First a quote: “If change is happening on the outside, faster than on the inside, the end is in sight.” – Jack Welch
I have been passionate about the subjects of change management and change leadership for many years, and change-related workshops still make up a significant portion of my consulting practice. On the surface, change is quite simple and straight forward, and yet underneath the surface, very few subjects are more complex and challenging for leaders in organizations small and large. In many ways, nothing is more difficult than getting people to enthusiastically embrace change, or shaping an organizational culture stuck in the past or blinded by their past success. I find all of this to be fascinating. I like to say, the “soft stuff” is the “hard part”.
In working with executives, from a wide variety of industries, I have observed leadership teams tend to be either internally focused, or externally focused. Often, one at the expense of the other. Like many leadership dichotomies, leaders and the organization they lead, must strive for a healthy balance between the two perspectives. Both are important to your long-term success. There can be great peril in undervaluing one over the other.
Certainly, we must pay attention to our internal systems, processes, metrics and human resources. We must drive continuous improvement, cost reductions & efficiencies, expand operational capacity, people development, technology upgrades and capital investments just to name a few.
Simultaneously however, we must also pay attention to the important forces at work in the world around us. It is easy to become so consumed with our internal challenges and opportunities that we completely miss the “winds of change”, and metaphorically speaking, the “storm clouds” gathering on the horizon. We can’t be so internally focused that we miss the almost “stealth-like” changes that exist in all our futures, regardless of industry or business model.
The list of external forces is also long and intimidating: governmental, economic, social, geo-political, technological, competitors… both known and unknown, and what experts now call disruptive business models.
Your “leadership development assignment” for this week is quite simple. Give some thought to the following questions:
• Is our organization, is our culture, is our leadership team balanced appropriately in terms of our internal/external focus?” How do you know? What metrics are in place?
• Who is concerned about the internal/external balance… the CEO? The senior leadership teams? All, or at least most, employees? Anyone?
• Who are your primary customers today? Who might those customers be in 5 years? How are those customers changing? How will their needs be different in 5 years?
• Who are your competitors today? Who are they likely to be in 5 years?
• Are your competitors more worried about your next strategic move or, are you more worried about their next strategic move?
• Who, or what, are potential disrupters in your industry?
How will you lead differently, or better, this week?
Have a great week!!
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
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