- October 22, 2019
- Posted by: Phillip Van Hooser
- Category: Managing Change, Preventive Leadership
There’s a sobering truth about change that all leaders need to know. It’s one the really great leaders will act on. When other leaders are prone to vacillate, it could be your compelling reason to act. Read on.
One Compelling Reason to Act
My personal experiences as a leadership speaker, trainer and business owner have exposed me to hundreds of different businesses and a great number of leadership philosophies. And believe me, they’re not all positive.
Today, let’s think about why some leaders are compelled to make decisions that move their businesses forward while others make decisions that hold them back.
Consider two small businesses. They are in the same industry, competing in the same geographic space. Both have a solid history of success and sustained profitability. And both know change is headed their way.
Taking a Preemptive Approach
Here’s what they know:
Competition is changing — with new, advanced technological capabilities.
Customers are changing — with new product and service choices and expectations.
Regulations are changing — with new compliance and reporting obligations.
These and other anticipated changes are a very real threat to the future, long term success of these two organizations.
In a positive, preemptive move, key leaders from both institutions begin to meet informally. Rather than sit on their hands, they put their heads together to imagine the future of their industry. They anticipate specific challenges their respective organizations might encounter and they imagine how to proactively respond.
And in this process of imagining and exploring, something interesting happens. Their conversations lead them to an undeniable, consensus opinion that both organizations would be stronger and better equipped to face an uncertain future if they merged and became one.
Their combined knowledge, experience, resources and commitment to success would be infinitely more powerful in concert — rather than in competition.
Versus No Compelling Reason to Act….Now
Now, imagine this.
After months of focused discussion and careful deliberation, it’s now time to move from conjecture to action. But one of the leaders just can’t do it.
The leader says, “I agree this merger of equals makes sense and would make both organizations stronger. But honestly, I see no compelling reason for us to act right now.”
And with that, the process essentially ends. No further conversations will be necessary. The opportunity to strengthen their competitive positions and proactively prepare for change has been forfeited.
By way of the “no compelling reason” comment, this leader essentially says,
“This was a fun exercise, but I never really intended to do anything with it. I don’t plan to take action until our backs are against the wall. Until we’re certain we’ve lost customers, market share and profitability. Only then will I have a compelling reason to act.”
A Sobering Truth About Change
Here’s a sobering truth about change that all good leaders need to know. This is one the really great leaders will act on.
By the time the need to change is obvious to everyone, it’s too late!
Opportunities abound. They’re all all around us. Always have been; always will be. But too often, real opportunities to effectively manage change end in the “what might have been” pile under the guise of “being deliberate,” being too hesitant or waiting too long to act.
So here are some questions for you to reflect on.
#1. As a leader, what compels you to act?
#2. Are you only compelled to act when assigned a definitive task or your back is against the wall?
#3. Are you compelled, reluctantly, for fear of the negative consequence rather than the possible positive outcome?
#4. Are you willing to act — whether instructed to do so or not — because of your commitment to make a positive difference in your role and responsibility?
#5. Are you compelled to act by the motivation to do even more than is required or expected of you?
Your answers are important.
Remember this — the more compelled you are to act proactively, the broader the opportunities for success. And the greater example you set for your followers to do the same.
If your leaders or team need some guidance managing change, we can help. Connect with me here to talk about solutions.
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