Are You Leading or Being Led by Change?

Change is constant and around us all the time.

A leader’s job is to determine the best direction the winds can take you, stay on course and manage growth. Here are eight imperatives to guide yourself and others through change:

1. Be Mindful. 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. Know Your Purpose. Have a clear vision and purpose of your company, organization and/or team so that when confusion and distractions abound (and they will), you can come home to your purpose, your vision, your goals.

3. Be Decisive. The ability to make decisions is imperative to creating flow in any organization. The truth you need to accept as a leader is that sometimes people will make wrong decisions. How you handle this will either create a more productive or a slower organization. Better to help realign than malign people.

4. Engage. Our world is mostly an inclusive and participative place with fewer and fewer cultures relying on an authoritative structure. It means engaging others when defining a path for change. That takes effort up front but creates ease and speed downstream.

5. Loosen Up. Be aware of where you might want to over control — this is always a recipe for a mess. Know the key areas you need to focus on to achieve the vision.

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

7. Stay Street Smart. The further away you get from the street the less you are able to see opportunity. Do whatever it takes to stay close to everyday life. Go to the public market, street fairs, volunteer in the city, work on a farm, etc. Don’t read about life, go engage with it.

8. Be Transparent. People need to see YOU grow and change. To follow you and to navigate change they need to see the transparency in the organization and especially in the leadership team.

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.