If you’re not leading change, you’re not leading.
The leaders we’ve worked with know that change begins with them. No one else. They accept that they are part of the problem and the solution. They are the question and the answer, the learner and the teacher. As Noel Tichy said, “If the leader is not willing to change, no one in the organization really will.”
We’ve learned that change and leadership are intrinsically intertwined. I can’t say this enough: If you’re not leading change, you’re not leading. Change is going to happen around you whether you like it or not. The world moves on, and inevitably your shareholders, customers, leaders, and organization will try to tell you about what’s changing and what to do about it. The real question is whether you’re willing and able to be proactive, capitalize on the inevitable changes, and use them to win in your marketplace. Or will you simply wait for change to happen and try to respond? It’s a question of whether you want to lead change or have change lead you.
Much of the discussion about change centers on high-level, wholesale changes for a business or large organization, since these big changes are critical. But the hardest and most important changes often involve changing people—their roles and goals—to set a new direction that makes the business more successful and sustainable. While some sports rely on team players staying in their position, consider hockey, which relies on the fluid, almost instantaneous transformation from one position to another, from defense to offense. That’s a better metaphor for change.
This is an excerpt from The Core 4: Harness Four Core Business Drivers to Accelerate Your Organization.