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On the lookout for the winds of change

Change arrives to an organization under several names.  Sometimes subtle: continuous improvement; new leadership: new legislation. Other times not so subtle: downsizing, restructuring, outsourcing, re-engineering.

Some of the changes are reactive, a result of external forces that have already affected an organization’s performance. Other changes are proactive, initiated by the managers and leaders to take advantage of emerging opportunities, particularly in fast changing industries or technologies. The ability to adapt fast both at the employee and organizational level can be the difference between thriving and surviving, between growth and demise.

The biggest mistake both individuals and organizations can make is to live in a vacuum, to be blind to the world outside your job, your cubicle, your competitors, your industry.  If change is not only a necessity but an unavoidable force, those able to adapt have a greater change to survive.

The reality is that chance seldom comes naturally or easily.  The ability to develop, manage and execute a successful change strategy is more often than not missed. 

Some of the key elements to successfully execute change I would strongly recommend once a leadership decision has been made are:  

From the leadership perspective:

  • Establish a sense of urgency.  Understanding and establishing goals and objectives as well as realistic timelines will provide a basic roadmap.
  • Create a powerful coalition to guide the effort.  Leadership messaging must be united once a decision has been made.
  • Identify leaders who will be able to guide and communicate the vision and to identify and remove obstacles
  • Plan for and create“short term-wins”
  • Anchor changes to the corporate culture.

From an employee perspective

  • Stay on top of your profession, updating skills and understanding emerging technology. This way you may be able to contribute insight and relevant information towards a successful transition.
  • Volunteer for change strategy teams or think tanks.  Take the initiative to be part of something greater than yourself.
  • Seek to inform yourself.  Trying to understand the big picture may enable you to understand why change is needed and what benefits it will bring about.
  • Embrace it to the best of your ability.  Once a decision is made you have two choices be part of the future or risk being left behind.
  • Network, join professional organizations, attend professional events and seminars.  Share any knowledge assimilated with your team and leaders.
  • Maintain a professional and current online presence.

All this being said I would be remiss to caution what in my option are potentially negative elements of change:  Change for the sake of change, without vision, purpose and most importantly without measurable results and artificial change.  Changing a logo or a slogan are not enough to make change lasting.  For change to be meaningful in an organization it must be lived not just spoken about. 

Carolina Billings

Carolina Billings

Carolina M. Billings is an executive with 15+ year’s leadership experience in the fields of Business Development, Human Resources and Finance. As CFO-CHRO of a multi-million business conglomerate, she performs a truly interdisciplinary role within a portfolio of diverse industries ranging from Supply Chain, Logistics & Distribution, Wealth Management, Furniture Import, Sales & Distribution as well as Interior Design. She champions leadership initiatives as well as empowering and coaching/mentoring others to lead. Developing a hybrid of Finance and Human Resources has enable her to become leading business partner. Her great ability to influence and engage others in the pursuit of goals and objectives makes her a true innovator and change agent. Carolina is currently pursuing her Masters in Interdisciplinary studies with Royal Roads University, She holds Graduate Certificates from Cornell University and Queen’s University in the fields of Change Management and Leadership. She is a Co-Active Professional coach currently doing her practicum towards Certification with ICF. She holds a CHRL designation and a High Honor’s HRM Graduate Certificate. Carolina is the founder of Big Fish Coaching a private practice specializing in personal leadership, career coaching, conflict resolutions and life change management.
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