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Change Leaders

What makes a great leader? What are the top three qualities on your list? Strength, generosity and vulnerability are on mine. These qualities are on display when you find your voice and tell your story. 

To be a great leader you must encourage people to follow you – to inspire and motivate people to make changes – of mindset or behaviour or both. How can a great leader do this most effectively? With good storytelling…a good story is one that generously shares the truth – “all progress starts with telling the truth” … which involves displaying vulnerability … which requires strength. 

People love authenticity – they want to know that they are not being ‘played’, tricked or manipulated. So great leaders share the ‘naked truth’ in a positive and constructive manner.

A good story has a beginning, middle and end…just as a good movie does. You take the listeners on a journey, that if told well, captivates and inspires them. Then they understand the context, the reasons for the journey and the benefits of travelling the journey. 

They are better off for listening to the story – primed and ready to continue their own journey towards a better future. So as a leader, I suggest that you continue to work on improving your storytelling skills – as it is a key focus of mine.

Be a Great Change Leader

Recent events have confirmed what many change leaders already knew — though your change vision is critical to driving alignment and buy-in, that picture will seldom stay the same from the start of a change project to its finish. 

Even projects on short timelines, like the ones many businesses undertook to roll out technologies, will need to respond to ongoing volatility internally and externally.

Against this reality, change managers will need to:

  • Establish ongoing listening mechanisms that allow them to keep a pulse on employee and stakeholder sentiment.
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in the process, and modify change initiatives, or even the change vision itself, to ensure the work continues to be relevant and will deliver value.
  • Lean more into the art of change management than the science, making determinations in the moment about which steps and tools are needed and which aren’t likely to add value that surpasses the lost value of delays.
  • Adopt agile practices, such as daily stand-ups meetings, that enable continuous coordination and evaluation of new variables as they surface.
  • Update employees on strategy and what is needed from them.
  • Leverage “sprints” that result in minimally viable change management resources that can be tested and evolved for continued relevance.
Dial up the communication channels – use technology to leverage this. 
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