Can an organization truly transform if its leaders aren’t willing to transform themselves? Leaders often move ahead with their business transformation without questioning their own capabilities, believing that the changes they are introducing will be enough to change how their employees think and work. They forget how much they themselves have to embody the change, because all eyes are on them.
I have been working for many years with leaders implementing transformations. As much as I admire their qualities, most are unfamiliar with what is involved in managing a true transformation. They are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to running a business, developing strategic plans, executing projects or managing staff, but when it is a question of transformation, a major strategic shift, they often find themselves in a whole new playing field.
Nothing is more demanding for leaders than implementing a transformation. Not only do they have to make decisions for which they have no reference point, take ownership of increasingly complex new realities and execute everything efficiently and quickly in the throes of day-to-day operations, they must also question their beliefs, management style and leadership skills in the new playing field. Whew!
Here are some of the key skills I have seen in effective transformation leaders:
First by specifying the key skills you expect from your leaders in the transformation. Limit yourself to two or three at first to maintain the focus. Be specific about the behaviours you are looking for. Hold workshops with your leaders to create the necessary awareness. Provide ongoing follow-up and support, because you cannot make this sort of change happen simply by saying it should.