Manage through stability, lead through change

Change leadershipWhen nothing is changing, you manage. When change comes along, you lead. Here’s the punch line: Things are always changing.

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different…”– C.S. Lewis

Borders Booksellers overinvested in managing their store locations but underinvested in online capability and ended in bankruptcy.

PayPal saw the future and led the company from its beginnings in cryptography, then transmitting money via PDAs, and after a few more years became the successful online payment system we know today.

How do you lead through change?

Envision the future

When I travel in new cities I always use my GPS to drive. Not just for the obvious reason of not knowing where I am going, but also to plan ahead for the changes. The GPS lists the next few turns so I know which lane to switch to and how much time I have to get there.

I use this same method to prepare my team for the future. We all talk about our destination and the next few changes that are coming up so that we are always prepared for what’s next.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

Engage those that are ready

Change only happens when people are ready for change to happen. Don’t give up if everyone is not ready for the change. Start with those that are ready and show the results of change, then others will follow.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

Energize the process

The process of change is not one and done but a series of next steps. You need to build a process where the outcome is change. Don’t let change surprise you. Be a team whose core competency is change leadership. Have a plan that you execute every time.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” ­– Winston Churchill