Change is a constant. Adapting is an imperative, but leading change is no longer about driving the big vision or being an extroverted, “big presence” leader, rather it is an art that requires greater insight – including personal, trends and context; of course it requires more courage and it also requires an openness and a willingness to learn from others.
Current imperatives and future challenges require a different approach to leading change which is more about navigating the uncertainties and the turbulence and charting a way forward. Rather than focussing on driving big ideas and big vision, it requires building flexibility and adaptability. One of the key challenges for leaders is not only managing their own adaption to this new way of leading effective change, but also, the challenge of managing the talent within your organisation and building flexibility through talented people. Taking an approach which is about supporting long term career strategies that will ensure that you have the right leadership today and for tomorrow and they have the flexibility to help you chart your organisations course.
Creating a culture of learning is another challenge for effective change leaders. In health and across government jurisdictions in Australasia there is the added imperative for increasing the pace of learning. A key strategy in transferring knowledge whilst also developing yourself and your best talent is through mentoring and coaching. Getting perspectives outside of your own patch and your own industry. Learning from others in this context is based on trust and shared values and often the most successful arrangements are the ones that are more informal. Using the networks of peers such as Learning Set members and the broader Set membership introductions, particularly where these are global connections is a powerful and rapid solution in supporting this long term strategy that will allow you to get outside perspective and exposure to a variety of contexts and solutions to quickly adapt to your own environment. There is much research on the benefits to executive learning of having multiple mentors, particularly from diverse fields. Moving these relationships from in-person and face to face to “virtual” through such mediums as Skype, emails etc is not only effective, but practical in addressing the challenge of being a time poor executive.
Leading change also means now that you must build closer relationships with your communities, partners, consumers and strategic alliances. Strengthening and fostering these relationships will give you and your organisation greater flexibility and allow you to achieve the results you need. Your focus needs not to be local or just about your own specialist field, it must be about the wider world in which we operate. It must include different sectors and create inter-connectedness.
Challenging your perspectives, harnessing complexity, facing the future and leading high impact results is just part and parcel of leading in this new era.