In a workplace infused with top down, hierarchical, departmental silos, change management is the new requirement for leadership success. With a market comprised of fickle consumers and workplaces brimming with employee identity crises, leadership success requires more patience, poise, and time-to-think – and the ability to seamlessly connect the dots of opportunity. The marketplace requirements to compete are evolving so quickly that leadership is struggling to stay ahead of the course; unsuccessful efforts to be proactive and sustain organizational readiness will come at an extremely high cost. As such, the demand for leadership that is willing and capable of tackling change management head-on – already in short supply – is at a premium.
Change management is no longer a term that denotes only operational improvements, cost efficiencies and process reengineering. Change management has become a much bigger, more interwoven part of the overall business fabric – an embedded leadership requirement that plays into everything that we do, every day, and how we go about getting things done, regardless of hierarchy or rank. In the end, every leader must be a change agent.
For many leaders, their primary roles and responsibilities have rapidly evolved. For example, when was the last time you reviewed your job description? Isn’t it fair to say that it has or soon will become outdated – that your company is changing so fast it needs a refresh? How about your job title? Does it really describe what you are accountable for? In fact, the requirements to be a successful leader have forced many to reinvent themselves in order to reclaim their relevancy.
In other words, if I don’t reinvent myself quickly, I won’t be around much longer.
If you don’t know where you want your business to go, how you want your employees and customers to grow, and what your plan is to get there – your intentions don’t really matter. Unfortunately, many leaders don’t take the time to define their strategy for change, as this represents the basis for ultimate accountability and action. If leaders don’t feel comfortable with renewal and reinvention, they will begin to lose their impact and influence quickly.
Change is the new normal for leadership success and all leaders must accept this fact.
Leadership in the 21st century not only requires the ability to continuously manage crisis and change – but also the circular vision to see around, beneath and beyond the obvious in order to anticipate the unexpected before circumstances force your hand.
As you embark upon your change management journey, here are ten things that will challenge your capabilities as a change agent and potentially become defining moments along your leadership success path. (Part one of 4)
1. Multigenerational Influence
Leaders can no longer be comfortable just gravitating to the generation they belong to. Connecting the dots of talent, unique perspectives and experiences requires all leaders to change their attitude, approach and style to accommodate the needs and seize the opportunities that lie within a broader multigenerational reach.
Don’t get stuck within the confines of the generation that you are most familiar with. Get out of your comfort zone and learn how to multiply the opportunities for growth and innovation; invest time to understand the insights in the broader field of talent and customers that lie around and in front of you.
2. Cultural Intelligence
The opportunities embedded in the rapid demographic shift are endless, yet the lack of cultural intelligence is making it difficult for leaders to understand the new business models and best practice requirements that lie right within reach. Success in today’s global market requires a leader’s ability to see the talent and consumer landscape as two sides of the same coin; they are interdependent variables that must work in lockstep for your workforce and business to flourish.
The 21st century leader must be more culturally intelligent about others (as well as themselves). Culture is the new currency for growth and leaders must change their perspectives about diversity from being a cost center (focused on the representation of women and minority groups) to a profit center (innovative new products, services and solutions). The marketplace is teaching us all that talent acquisition and consumer engagement are about seeing through the lens of a mosaic that gives us greater strategic focus, not of a melting pot that gets lost in translation.
In a world of mature categories and consumers with near-immediate access to information and substitutes, growth requires hyper-market segmentation and the ability to have deep and rich conversations with target consumers. Cultural intelligence is a critical variable to create value propositions that deliver solutions on their terms.
> To be Continued!
Phil Mora is based in Silicon Valley and AVP Product at SikkaSoft, a health SaaS startup. I specialize in product magic, digital marketing, business development and entrepreneurship. A creative problem solver with a talent for strategic thinking and communication, I combine lessons learned from more than 15 years as a high-tech industry executive with my roots as a software technologist, product developer and digital marketeer. When I am not working on mobile health, I am obsessed with with sports, fitness, wellness, nutrition and anything holistic: you’ll find me at the gym or outdoors training hard. I look forward to connecting with you!
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