Businesses have always been innovators. They know how to perfect their products, optimize supply chains, and grow relationships with customers. They’ve developed processes, tools, and strategies over their existence that set them apart from the competition. These change management tips and strategies have brought them success and made them who they are.
But when it comes to change management, the strategies that made them successful in the offline world do not apply to the new digital era. That’s because innovating a product, optimizing a single process, or seeking out a new relationship is not the same as introducing an entirely new way of doing things.
History has proven that change is inevitable and unstoppable. In every aspect of our environment, our personal lives, and our professional lives we can count on the fact that things will change.
Despite this eventuality there are those who not only resist change but who go out of their way to block, stop and even reverse change. On the other hand, there are also those who embrace change and even drive change. And in between there are those who follow and accept change, either willingly or begrudgingly.
In the business world change is rampant. People have new ideas, businesses have lofty goals, processes are inefficient, metrics are being missed, stakeholders demand improvements, bosses want more productivity, and employees want their jobs to be easier. There are myriad circumstances driving the need for change at every turn.
But despite that need for change, change doesn’t always happen the way people would like. There are so many variables, disruptions, personalities, politics, blockers and of course Murphy’s Law that all get in the way of making positive change. I have seen a lot of extremely smart people fail in their attempts to make meaningful change despite their technical prowess.
One of the key factors which determines whether changes will succeed, or fail, is leadership. A common phrase used in business is “Change Management”. I personally don’t like that phrase. The idea of managing change seems to me to be much more passive, reactive and less controlling of the circumstances at hand. A lot of people try to manage change only to find that the change is actually managing them.
I prefer to use the phrase “Change Leadership”. It has a much different meaning and connotation than management. It is a more proactive, thoughtful, strategic and insightful idea and approach on driving what is going to happen, as opposed to managing what is happening.
I have been a witness to and a party in many, many transformational efforts. Metrics are falling short of expectations, the competition is beating us, customers are demanding more, and processes are woefully inadequate for the task at hand. All of these situations require change. Yet some of these change efforts will succeed while others, in fact the majority, will fail.
What is the reason most change initiatives fail or fall short of expectations? A lack of leadership. More specifically, a lack of “Change Leadership”.
As mentioned previously I have seen a lot of very bright people attempt to make significant changes of on type or another. They are intelligent, have great subject matter expertise, and are highly respected. But more often than not their attempts to drive change fall short because they don’t recognize the need for “Change Leadership”.
This doesn’t mean that they aren’t great leaders. It does mean that there are unique differences in leading change. There are so many unforeseen circumstances to consider, so many personalities to deal with, and so many human reactions that will arise that you need to specifically develop and hone skills in “Change Leadership” to augment your technical leadership skills.
“Unchaining Change Leadership” is a compilation of learnings, lessons and techniques in driving change that I’ve experienced over a lifetime. Every chapter covers a different aspect of Change Leadership which have proven over time to be the difference in success and failure from one project to the next.
Depending on the scope and nature of the change you are trying to make some of the content will be more or less relevant for your particular situation. Taken in aggregate I have used these techniques and lessons to drive some truly remarkable, game changing, breakthrough and industry leading results in the course of my career.
In the spirit of Supply Chain Game Changer™ (www.supplychaingamechanger.com), my website dedicated to sharing experiences and expertise to help others on their own journeys, I have created “Unchaining Change Leadership”.
Every chapter is based on real life experience, learnings, successes and failures. I present this material to you in this format to provide a single place that you can go to so as to help you in your transformational journey. If you can learn from this material this will help to increase and accelerate your chances of success. If we don’t learn from the past, and if we don’t learn from others, we are doomed to fail.
In this age of acronyms one of the terms that I have heard more of in recent years is “VUCA”. In short VUCA stands for “Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity”.
It seems to be a phrase designed to capture multiple synonyms for change and chaos, or the conditions associated with chaotic situations. Disarray, turmoil, pandemonium, unpredictability, confusion, and vagueness also capture that sensation of being in an environment that is out of equilibrium in some manner.
In both the personal and professional parts of our lives we are faced with these kinds of challenges each and every day.
Let’s explore more of what VUCA means and how we can better deal with these types of circumstances.
Nothing can be accomplished and no vision can be realized without leadership. But even the best leaders know that any goal that they are trying to achieve will inevitably mean some level of change. They need Change Management.
This change may manifest itself in changing business processes, changing job responsibilities and roles, changing organizations, changing infrastructure, changing products and services or even completely changing direction.
While change is inevitable change usually does not come easy. There is no end to the number of challenges, hurdles and barriers that will be put in front of you.
This all requires Change Management, or as we prefer to say, Change Leadership. In this “Featuring” series article we present our best articles on the matter of Change Management and Change Leadership!
I was brought into the company to make changes happen. The company was facing overwhelming competition from a global behemoth. The product portfolio was outdated and the company needed to enter new markets with new products. And that meant that a fundamental change in processes, structure, systems and culture was required. There should be no change paradox.
The dire situation, and the need for change, was communicated first from the CEO. And it seemed that everyone in the organization, regardless of level or title, all recognized the need for change and the sense of urgency.
But when it was time to make change happen the level of resistance, from the CEO on down, was incredible.
The forces for change met with equal and opposite forces against change. This change paradox, and the resultant paralysis, could only be solved by The Supply Chain Detective™.