No one can deny change is all around us. Change is happening the way we shop, the way we view entertainment, the places or sources we rely on for information, and countless other examples.
But when it comes to changes in your organization, the question is whether you are driving the change or if (and how) you are being impacted by the changes others are initiating.
The answer will reveal a great deal about your vision as a leader and the decisions you must make for your team. Are you doing the driving or are you in the position of having to react to what others are imposing on you and your team?
There are some types of change we can’t influence or control: the weather, road construction, air traffic control delays (I am writing this as I sit on a plane!).
But there are many types of change we can influence, such as inspiring teams towards a common goal or affecting positive behavioral patterns of those on your team to achieve new goals.
After all, the true measure of leadership is influence and everything rises and falls on leadership. Good leaders focus on influencing outcomes and driving change to enable those outcomes.
If you sense in most situations you are on your heels or reacting to changes others impose, this probably means you are not initiating or influencing the changes and outcomes you would like to see.
It might be interesting to review your performance goals from the past year and try to identify the significant changes you initiated versus the changes imposed on you by others.
Consider the following:
- Do you have a practice of setting stretch goals for you and those you lead? If so, how are you doing against those goals – do you continue to drive the change necessary to achieve those goals, or have they been put to the side because of “other events” outside of your control?
- Are you regularly being asked by others for your perspectives on potential opportunities or current trends? If so, this could be a sign people welcome your insights and contributions to drive change.
- Do you think in terms of possibilities or obstacles? Possibility-oriented thinking suggests multiple solutions or approaches to drive change. Obstacle-oriented thinking might suggest you are focused more on how or why new ideas won’t work.
Leaders who drive change generally see multiple solutions to a problem or issue. These leaders abhor the status quo. They know the same thinking which caused the problem or issue can’t be used to solve the issue. They see more possibilities than others see and they see a way for those possibilities to be to become reality.
These leaders challenge those on their team to not only think but to think differently. Exerting positive influence and inspiring change is the only way to be the driver of change. These leaders also allow themselves to be challenged and welcome working alongside partners and mentors who can help them see possibilities and potential.
You can’t do this leadership life alone. The most successful leaders and drivers of change will readily admit they didn’t become this way by isolating themselves. They have thinking partners and utilize them as often as necessary.
Who is your thinking partner? If no one comes to mind, or if they are not stimulating the thinking you need, let me know. I can honestly say I have helped leaders develop and realize the full potential of innovative ideas, resulting in hundreds of thousands (and in several cases millions) of dollars in real impact for their organizations. I am only an email or phone call away!