When I ask people to define effective leadership I get a wide array of answers. However, they often share a common them and it is something called change. Change is a catalyst that seems to require a bevy of leadership skills; communication, courage, concern for people and strategy (to name a few). This principle was recently revisited when I spent time with a talented group of people.
Last week I was privileged to spend a day leading a workshop for the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce. This newly formed entity is a result of the merger of three separate Chamber of Commerce offices in our valley. It is a progressive and logical decision to amalgamate three similar, small-sized enterprises. However, the logistics and leadership involved in this merger is no small feat! During their first formal post-merger board retreat, much of their time together focused on various aspects of leading change.
For many participants, a key ‘aha’ moment of the day occurred when I presented the chart below. It outlines five fundamental ingredients which are required to lead change. Similar to baking a cake, if an ingredient is missed, the cake won’t bake properly (see Baking a Cake with One Ingredient). From a change leadership perspective, this chart helps us identify what will occur when we fail to include all of the necessary ingredients in a change process. It is also a simple means by which to diagnose change efforts that are not going well!
While it is tempting to spend time describing the content of this chart, it really needs no explanation. This is why it resonates so quickly with people when I use it. However, the diagnosis is often easier than the remedy. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution and lasting change will require a lot of time and intentional leadership.
I’ll conclude with a few simple questions. In your experience with change, which of these ingredients is most often missed? Which one is the most challenging to provide? Which one is your ‘sweet spot’ (the easiest)? Finally, which one is your ‘sour spot’ (the hardest)?
Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman Email: firstname.lastname@example.org