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How Business Leaders Can Push For Change Before A Crisis Demands It

by Juan Riboldi, president of Ascent Advisor

The financial challenges and social disruption imposed by the pandemic have forced many companies to change — often drastically. As with any change, there are new opportunities that if seized can be turned into gains.

Leaders of some organizations are acting now to reposition their organizations for growth. But how many thought their business needed transformative change well before the economy was shut down? And did their inaction then make their struggles more pronounced now?

Companies need to transform before financial performance has started to decline. The world is changing fast. To remain relevant, we must adapt to the new conditions, but merely reacting to change is insufficient for success. We are required to reinvent ourselves, reimagine what we do and reposition our organization. We need to strategically transform.

Here are some ideas for leaders to consider about strategically transforming their companies:

Strategic transformation is about value creation.

Strategic transformation is how leaders create value in today’s economy. Strategic transformation follows predictable patterns that if correctly applied will lead to value creation. Those who are able to implement the new direction with speed, clarity and precision gain an edge. To fuel economic growth and attain success, leaders need to reinvent their organizations around creating value.

Reframe change as opportunity.

Many people balk at change and feel threatened by it. Anything that happens to us can be immediately framed as a threat. But it’s important not to stay stuck in that frame of mind, which can make us limited and vulnerable. As we reframe the situation as an opportunity, we take charge and shape the future. It’s no longer what’s happening to us, but what we are doing about it that matters. Whether a change becomes an opportunity or a threat is up to each of us. Transformational leaders reframe change as opportunity.

Create a shared vision.

We all have a vision. It may be simple or grand, but that is not what makes the difference between ultimate success and failure. The decisive factor is the intent. Is the vision self-centered or is it for the greater good? As we focus on others’ needs and address broader interests, we overcome low trust and instead build on common purpose. Most visions fail to inspire others simply because they are self-centered. A powerful vision inspires others with a cause greater than themselves.

Focus on execution.

While a leader’s bold, innovative ideas can push an organization in the right direction, many such plans fall short because the leaders can’t execute the transformation. Transformational leaders focus people on delivering what matters most.

Gain confidence by delivering results.

The challenge for leaders is to inspire confidence in uncertain times. How can you tell if the direction your organization is pursuing will succeed or fail? Not all change is for the better. Progress is made as you test and learn quickly. The key is to deliver regular wins that can be leveraged into large gains. The best predictor of ultimate success is continuous improvement.

Whether you are launching an innovative startup, repositioning a striving business for growth, leading a large corporation through industry disruption, or navigating social and economic change in the public sector, you need to deliver what matters most — to you, to your team, to your organization, and to society at large. At your work and in your personal life, how you respond to change determines your chances for success.

 

Juan Riboldi is an international business advisor and principal and president of Ascent Advisor, a management consulting firm. He is the author of the upcoming book, “Strategic Transformation: How to Deliver What Matters Most”. For over 20 years, Riboldi has been advising leaders at the highest levels of business, education and government on strategy, organization, and execution. He successfully launched and led three consulting firms, and completed post-graduate studies at Harvard Business School and Wharton School of Business.

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