An organization’s greatest danger is failure to change in time. At some point, it’s simply too late to learn, adapt, and evolve.
A headhunter recently contacted me, looking for a new c-suite position for a company. They wanted a “forward-thinking business leader who could drive innovation and apply new digital practices to reimagine the future of the organization.” Like most successful organizations, this company recognized the need for an executive to lead in a new world of rapid change and uncertainty.
No matter what organization or team you are on, the world around us is changing. You can’t hold on tight enough to stem the tides of change. Developing the skills to change could be what transforms your organization or team from life support to thriving.An organization's greatest danger is failure to change in time. Click To Tweet
So how do you adapt personally and collectively in a time of rapid and often uncertain times?
1. Be crystal clear on your purpose.
We so easily forget the reason we exist. Whether a church, ministry, or business (even a family), our mission needs to be communicated continually. Our preferences are not the same as our purpose. How we serve people or customers will always be adapting based on new delivery systems and the new realities of people’s lives. But the why behind what we do should be anchored. Let your purpose drive you with laser-like focus and watch out for your personal preferences on living out that purpose.
2. Don’t be blinded by success.
The successes of the past may be our biggest danger. I have seen past success rob organizations and people of future progress. No matter how wonderful holding that newborn is, they will grow up and you will need to let them go. No matter how successful the results of the program, product, or service were, people change and at some point the results will begin to show the change. Don’t ignore the facts. People will vote with their time and their money. I remember consulting with a leader once whose once-successful line of products and services were declining rapidly and the leader basically said, “The customers are wrong to want something else.” They hung onto the past, ignored the changing market, and now have little to no impact in the business.
3. Build a learning organization.
Learning organizations must be lead by a learning leader. Learning cultures value collaborative learning where different voices speak into change. Digital leaders must sit at the table with other leaders. Marketing leaders must be at the front end of product and service development. Pilot testings (and failures) must be normal for your team. Every individual on every team must own their own development and take responsibility for learning new skills within their discipline and beyond. Passive learning (and passive leaders) will put you and your team further and further behind the market you serve.
4. Practice incremental change.
Incremental change is better than disruptive change. Change is happening but it is easier to navigate the tides of change when we accept the reality of change. Add new things to your own life and the life of your team. Engage with younger leaders to learn from them. Try new technology solutions. Test new product and service solutions. Broaden your own networks to listen and learn from others. Surround yourself with people who do the same (and avoid those that are resisting change!).
5. Know what doesn’t change.
In a world of uncertainty and constant change, it is critical to know what doesn’t change. Your purpose in life and as an organization should be anchored. For leaders of faith, we know that our God and the gospel are unchangeable. We know that because of our faith, we can face the future with confidence because our confidence is set on Christ the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Congratulations, you are the leader God has chosen to lead in this time of great change. Your family, your church, and your team need you to lead with courage and conviction, embracing change with confidence in the future with a steadfast focus on your purpose. Don’t hold onto the wrong things. Be willing to let them go, even your past successes, so you can live out your purpose.Developing the skills to change could be what transforms your organization or team from life support to thriving. Click To Tweet