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The 6 Pillars of Leadership # 4 CHANGE

“The world we have created is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein

From an Axe to Mars

Once, the pinnacle of human technology was the stone axe.

My grandmother was born in a house without electricity. I heard the world calling in the warble of a 14.4 KBPS dial-up modem. My daughter was born three years before Apple released the first iPhone; we have a robot on Mars.

Change is inevitable. Change is accelerating.

Unless we learn to thrive through change, failure is all but inevitable.

In this blog, we’ll explore how curiosity and continuous learning create resilient teams who thrive through change.


The brutal opportunity of change


Stay curious to stay relevant.

What made us successful last year will not help us across the finish line next year.

The skills, knowledge, and strengths which won your promotion will not help you ascend the corporate ladder.

Technology, automation, and climate change mean many jobs will morph or disappear.

We’re told as children that curiosity killed the cat. But amidst change, curiosity is essential.

We hear that employee morale is low because things are ever-changing. But employees dislike change when they have no say in its implementation. I no longer reassure my team that things will stay stable because I know change is inevitable.

Only through adaptation, learning, and continuous innovation can we thrive in our personal and business lives.

As a leader, I remain focused on making innovation possible by ensuring our team remains curious. Curiosity makes you question how things work or why you do things in specific ways.

Curiosity is the first necessary step before daring to challenge the status quo.

We can foster curiosity daily by infusing a healthy dose of pressure into our organisations. When things are going smoothly, humans tend to settle. It’s natural to stay on the beaten path. If everything is going well, why make the effort to improve?

To keep your organisation curious, never settle. Once a result is obtained, celebrate, then set a more ambitious target immediately. Always raise the bar a bit higher.

When you manage a high-performing team, continuously setting new stretch goals will ensure you always foster curiosity and you also keep everyone motivated.

Win or learn, the importance of fostering a growth mindset

Change is tricky in part because it requires failure. Sometimes lots of failures.

Few people like to fail. We live in a society which bombards us with relentless messages about success. And this distracts us from looking for the learning in mistakes and failure.

And when success becomes your team’s new norm, why should they take risks? Why should they make mistakes? Why should they fail?

The answer is that risks and failures bring invaluable learning. This is where leaders can make the most significant difference by reminding our team we do not win or lose; we win or learn.

When your behaviour is consistent with this mantra, you follow through with post-match reviews and coaching sessions when things don’t go as planned or goals or KPIs are missed.

This shows your team that what matters most is learning from mistakes. This creates an organisation where it is safe to experiment and to innovate without fear of failure.

Building resilient teams

I ask, “How are you?” She responds, “I’m busy!”

I have ten or more of these interactions every day.

Too often, we go through our day staring at our phones, replying to messages, doing what we believe is expected from us, and thinking we’re productive.

Being busy takes the place of being effective.

We must be willing to fail and learn in a world where change is everywhere, and innovation is critical to survival. And we must do this often.

My experience is that failing and learning is tiring. Especially at the beginning when not winning still equates to losing in people’s minds.

Building resilience helps an organisation handle change. But developing resilience is the mental equivalent of training for a marathon or climbing Mount Everest.

Change often feels like a long road or a steep mountain. You will not make it unless your legs are strong enough to support you, no matter how powerful your belief.

You can help your team build resilience by asking them to put time aside each day to think about why they’re doing what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

Taking time to reflect in a world where we’re bombarded with demands constantly may seem like a luxury.

But without self-reflection, we cannot recognise patterns, build the resilience to accept failure, or continue the effort required for success.

And without resilience, no team will be able to run the marathon of change.



6 CHANGE – driving things to start doing today

1 – STOP being afraid to ask questions. Stay curious to stay relevant.

2 – START learning; stop failing. Eliminate failure from your vocabulary, and engage with learning.

3 – START building resilience. Make space for reflection and feedback to drive change within.

4 – KEEP repeating that you are accountable for anything that happens to eliminate excuses

5 – SET incentives to change by promoting a safe environment where everyone can speak her mind.

Please share this BLOG with your colleagues and friends if you have enjoyed it.

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