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We certainly are living in very changeable times as the events of the past couple of years have highlighted, so being an effective change leader to guide your business through these times is more important than ever.

In fact, even the changes forecast a few years ago now need updating.

The 2015 McKinsey article “The four global forces breaking all the trends” talked to four major forces leading to a change that they estimated to be 300 times the scale of the Industrial Revolution and 10 times faster – so 3000 times the impact, in effect. These were – “The age of urbanization,” “Accelerating technological change,” “An aging world,” and “Greater global communications.”

The pandemic of the past couple of years changed these to some extent with the rate of urbanization potentially diminishing again as people capitalise on the “work from anywhere” movement to resettle out of the major centres, and technological change accelerating to diminish the impact of The Great Resignation and enable more effective remote working.

And the events of the past two weeks, with Russia invading Ukraine, are changing these forces further – global communications are certain to take a backward step with the sanctions being imposed on Russia and the government restrictions on media in that country (something China has been doing for some years, too). In fact, some analysts are talking of a Russo-China axis developing to operate increasingly separately from much of the rest of the world.

As to the potential impact the huge number of refugees from Ukraine, a well-educated and a slightly younger population than much of Europe, will have on the EU, this remains to be seen.

So, had you adopted business strategies based on these four forces, they would certainly need changing now, and that’s in addition to the impacts of recent chip shortages, energy shortages, skills shortages, shipping challenges, inflation, and other issues I’ve written about recently in articles such as this. And, there will be even more changes as the situation in Europe continues to unfold with the resulting impacts on the world as a whole.

This is why strategy must be a central issue for discussion at every board meeting, and not just a dusty document in a drawer somewhere.

It’s also why effective leadership is so important – not just to understand the adjustments that might be needed to strategy, but to lead the business, with all stakeholders, through these changes, even when the proverbial path through those changes is rocky, unpredictable and difficult.

So, what are the 3 areas in which every effective change leader needs to excel?

Clear communication – this is probably the central skill required of every leader. Ambiguity causes confusion and leads to distrust. Always be clear – if you don’t have the answers to hand, be clear on that, too – and honest. Show you trust your team and give them the reasons for the actions needed, so they understand. By showing you trust your team, they will trust you, too. People that trust their leaders will work hard to achieve their joint goals, to be part of a success story.

Leading by example – how much do people trust those whose mantra is, “Do as I say, not as I do”? The answer is, not at all. Leaders who are clearly part of the team, working side by side with them and showing the way through their actions are leaders who others want to follow, leaders the team respects. And accountability is a key part of this – leaders who are accountable, just as they hold others accountable, are respected.

Giving people space to do their jobs – by having a culture of hiring the best people and then letting them get on with their jobs, you promote trust and enable them to adapt to the necessary changes effectively. Don’t try to micromanage people – it doesn’t work, causes resentment and significantly reduces productivity. Encourage them instead to do their jobs and come to you with their ideas for ways in which they can perform still better.

Leaders who excel in these three areas will ensure a motivated, productive and professional team, customers and suppliers who are loyal and a business able to ride the stormy seas of change better than others.

 

#BusinessFitness #Business #CEO #Change #Culture #Disruption #Leadership #Motivation #People #Planning #Resilience #Strategy #Trust #VUCA

 

Some of my other, related, posts you might find helpful:

P.S. If you’d like to discuss business strategy, book a free, no obligation 30-minute call with me here. I’d be delighted to speak with you and see if I can help.