The case for changing is ever-present, there never is a conclusion. Consumer and business trends are dynamic, and markets will continue to shift to meet their demand. A snapshot of your business today will be different in a year and unrecognizable in five.
Charles Darwin captured the essence of change management in his work “Origin of Species” a hundred years before change management was codified.
“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
Leaders that strive to do the best for their team have to focus on developing a dynamic skill set within their ranks. Refining their ability to handle change expertly and proactively will enable your organization to dictate the market and not the other way around.
Numerous consultants and scholars proclaim their ability and the importance of predicting market trends. Being able to position your company to take advantage of market changes presents a significant competitive edge. While you will be dictating the market shift, your competition will be trying to figure out what happened. Sustained success will come from being able to move two steps ahead of your competition.
Change initiatives are not measured by how great and innovative they are planned. Success is not derived by project completion either. True change is determined by how the stakeholders are moved. They determine if the change works or not, for great ideas die without adoption.
Stakeholders will never adopt your initiatives unless they believe that you are being upfront with them. You are asking for their trust in the change and they will not trust you unless you are transparent with them. This calls on you as a manager to release power and cede control to your team. If you provide them with perspective, they will either come to the same conclusion or they will come back with a better conclusion. Don’t worry about being challenged or attempt to be the smartest in the room, hire smart people, and then leverage their whole brain for the good of the organization.
Bringing your team into the business and change process will drive engagement. You can then use this engagement as a force multiplier. If done right, you can enable your team to drive the change pounding their chest on its importance, while you get to champion the process.
My philosophy which I’ve explained in this book to put people in a position to make good decisions for the organization. This requires them to have the tools to make the right decisions and nudges to put them in the right direction. To effectively implement an approach like this, you must maintain their autonomy and respect the decisions that they make. If they make poor decisions, you as a leader have failed to be transparent enough with them to give them enough perspective.
As a manager, this is not an easy approach to practice. You first must accept that you are not omnipotent and do not have all of the answers. You must realize that your team has a unique perspective and that the real competitive advantage for you as a manager is to utilize your full resources. While this may be a blow to your ego that you are not the end all be all, you will certainly outperform your co-workers for you will be leveraging the brainpower of your entire team instead of just yourself.
Nudge change management is not a complex methodology. It is simply a tool to give those impacted a seat at the table. Helping the team change as a force. By empowering the team to change with the organization instead of being changed by the organization, your rate of change will be quicker and more effective.
I write this during the COVID-19 pandemic. The world is in quarantine and in the United States alone we’ve watched over forty million people claim unemployment benefits. In these few months, the world has changed and will forever be different.
Economic recessions have an evolutionary means of clearing out weak companies. Many name brand name companies have been running shell games to look good to customers and investors while they’ve have been on the brink of bankruptcy. Some have cut corners, some have failed to focus on being hypercompetitive, and some are unable to pivot to a new life. Lumped in with these major corporations are the thousands of small companies. These companies never positioned themselves for continuous evolution to weather the storm or their market conditions just overtook them like a tidal wave.
As impactful as the recession of 2020 is, it will also not be the last economic threat. Global issues will continue to occur, they will cause systemic economic havoc crippling businesses again. It is easy for a company to put off tomorrow’s initiatives to live in the present. To sell your soul each quarter to hit your targets. However, you want to survive and you want to do the best by the people who have trusted you with their livelihood. Emphasize the skill of change. Once you master the skill of change you can take the greatest competitive advantage. You can change from a position of strength.
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