Lead your organization through major change
These days, it seems that the words “business” and “change” go hand in hand. From dealing with regulatory changes and economic shifts to responding to new customer demands and emerging technologies, sudden and externally mandated changes affect organizations of all sizes.
When change is forced upon you, making the shift is often more stressful and more difficult than when you thoughtfully decide to take your organization in a new direction. After all, making a change that you plan for is exciting and filled with opportunity, while making a change due to outside forces putting pressure on you is filled with risk and unpredictability.
Unfortunately, most organizations resist these externally mandated changes and are slow to respond. They fear the risk involved, and as a result they miss many opportunities. Change under external circumstances is scary because you often don’t know if the changes you’re making are going to work. Additionally, the change may mean you have to alter your company’s values or culture, and those sorts of changes don’t come easy.
The fact is that embracing any type of externally motivated change requires both courage and planning. Following are some suggestions for making the change process easier and more successful.
1. Assess your company’s current talent potential.
When dealing with externally motivated change, a good leader needs the emotional maturity to maximize and leverage the strengths of the people within the organization. Depending on the size of the company or department, you may not have daily contact with those you lead. Therefore, take the time to go back and assess who you have working for you and what skill sets they have. Chances are some will have developed new skills and strengths since they were originally hired. Therefore, determine how the company can best use the people you already have to make the change successful. Most people overlook the talent that’s right under their nose and think they need to look outside for the skills to best move the company forward.
2. If you do need outside talent, hire people who know more than you do.
Many times, those charged with hiring people don’t want to hire anyone who is strong, assertive, or more knowledgeable than they are. They think these new hires will make them look bad—or even worse take their job. In reality, if you hire people who are strong and know more than you do, you’re going to fare better during the change process. Realize that when the organization does well, everyone looks good, not just one person. However, if the organization fails, people typically look for one person to blame—usually the leader. The only way your company can sustain its momentum during and after the change is to have strong people on board.
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