At the end of the day. Leadership is change management. And change management is leadership. No more! No less!
And it’s not about best practices. It’s about worst practices. Pre-conditioned beliefs. To be reflected upon. To be shared. To be on the look-out for.
Because as painful as it may feel, we can learn from our beliefs. In particular, those beliefs that abide in us. Unnoticed. Beliefs that step to the front. As independent warriors. In our thinking. In our language. In our behaviour. To address change.
I once had a client whose position placed them at the helm of an evolving organization. Change was routine. They had consciously opted for “this adrenalin kick.“ Change with all its challenges. Change with all its opportunities. Change the essence of innovation. The key to success.
With surfing in their veins – a talented snowboarder; an awesome windsurfer – riding the waves of change appeared a natural talent. And this passion for riding on the crest of change was shared by those in their immediate environment: their direct reports.
However, the language that change triggered in my client was not appreciated whatsoever. The core team was taking incessant blows. Verbally, that is. From the surfer. Impatient to keep not just abreast of change. But ahead of change!
And when impatience, frustration and sleepless nights also became routine for the captain at the helm, I was called in to support their need to address the root cause. The crew. Or so it was where they perceived the issue lay.
Very quickly we uncovered the culprits. My client’s strengths. “Command“ and “activator“ were in full swing. Triggering havoc. Demanding; not requesting. Reacting; not responding. To the changing realities which abounded. Hesitation was simply not tolerated. In themself. Or in others.
I asked my client, what their hurry was. They said “the clock is ticking.“ I asked if the clock had shared its vision? With them? With the team? Silence. “The clock?“ “Yes, the clock“, I repeated.
And as the penny dropped. Slowly but surely. My client arrived in a totally different space. Where they were 100% in the driving seat. Their team 100% the co-pilots. Without the tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock of the clock ticking in their ears.
A creative space where the strengths at their fingertips could now address “important“ issues as opposed to “urgent“ issues. Constructively. Persistently. Successfully.
Today my client is truly in their element. Driving change processes with ease. In the company of valuable teams. Together. Surfing passionately the pulse of change.
And the secret? My client no longer lives a long-conditioned belief: “Don’t just stand there ! Do something !“ Their literal turnaround is: “Don’t just do something! Stand there!!!“
While the clocks still tick. They no longer dictate. Time is my client’s. Change is orchestrated. Leadership has found its true spirit.
It’s essential to remember: command is a symptom not a solution. And beliefs are not always blessings in disguise.
So with change being the air that leadership breathes, how are your strengths behaving? What are your beliefs triggering?
photograph: © gustavofrazao / Fotolia.