The pace of innovation is increasingly faster than ever. To compete in today’s business landscape, being cheaper and faster are no longer enough. The mantra in the street is ‘disrupt or be disrupted.’ Building capacity for change and innovative growth is necessary and vital for today’s organization.
Most successful organizations have leaders who understand strategic, organizational and cultural dimensions of change. These leaders recognize what got them to their current level of success may not be what will get them to the next. Having the maturity to look both outwards and inwards for new growth opportunities and engaging their organization to build a culture of risk taking and resilience enable these leaders to proactively envision the future and continue to drive clarity and inspiration around their vision.
These new age leaders are nimble, flexible and responsive with building not only the right systems and processes to incubate new ideas but also focusing on the culture and capacities to power their vision. Innovation comes from people and from an organizational culture that dares to dream bigger, see things differently and find an angle that may not be so obvious.
Most importantly, these leaders know that change can’t just come from top down. To really achieve a new vision, they have to bring people along for the ride. Proactively building capacity for change into the DNA of their people and their organization is a crucial step in driving this vision forward.
Retired Harvard Business School professor and author of Leading Change, John P. Kotter, states, ‘status quo is more dangerous than the unknown.’ These new age leaders understand that and continually take advantage of these three secret weapons to break through the conventional frictions and barriers.
- Establish a Compelling Vision and Change Narrative
As a new age leader, one must be authentic and clear with communicating the change narrative. To inspire change (rather than enforce), the leader must appeal to the minds and the hearts of his or her people. Like with any successful behavioral change, it all starts with the “why.” The alignment around the “why” powers the conviction and commitment for change.
Oftentimes, organizations become stagnant and set in their ways. Kotter suggests directing the change effort by creating a vision that can be clearly articulated in less than five minutes. Then, he continues to explain, support the vision by developing strategies for realizing that vision. Kotter also advises leaders to use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and accompanying strategies to be utilized in achieving the new vision.
At Four Bridges Advisory, our team works with CEOs and senior leaders to develop strategic clarity and essential narrative to bring forth their vision. Through an in-depth assessment of the organization on three levels – strategy, leadership and organization, we help paint a clear picture of the status quo. We coach CEOs and senior leaders to develop a clear, concise and inspirational vision; devise strategies to operationalize this vision; and address potential enablers and barriers to accelerate the pace and success of change.
- Build a Change Roadmap
To buy into change, one needs to have the opportunity make it their own. This means being personally engaged and invested. Bringing people along for the journey is simply not enough; one has to have an opportunity to “wrestle with it,” to truly make the vision their own. Successful leaders engage their team on meaningful dialogues to create a shared vision and roadmap for change.
- Instill Consistency in Messaging
Clarity is further enhanced by consistency and reinforcement. The leadership team must be in lock step when communicating clear and consistent messaging in order for the organization to move forward in unison.
Uncertainties engender fear while clarity brings ease. Cascading consistent messaging is vital for easing confusion and fear in time of change.
The second secret weapon to change is cultivating resilience.
Often times our clients describe their experience as “flying a plane while changing its engine midair.” This analogy paints the picture of change for many. Some approach change with fear and anxiety; for others, it comes with wonder, adventure and opportunity. Studies have shown resilience is the key ingredient for the difference in perspective.
We are creatures of habit and we seek homeostasis. Without resilience, uncertainties are often thought of as threats versus opportunities. Successful leaders are skilled at reframing this narrative by cultivating resilience in their people.
At Four Bridges Advisory, we believe building resilience starts with developing the right mindset.
Whether the objective is accelerating innovation, global expansion or pursuing new opportunistic growth, we’ve found preparing the organization for a growth mindset is optimal and primal to the success of any strategic initiative. A victim mindset brings passivity, blame and helplessness. An empowered and accountable mindset brings confidence and control.
The Saltbox UK team adds “When implementing change, organizations often focus on the systems, processes and outcomes, but fail to understand or take account of the emotional impact it will have on their staff…when people are supported and prepared properly, they are more resilient, adaptable, and able to handle change positively.”
Furthermore, in his book, Resilience: A Change for the Better, internationally recognized leader in organizational change, Daryl R. Conner outlines five characteristics of resilient people – they are positive, focused, flexible, organized and proactive.
Successful pivot and change does not come from a static strategic plan on paper or a brilliant idea in the CEO’s head. It is fluid, dynamic, involves and evolves with the people of the organization. Resilience is the fuel to ignite and sustain change within organizations.
Change is hard and it takes time along with consistent and deliberate efforts. Focus and dedicated commitment to procuring change is essential for success.
At Four Bridges Advisory, we hold the accountability and structure for this work. By partnering with us, our clients are able to accelerate the pace and success of strategic pivots.
Kotter’s organizational survey has shown that more than half of change efforts fail in organizations by ignoring one or more of these dimensions. At Four Bridges Advisory, we holistically address strategic, organizational and cultural dimensions related to strategic and growth pivots. Our clients appreciate the structure, tools and expertise that our team brings in order to guide on all dimensions of change.
Our belief is that there are no templates in our business. Every project, client and situation we encounter is unique. CEOs, senior leaders and their teams look to us to help drive big, complex growth agendas within their organizations. Our team strives to bring clarity, resilience and focus to our clients so they can thrive long after we are gone.
If you are looking to drive big, complex growth agendas, I’d love to have a conversation about how we might partner with you and your organization. Feel free to reach out to me, Hsiang-Yi Lin, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit our website for more information at http://www.fourbridgesadvisorysf.com.