Change or Die The Mindset Every Entrepreneur Should Develop
Do you know the most important element in any progressive developmental process? It’s a constant ‘CHANGE.’ Change Management has been a buzzword for the past few years in today's dynamic business world. But the recent pandemic has given it a stronger momentum than ever, so much so that every leadership guild in the world strongly backs the concept. Doubtless, flexibility, agility, and adaptability are the call of the hour, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. But it is also the most difficult challenge of organizational development and business growth in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) business environment.
What is ‘CHANGE’?
CHANGE is the natural phenomenon of evolutionary processes. Be it the biological species, sociocultural systems, or business environments, everything goes through a process of growth, development, maturity, and decline without exception. But, the crux of long-term survival is to handle the change process healthily and strategically, generally termed CHANGE MANAGEMENT.
As famous evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Even Jim Collins aptly mentioned in his book ‘Great by choice’:
“When a calamitous event clobbers an industry or the overall economy, companies fall into one of the three categories: those who pull ahead, those that fall behind, and those that die. The disruption itself does not determine your category. You do.”
There is much precedence in the world where business behemoths like Kodak, Xerox, Yahoo, and Enron have failed due to their inability or unwillingness to change in the face of technological disruptions and evolving customer demands. Hence, for an entrepreneur being flexible to adapt is paramount to survive and grow in the new normal of the business environment.
The Necessity to ‘CHANGE’? The New Normal
Are your business and career Changing and Growing or Dying? It would be best if you became a Change leader to thrive and grow in the “New Normal” of the business world.
You can determine which category your business falls under as a business owner or leader. It all depends on how you and your organization's leadership team respond and change its leadership capabilities to strive and thrive in the “New Normal” business world.
You and your leadership teams need to learn and adapt to deal effectively with this enormous change and uncertainty. The key to surviving and thriving during uncertain times is to learn to change and shift frequently.
Why is it hard to bring about ‘CHANGE.’
Bringing about change is more complicated. To effect an organization-wide change, first, you need to instill the CHANGE mindset in your staff. Change brings uncertainty and uncertainty fuels resistance. Great leaders understand that people do not change just because they need to change. It takes a systematic approach to implement renewed behavioral tendencies. This calls for more Emotional Quotient than Intelligence Quotient.
Most leaders follow a logical approach while implementing a change management program. But they need to realize that long-term behavioral change cannot be made for logical reasons; it can be done for emotional reasons.
The results a person produces comes from the actions taken by them. But the actions stem from certain behavioral tendencies. The behavior, in turn, is based on certain assumptions, which in turn are founded on their belief system.
So, as you can see, to alter someone’s behavior, we need to understand and alter their belief system. And that’s the critical factor in leading a change management program.
In an organization, the leadership team carries the onus of effecting behavioral changes in the staff. But certain leadership traits are more effective in dealing with change management. The three top leadership qualities that will be critically important in the years ahead are:
Inspiring and influencing: The ability to motivate staff (35 percent)
Cross-cultural Sensitivity: The ability to work well across cultures (33 percent)
Facilitating: The ability to facilitate change (32 percent).
And most importantly, the key skill required to handle all three of these qualities is Adaptability -The ability to change (or be changed) to fit new circumstances. If you want to be a successful leader, you need to learn to become comfortable with uncertainty and makeshift continually. You need to be flexible and deal with uncertainty without losing focus.
An excellent reflection point for you as a leader comes from author Malcolm Gladwell,
"That’s your responsibility as a person, as a human being – to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don’t contradict yourself regularly, then you’re not thinking.”
Change leadership is not natural, especially when your first start practicing it. Change is often associated with leaving behind something that has worked and pursuing something untested and relatively unknown. This change will always create tension between the stability of the past and the uncertainty of future opportunities.
As you prepare your journey of becoming a change leader and master the change leadership practices, the critical path should include five foundational practices:
Continuous and never-ending improvement (CANI); Continually learn, unlearn, and relearn
Value past learning but focus on today
Rely on speed, but thrive on timing
Take action and move courageously amid uncertainty
Remember, today’s best will not meet tomorrow’s challenges.