Learn about why changes are threatening and need focused leadership.
- The success of every organization rests on its ability to change. Emotionally intelligent leaders play a key role in both catalyzing and facilitating change in their organizations. This requires you to cultivate your own comfort with change, finding ways to both embrace change and successfully manage the psychological challenges affiliated with change. In addition, you have to help others do the same. Did you know that humans are actually wired to resist change.
There are four brain structures that can be activated by change, driving fear, fatigue, and ultimately failure. I detail this in my book, "Wired to Resist." Harvard Business Review says that 50 to 70% of change initiatives fail. It's not usually due to poor design or even execution. But rather leaders didn't take into account the resistance the followers would likely have. High EQ leaders realized that for any change to succeed people need the right guidance and support in moving through their natural, biologically-driven resistance.
I've built a brain science based change training that does just that. As a leader you also need to look for signs that change is needed. Invest time in looking at your organization, industry, and market to see what factors are influencing current and future states. You also need to look at trends in the workforce. Will you be able to find the people you need when you need them? What skill gaps need to be filled so that your current talent will be ready for the future? What about your customers? What patterns do you see in how they use your product or service? What disruptive forces might challenge your organization or present a unique opportunity? You must continually scan for signs that change is needed so you don't identify problems too late to solve them.
Every organization has a natural bell-shaped curve of development. The organization is created and then starts to grow. When it becomes successful everyone wants to celebrate. As it achieves its peak most people are really resistant to change. You'll hear comments like this is working, don't mess with success. Or why fix something that's not broken? But if you hang out too long in your glory days you'll find yourself sliding down the backside of achievement. And the longer you wait to identify the signs the harder it gets to recover.
Timing is everything with change. You want to be ahead of the curve. This means that you have to be thinking beyond the current situation and identifying the next launching point for your company. Apple is a great example. It first invented itself with the Macintosh computer. Then it struggled for a bit and started sliding down the backside of the curve. But the leaders learned from that experience. We can now chart the company's success as a series of new curbs with the launch of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
And they just started making autonomous cars. You can do the same with your organization. It's the emotionally intelligent leaders who drive these changes. They do this by challenging the status quo. Be willing to ask questions. Look for other even contrary data from what everyone else is looking at. Suggest alternative reasons or theories. Next be willing to champion the change. Find ways to talk about your ideas that are clear and compelling. Inspire others with your passion and be sure to look for and cultivate your advocates.
Finally, model the change. Sometimes new ideas are scary. So find ways to facilitate others through the change you're proposing. Suggest that you explore with a pilot project or prototype. Many find it less intimidating to take change out for a test drive before they commit. The most important thing to remember is to read emotions as you go. People will show you what they're thinking and feeling. Your job is to listen and respond in ways that address their concerns.
All of these strategies will help you and those you lead create successful change.
- Analyze the brain science behind emotional intelligence.
- Identify and assess your emotions.
- Determine how to exercise emotional self-control.
- Identify your triggers and how to respond the them.
- Assess how others respond at work.
- Determine how to maximize team performance using emotional intelligence.
- Discover how to catalyze change.