The two guarantees in life are taxes and death. No matter how much we hate both, they will be there. There is no way around them.
In business, the one guarantee is change. Organizations of all sizes will experience a great deal of change at some point and it’s up to the leader to create an atmosphere of effective adaptation. The best organizations that dominate the market and competition have leaders that know how to lead through change better than anyone else, as well as bring out the best in their people during times of extreme uncertainty.
Here are four important strategies to lead through change:
1. Stay purpose driven.
When your organization is experiencing turbulent times and you are in a position where you have to lead through change,you must stay purpose driven. If the leader of an organization veers away from the organization's purpose, how in the world are the employees of that organization supposed to stay on target? It’s just not going to happen.
You might not know the exact way in the beginning, you may be more nervous than you have ever been in your career or the criticism from the outside world may be at an all-time high, but if you direct all of your focus on staying purpose driven and creating a culture high on purpose, the "how" will eventually present itself.
2. Communication must be constant.
I write about communication a lot, and a major reason for that is because I think there are too many organizations that undervalue its importance, especially during times of major change. Great communication is required to create great relationships. Great communication is required for athletic teams to perform at a high level. The same goes for organizational health and being able to lead effectively.
It’s important for leaders to constantly communicate from a technical standpoint, but also to reinforce much needed inspiration and acknowledgment of their people. The next time change hits your organization, whether big or small, make it a priority to become a world-class communicator.
3. Invest in your people.
As a leader, you have to understand that the most important people are the ones who work with you. These are the men and women that are expected to carry out your vision and head into the trenches to make sure that the transition through whatever change your organization is going through is a success.
Depending on the size of your company, look to invest in your people as much as possible. The organizations that are passionate about developing and building their people are the same organizations that win and come out on top.
Whether it’s incorporating team-building exercises, bringing in experts in a certain field or enhancing skill sets in different ways, the opportunities are endless for you to invest in your people. This will not only help you and your organization lead successfully through change, but you will also be showing your people how much you care about developing them to become better.
4. Persist until you succeed.
No one enjoys change, and that especially goes for employees. They will be tempted to give up, slow down and lose focus of the overall objective and purpose. It’s your job as a leader to instill a culture of persistence.
It’s really hard to see the end result and even move forward when it feels as if nothing is being accomplished. Throughout the course of my athletic career as well as speaking to hundreds of majorly successful companies, I have realized that the most detailed plan and course of action can only get you so far when leading through change.
Persistence isn’t just a trait of the most successful people, it's the backbone of the organizations that completely thrive during times of extreme change. Persisting and staying the course even when progress seems to be minimal is an absolute must when leading through change.
It’s inevitable that you will experience change at some point throughout your professional career. As a leader, business owner or entrepreneur, it’s your job to set the tone when leading your organization through change. These strategies will greatly improve your chances of getting the best out of your organization.