. Employees follow fully engaged only when they can envision themselves as part of that the future.
  • Mentor, Coach, and Teacher: Pressure and stress get to everyone during stumbles. Your role is to assist your people through the breakdown to breakthrough. You can only do this if you understand your staff, what motivates them and encourage them to do better.
  • Overcomer: If you and your team are intending to reinvent a massive process change, you as the leader need the internal fortitude that inspires teams to press forward through the downsides and barriers facing your initiative. You can only do this if you’ve gone through the valley of change and come out the other side already.
  • Flexible: You understand no new change initiative ever reaches its final destination without adjusting and revising and modifying along the way. Throughout the process of change, you’re preparing staff to be adaptable at every level by never being satisfied with one solution or one way or one idea. You’re equipping them mentally to see possibility.
  • Embrace Failure: No one is looking to encourage failure; however, if failure becomes a fate worse than death during a change project, it is highly unlikely that anything innovative will emerge out of your endeavors.

I bet you were a bit surprised that you’ve reached the end and there is no reference to expertise or technology or systems. I intended to address the core issues—the soft underside of the belly—which is what prolongs or potentially destroys the successful outcome of the change initiative. The bottom line is the foundation of every successful endeavor is mentally tough and emotionally secure.

Related: Two Brilliant Reasons To Embrace “No” … Along With About a Zillion Others

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