The greatest myth for a leader is to think, “I have arrived”. Organizational landscapes are always changing, bringing along with them new problems and new possibilities. Therefore leaders can’t afford to stop growing in their ability to manage change. Change management is one of the key competencies for leadership success for it navigates people through the maze of changes that arise in any organization’s journey. Sometimes these changes occur intentionally through strategic initiatives and other times they occur as a by-product from the constant shifts that occur in our world.

When it comes to intentional change through strategic initiatives, one fatal mistake regularly made by leaders is to elevate content over context. Every change initiative involves new strategic information (content) and this is usually the key focus. However, if the attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviours of employees are not considered adequately enough throughout the implementation of a strategy, it is destined to either fail or be wrought with unnecessary conflict and obstruction. Hence leaders need to constantly grow in their capacity to develop systems and processes for change, along with tactically aligning people to a vision, informing, involving and communicating clearly with others throughout the process.

In regard to change brought about simply as a by-product of existing in the global environment, leaders need to have their change radar switched on at all times. Leaders must cultivate a conscious awareness of events and circumstances around them that will impact upon themselves and the people within their organization. There needs to be time taken to contemplate potential shifts from stimuli to their organization. Effective leaders need to regularly analyse their organizations for circumstances that could negatively impact upon their staff and prepare them to navigate positively through to success.

I have found that oft-times leaders do not distinguish between ‘change’ and ‘transition’. Change refers to the alteration of circumstances around us from our external environment, whereas transition is the internal experience that people undergo as a result of external change. The key here is to realize that change can be implemented quite rapidly, but people can vary significantly in their capacity to catch up with the changes. This is where leaders need to be aware of factors such as: spectrum of early to late adopters, values alignment, role impact, change credibility, work demand, previous change disappointments, personal/social impact, career path, loss of perceived benefits and constant open communication.

In conclusion, to be a successful change-agent one needs to keep cultivating a number of competencies. Leaders need to keep alert to the constant shifts occurring around them and preparing others to navigate the terrain. They must increase their capacity to plan change initiatives, along with contingencies more effectively. Leaders need to appropriately involve others according to their levels of influence, in discussions, decisions and the necessary information required for successful implementation. Effective leaders cast a clear motivating and engaging vision worthy of investment for others to engage their energies. Quality change-agents acknowledge the positive contribution of past approaches and reveal how they are no longer appropriate in achieving optimum outcomes. And finally, Effective leaders create a positive environment, listening, coaching, supporting, modelling and discussing with individuals their journey through the change/s.

Author's Bio: 

David Allan has a Master of Business degree and is the Managing Director of Advance Lifestyle Development an executive coaching company that focuses on developing leaders and maintaining balance. David has delivered training in: coaching skills, effective leadership, strategic management, delegation, time management, team building, change management, conflict resolution, communication, overcoming procrastination, emotional intelligence, and project management.

He has coached a number of top level managers who have had numerous staff under their direction, helping them to re-prioritize and set effective goals for themselves and their organizations. Feedback from them has been: clearer understanding of the gaps, better work-life balance, clearer focus, more effective time management, better strategic planning, and team cohesiveness.

His credentials include:
o Masters of Business - thesis in Executive Coaching (QUT).
o Bachelors in Cross Cultural Studies (USA)
o Accredited South Pacific CoachNet Coach & Coach mentor
o Certificate IV (TAE40110) in Training and Assessment
o Special studies in theology (Morling College Sydney)
o Trained in behavioral inventories (New Insight & DiSC).
o Auto Electrical Trade ticket (completed an apprenticeship)
o Founding member International Association of Coaches (IAC)
o Since 1992, conducted public speaking and workshops
o Facilitator of Leadership retreat groups
o Trained facilitator in Prepare / Enrich - relationships
o Trained in 'Applied Suicide Intervention skills'

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