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Leadership during change

Leading a business during any time of change is challenging. However, the reality is that change can elevate a business to excellence if chaos is avoided.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he had a vision to change the business, change our attitude and change our needs towards personal computing. Undoubtedly, he was confronted with strong resistance. Accusations flew that Apple’s brand and values would be killed off; he was not a creative genius, but rather a raving lunatic.

Luckily, Jobs remained resilient, pressed on, formed the right team and produced technology that has changed and shaped the way we live today. I cannot help but think that if Jobs gave in to the masses, our lives, interactions and the technology we hold in our pockets today would be significantly different. Simply put, Jobs made us all 'Think Differently' and it paid off for Apple.

Leading a business during any time of change is challenging.

It's not uncommon to have similar issues faced by Jobs. However, the reality is that change can elevate a business to excellence if chaos is avoided.

The right leadership during change is critical. Although Jobs was ultimately successful in changing how we think and need technology, the path taken was arguably chaotic; the change could have been smoother and excellence achieved sooner if better leadership was in place.

If you are leading a business or team during change, here a few tips I suggest you employ to place you in a better position for excellence:

1. Explain the why

Simply, people want to understand why change needs to occur. Explain this to your people clearly. Make sure they understand the bigger picture and provide surety about tenancy of employment.

2. Respect the past

Many organisations that go from great to excellence have a solid culture, strong set of values, and great people and artefacts. It's important to respect these items from the past when communicating why the change is needed. Acknowledge the place they have played in the business and how they are not being pushed aside but modified to elevate the organisation.

3. Have the right people on the team

Sometimes people simply won't give in to change. You need to move these people along quickly if after reality testing, them they are not prepared to come for the ride. This can be a tough decision to make. You just need to do it.

4. Don’t be afraid to change, change

Many innovative and progressive organisations don’t always get change right the first time. Don't be afraid, as a leader, to point out that some aspects of the change might not be working and need tweaking. If the change isn’t working – be sure to change it!

Being part of a fast-paced, innovative and changing organisation can be a great place to be. Leading during this period can be tough. In my experience, if you make a choice to embrace the change and positively lead the business along the way, chaos will be avoided and excellence will be achieved.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: December 7, 2017.

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