The Only Certainty is Uncertainty

Now that I’ve taken you through the 3-step process of adaptive change, I want to emphasize one main idea: the only certainty about this process is uncertainty.

While all 3 steps are crucial to any major organizational shift, those 3 phases will look different each time. There is no “one size fits all” model for successful adaptive change. And that’s why effective leadership is so crucial.

Juan Carlos Eichholz has a few useful suggestions for how to be this kind of leader. This week, I’ll walk you through several of his suggestions.

First, Eichholz is adamant that adaptive change must be a top-down process. Top-level leadership must serve as models for the rest of the organization. You’ve probably heard the cliché “be the change you want to see,” but it applies in this case. If the rest of your team doesn’t see your enthusiasm and commitment, they are unlikely to make the changes for you.

Second, you can’t expect to see change overnight. Eichholz writes, “[change] doesn’t work by simply giving instructions and handbooks, because people have to learn and bear the losses attached to that learning.” You need to be patient and expect some bumps along the way. You also need to be creative and try different ways of expressing what you want done and how you want people to change. You also need to consult others and get their feedback on the challenges they are facing in this process.

That brings me to my last point. Change is a team effort. Although you must remain committed and firm in your decision to enact change, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the people it will effect most. Now is the time to open your ears, mind and heart. This is where your emotional intelligence and empathy will be put to the test.

Change is stressful for even the most well-prepared organizations. You never know what challenges might arise. That’s why I strongly suggest that you consider enlisting the services of an executive coach to help guide you through. A coach will give you much needed impartiality during a time when emotions often run high, and will ensure that lines of communication remain open between top leadership and the rest of your team. If you’re facing this kind of change, consider getting in touch. You can reach me via my website, Twitter or LinkedIn. I look forward to discussing how we can get you moving in the right direction.

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