Leadership in the Winds of Change
“You have to stay updated on trends, social things and pop culture; you need to stay with the times and keep evolving.”
- Corey Feldman
The title of an old Bob Dylan song, “the times they are a changing,” describes the regular cycles everyone encounters in their lifetime. The winds of change speak clearly to anyone listening. Good leaders are adept at sensing subtle shifts in social beliefs and behaviors, enabling them to make the right decisions in a crisis or shifting environments.
Understanding and adapting to change requires a flexible mindset. Leaders rely on their instincts and a heightened sense of awareness to navigate current trends as well as seasons of uncertainty, as was the case in 2020. Culture is a powerful force never to be taken lightly; it can help us or hurt us depending on our awareness and understanding.
Our organizational culture reflects our company’s personality, which influences our customer/client base. When the collective cultures of large companies change direction in response to emerging trends, the impact of their influence can be substantial.
John C. Maxwell commenting on trends, writes, “As leaders, we attach ourselves to what we create. In doing so, we’re tempted to marry ourselves to outdated systems in which we’re emotionally invested. When warning signs present themselves, instead of heeding them, we keep our faith in a system that has served us well in the past.” (1)
Trends Challenges and Outcomes
“If we do not bring the necessary challenges to our people, we will not bring the needed changes to our organizations.”
Intuitive leaders can see the changes coming before others; they’re sensitive to cultural shifts and emerging trends in the marketplace. Knowing when and how to develop the necessary skills to effectively lead people through the twists and turns of emerging trends and uncertain times is a combination of skill, talent, and intuition.
On several occasions, I noted how consistently high achievers tend to have a significantly heightened sense of perception. They not only possess a high level of self-awareness but are acutely aware of what’s happening around them as well. Good leaders have a sixth sense about the nature of change; they can motivate their people with a compelling vision and, when faced with challenges, can prepare their teams for what’s ahead.
“If you sharpen your skills today, you can be on the cutting edge tomorrow”
Practice Intentional Thinking
Intentional thinking is a learned discipline; it’s an invaluable investment in our future. We can develop a love for learning by creating, planning, and developing ideas empowering us to shape our future. Anyone who’s benefited from researching subjects they needed to know already has what’s required to be intentionally curious and intuitive.
Ask, and You Will Receive
Peter Drucker says, “My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.” Having the persistence of a childlike curiosity unlocks the answers to a multitude of questions. Children tend to keep asking questions until they receive a response that satisfies them. Children are honest inquirers, not embarrassed by the vulnerability of ignorance. If we ask the right questions, we’ll receive the needed answers.
The Willingness to Change
The willingness to change changes everything. The difference between curious people and those who believe they cannot change is understanding the power behind asking “why.” The wisdom and knowledge necessary for personal and corporate development come to all who passionately pursue them. We must believe in the power of asking “why” and “why not.”
It isn’t a lack of capacity that limits people; it’s the unwillingness to challenge their beliefs about their potential that does. Seeing the world as we are and not as it is, hinders us more than any outward challenges we face.
Preparation is an education within itself. Developing our strengths expands our intuitive skills just as they will our people. In our current fast-paced, rapidly changing environment, we need to anticipate what’s around the corner and know how to prepare our people to meet those challenges. In his book Leadershift, Maxwell observes, “The future seems to be coming at us faster than ever. It is not going to slow down. Would anybody seriously consider the idea that tomorrow will be at a slower pace than today? Technology, social media, and the rate of change will never allow that to happen.
“Be prepared to ride the cycles and trends of life; success is never permanent, and failure is never final.”
– Brian Tracy
(1) John Maxwell “Reading the Trends of Change” https://bit.ly/3d1LMe7
(2) Leadershift 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, pp 2-3