Even solo entrepreneurs find themselves in positions where they are called to lead. And as business owners, we must prepare for, and know how to effectively cope with the changing landscape of business. Here to lead us in the right direction is guest expert, Dr. Marlene Caroselli, who presents the argument for preparation, and discussion questions you can use with a colleague or your team to stay ahead of the curve. Thank you, Marlene!
Jack Welch, dubbed the Manager of the Century, echoes this need with his assertion that “if the rate of change outside the organization is greater than the rate of change inside the organization, we are looking at the beginning of the end.”
We find another echo in the words of Dartmouth’s president Jim Yong Kim. In an interview for “The Dartmouth” (Katie Gonzalez, July 30, 2010, online edition), he discusses his use of science in various problem-solving situations. The ability to change and adapt doesn’t belong to the animal world alone. If we humans are determined to prepare for future challenges, he maintains we must remain flexible–particularly when dealing with threats that are not yet well-defined or diagnosed.
As many have observed, the only way to handle the future is to be prepared for it. That preparation involves the exploration of many scenarios that, as yet, are not easy to discern. But, the best leaders make the effort to find those patterns–on an ongoing basis. They know that optimizing the future means analyzing today’s events and making changes if necessary. Leaders do not shy away from change. They embrace it, knowing change is the only way to effect continuous improvement.
ASSIGNMENT: Below are questions related to change. Select one and discuss it with someone whose business acumen you admire. Or prepare a list of questions related to coping with organizational change. Select one question from this list for each team.
1. What was your reaction when you first heard about a recent change? Looking back, how could you have reacted better?
2. Did you have negative feelings about the change (such as guilt, fear, anxiety, anger, betrayal, or hopelessness)? How did you cope with them? How could you have coped with them in a better fashion?
3. How did the change affect you personally? What were the advantages and disadvantages? Were you able to objectively analyze the costs and benefits? How could you have done a better job?
4. What were some of the questions that you had when the change was announced? How did get answers to these questions? How could you have done a better job of getting answers to the questions?
5. How did your family react to the organizational changes? How could you have presented the information to your family in a better fashion? How could they have provided you with more support?
6. Were you ready for the change? How did you prepare for the change? How could you make yourself ready for the next change?
7. What support did you receive from your colleagues and your managers? How could you have obtained better support?
8. Did some new opportunities arise for you as a result of this change? Were you aware of these potential opportunities at the beginning of the change?
9. What were some of your losses as a result of this change? How did you cope with them? How could you have coped with them in a better fashion?
10. How long did it take for you to bounce back from the change? What could you have done to make yourself more resilient and bounce back faster?
11. What new professional skills did you have to learn after the change? How quickly and effectively did you learn these skills? How could you have done better?
12. Do you feel more secure in your job after the change? If not, what plans do you have for coping with the next change?
Marlene Caroselli, Ed.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org), is the author of 60+ business books. This blog is based on her recent ebook Jesus, Jonas & Janus: The Leadership Triumvirate, available in Nook and Kindle versions.