8 Practices for Leading Change

woman writing goals on white board“In life, change is inevitable. In business, change is vital.”
― Warren G. Bennis

Change is around us all the time.   The role of the leader is to define where they want to maintain focus and growth.

These skills become absolutely imperative to guide yourself and others through change:

“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” –Kakuzo Okakaura

1. Awareness – maintain a close connection to the market and your customers.  Understand what is important to them, their vision, what they are investing in, and what keeps them up at night.

2. Purpose – have a clear vision and purpose of your company, organization and/or team so that when the confusion and distractions abound ( and they will), you can come home to your purpose, your vision, your goals.

3. Decisive – the ability to make decisions is imperative to creating flow in any organization.  The truth you need as a leader is that sometimes people will make wrong decisions.  How you handle this will either create a more productive or slow organization. It is better to help people realign than to malign them.

“People will try to tell you that all the great opportunities have been snapped up. In reality, the world changes every second, blowing new opportunities in all directions, including yours.” –Ken Hakuta

4. Engagement – the world is mostly an inclusive and participative place.  There are a few cultures which still use an authoritative role, and this is becoming less and less as we globalize. The ability to engage others to define a path to change takes effort up front but creates ease and speed downstream.

“Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you will never be able to truly change at all, because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.” –Andy Law ,Creative Company

5. Focus Not Control – know the key areas you need to focus on to achieve the vision. Be aware where you might want to over control — this is always a recipe for a mess.

6. Open Environment – create an environment of open discussion where new ideas can come forward to provide new pathways of growth or working together.  The wisdom in groups is rich and profound if you can create a place for it to be shared.

“All is connected … no one thing can change by itself.”
— Paul Hawken

7. Street Smarts – do whatever it take to stay close to everyday life. The further away you get from the street lessens your ability to see opportunity.  Go to the public market, street fairs, volunteer in the city, work on a farm, etc. Don’t just read about life, go engage with it.

“After living with their dysfunctional behavior for so many years (a sunk cost if ever there was one), people become invested in defending their dysfunctions rather than changing them.”— Marshall Goldsmith,Mojo

8. Transparency – in order for people to follow you and to navigate change they need to know there is transparency in the organization and especially in the leadership team.  People need to see YOU grow and change.  When people see your words and actions match you have made a good first step.

Practicing these core skills will allow you and your organization to move to a more proactive and productive place for change and growth.  In addition, you will be teaching others and ultimately growing more leaders of change.

Keep evolving,

Bobbie Goheen