1) Discarded and antiquated; 2) Going out of use or date; 3) Less developed than formerly.
Embrace change as a challenge. Leaders are constantly aware of the need for change and innovation; they embrace it as a challenge. Prototypical managers, on the other hand, constantly attempt to perpetuate the status quo. This intrinsic difference matters, particularly when you come to realize most of what we understand about the world of work today is based on obsolete thinking.
Harness change as a competitive advantage. Do not fall prey to the “Not Invented Here” syndrome – which magically believes competition knocks on everyone’s door but your own. Continuous change, quality improvement and operational excellence are requirements for every organization nowadays, not simply a select few. Drop any signs of a tenacious hold on old ways.
Watch out for complacency. Especially complacency that risks to lull you into a marketplace stupour, reliant on a particular product or service that may have carried your organization in the early years but that could now be overtaken by newer “interlopers”. Do not allow your very bread and butter to come into risk. Stay alert and sharp to signs of marketplace drowsiness.
Overcome the human tendency toward the status quo. While not perfectly correlated to behaviour, most people exhibit innate characteristics such as their handedness. If you think about performing your morning routine with your opposite hand, you will likely find yourself uncomfortable. Yet, this need to perform tasks with our “non-preferred hand” is just what organizations are asking more of these days.
Create acceptance of a newly revised version of the status quo. Mentally we need to move from a model of reliance on stability as giving us comfort to a place where our ability to accept and implement change, with control over how that happens, gives us the comfort and security we need to feel less anxious about change. Any leader in any position of influence knows the consequences of not keeping up.
Help others master their environment. Do not promise stability; provide a context in which people can understand and deal with change in a proactive and productive manner. Honesty about the real state of affairs is ultimately more important than the false sense of security that so often accompanies those who try to shield employees during times of change. This is what reduces anxiety.
Think in terms of future possibilities rather than past practices. Soul-inspiring leaders embrace change as a permanent state of hyper-creativity, where they get to use their skills and abilities to create new opportunities, and then lead others to that same view. So many current models of how work gets done are outdated. We need to unlearn them. Begin by acknowledging where your thinking is obsolete.
Questions For Reflection
What makes you anxious about change, and how can you avoid this automatic “fight” or “flight” human response in the future?
What is one immediate and constructive thing you could do to improve your organization’s ability to embrace change constructively?
What are the most potent skills you can use to help others learn to thrive, rather than merely survive, during times of intense change?