Navigating Turbulent Times- Lessons from a Leader
As Peter Drucker states, the only thing we know about the future is that it will be different. Organizations and leaders are constantly challenged by the unknown, the unexpected and the unforeseen. As a business leader, there are key steps that I follow in an effort to minimize resistance to change and maintain high levels of performance.
Providing a foundation and explaining the reasons for the change is a primary responsibility. What we communicate about change is equally important as how we communicate change. As a leader, I communicate a clear vision of what the future looks like with both authenticity and empathy before we begin to move through the change. I am prepared to address the “how will it affect me question through the eyes of each employee.” I openly offer a willingness to work side by side with my staff through the changes and provide as much information as possible so that employees feel they are kept up to date. This also heads off any rumors and can limit resistance.
Secondly, it’s important to identify those in the organization who would serve as ambassadors of change. By looking among those individuals who are most affected and selecting people are enthusiastic supporters of the change, we can build an alliance of the team. The change champions often build support for organizational decisions.
Thirdly, it’s critical that change and collaboration go hand in hand. As a leader, I focus on the work and give my employees a sense of both choice and power. This allows them to have an increased understanding of the changing organization and it builds commitment.
Statistics suggest that 1/3 of people okay with change, 1/3 of people have a reaction they can move through on their own, and 1/3 of people have difficulty and get stuck in a non-productive reaction. It’s important to support all individuals and their own reactions to change. By finding common ground, and providing opportunities for employees to ask questions or vent, I assist them in moving through changes. We are more likely to experience a successful outcome when each person on the team understands their role in navigating in a changing and turbulent environment.
Overall, the real lesson in navigating in turbulent times is being sure that you have built that culture that embraces change. At Exude, it’s a core value of ours to welcome disruption. We view change as inevitable. We are always prepared with Plans A, B, and C in our back pockets and we can’t wait to use them!