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Leading Through Change: Effective Leadership during Times of Transformation

Change is good…except when it’s bad. One of the most relied upon adages in any endeavor is that at some time things will change. Oftentimes change is visited upon a company by unforeseen outside influences; a market contraction, an event that disrupts the supply chain, or the sudden departure of valuable talent. Other times, change within an organization can come voluntarily, as a necessary means for survival or to move in a direction that will bring future prosperity and a strengthened position within a market. In either case, leadership during a time of transformation will make the difference between a successful shift and a disastrous one.

Quality leadership requires managers who are not only prepared and adept at handling matters during the sublime, but leaders who are agile and composed enough to navigate through turbulence. The keys to effective management during times of transformation are varied, with each leadership trait playing a critical role in the effective stewardship of the company through the turmoil of change. To ensure your company has what it takes to survive and even thrive through the adversity that transformation can bring, pay diligent attention to a few crucial leadership attributes that will serve you well and lead your company back to a more serene environment.
Before Change Happens
There are often occasions when change can be forecast and steps can be taken to mitigate the potential damage ahead. In these situations leadership should be equipped with the professional tools they need to see the variables clearly and decisive enough to act in time. One common reaction to impending transformation is organizational paralysis. When confronted with on-coming transformative conditions, the worst thing a management staff can do is freeze when times are at their roughest. Each opportunity to act is critical and will determine whether or not an organization will seize chances to address the circumstances, or be left to merely endure the trouble.
Keys to acting include:
·        Identifying the situation thoroughly.
During the phase of identifying the up-coming struggles, managers should convene a committee to assess the potential risk to business and weed out the ways in which the impending transformation could lead to irreversible damage to the company. A committee is not always able to be formed formally, but a trusted group of company leaders should be available and prepared to evaluate the position of the company and all foreseeable scenarios that may result from the pending change. Only after the change has been identified and the risks assessed can a management team initiate countermeasures that will be successful in weathering the storm.
·         Delegating Authority
During times of adversity brought about by change, it is more important than ever to have a system in place by which leadership can effectively delegate authority to managers within the company. Delegating authority provides the means for adequately addressing each issue affected by the transformation with the proper talent in place to handle the matters effectively. Failing to properly delegate authority can lead to redundant measures being employed, stifling a company’s efforts to stem the tide, and leading to an inefficient and likely ineffective result.
·         Decisive Action
Leadership development as an on-going practice will ensure that the right people are in place when and if transformation arrives suddenly. Through training and cultivating leadership throughout the company, managers can assume a confidence that will prove vital as they operate emergency corporate procedures.
To ensure organizational development that adequately trains and equips managers with what they need, a company culture should be in place to make leadership enrichment one of a company’s core initiatives. It is far easier to spring into action by following already adopted policies of leadership than it is to attempt to create an environment of accountability and decisiveness on the fly.
Decisive action includes taking steps that are in keeping with the company’s established plan for addressing the change. Not only will decisiveness allow a company to move with dynamism toward the measures that have been determined necessary, assertive and confident action will inspire employees and maintain a sure-footed appearance to partners outside of the company.

 

Change is often thrust upon an organization during some of the most inopportune times. The assured way to make it through a transformation while maintaining your company’s profile and reputation in the marketplace is to take practical steps before and during your efforts to manage through the tumult.
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