There are few things in life and business more daunting than the unknown, and the unknown is precisely what change always is. Naturally, people fear the outcome of transformation to be worse than the current state of their affairs. The challenge is to sensibly weigh the variables of entering any uncharted territories and find the courage to lead our businesses through difficult decisions. When the market fundamentally shifts with consumer preferences, there’s no playbook, parameters, or precedent to follow– we must guide others down paths they’ve never known before. Mobilize reluctant teams to adapt to our ever-evolving society, shifting economy, and advancing technology. Overcome any obstacle that stands in your way, and embrace the new.
Change requires a reason for change.
Every change that you propose should have a clear and consistent purpose, and you need to be able to articulate the cause for change, and connect it to your larger goals, to communicate it, unite people around it, and implement it. Make certain that the reason for change aligns with your people’s shared beliefs as well as your own. Look inward to look outward. Uncover who you are before you navigate uncharted territory. Ensure your organization lives it’s authentic purpose and resonates with the current market.
Courage is a balance between risk and reward.
Market shifts bring about the need for courageous innovation when it’s most financially challenging to innovate. Courageous innovation is a delicate balance between the controllable and the uncontrollable, risk and reward, vision and dream, & past and future. You can control the direction you choose to go in and how much you opt to spend, but not how much you can afford to spend. You need to take risks while mitigating them to see any reward. In the words of Robinson, “You have to know two things: what guides you and what grounds you.” Accept reality but embrace your dreams for your organization. Have the courage to implement bold creative ideas and alternative solutions, but also have the wisdom to look to your unchanging values as your guide.
Communicate positivity, recognize actuality.
It’s essential for team members and leaders alike to avoid catastrophizing in times of crisis. But while it’s important to keep positive energy moving, it’s equally important to be aware of the reality and be fully transparent so that there are no unexpected turns. Recognize the truth of turmoil, set ambitious but realistic goals, and align your organization around your vision. Don’t fear purposeful change. Dive into it. Look to your established decision-making frameworks when you lack clarity, and direct others to do the same. Share honesty as well as positivity in your communications to encourage courage.
Maintain stability as you embrace transformation.
Creating an adaptive culture isn’t only about what you should change; it’s also about what you keep. Your values are the filters through which you should determine what to change.If you change your values or your purpose, you lose your very identity. Don’t give up on your goals; change the methods you use to achieve those goals. Instead of abandoning your story, add a new chapter to it. It takes as much courage to maintain stability as it does to embrace change.
Turbulent times call for courageous leadership.
“It’s easy to lead when times are easy, it’s hard to lead when times are had.” Robinson shares. His words seem so obvious and yet the insight within them is so valuable. Leadership will be most challenging in times of great challenge, but the most courageous leaders adapt to combat stagnance and poor precedents. Give people the courage to come together around change. Present people with a reason to embrace your new ideas. Find the courage to speak up. Engage in the necessary conversations even if they may be uncomfortable, and especially when they’re uncomfortable. When change is hardest, don’t let obstacles or opposition stop you from taking action.