Friday, March 15, 2013

Being led by change

The problem with "being led by change" is that the change message -- no matter how communicated -- is a lagging indicator of decisions already made.

Thus, the message is just catching up with, or perhaps even trailing behind, the momentum of the change. Consequently, to get into a leading -- rather than being led by -- posture requires not only getting ahead of the message, but sorting out un-communicated decisions already made and in the queue.

If you are in the room and at the table when the change decisions are being made, you're not being led... you're involved and (hopefully) participating even if you're on the back bench. But if you're being led (even if by the market, political pressures, etc) you're not in the room and there is a time lag.

If you are a manager, then you usually seek to minimize the lag and get as much running room as you can. (some call it "change runway") This means situational awareness, seeing things from multiple vantages in time and space, using your network, being careful about rumors, and communicating frequently with your subordinates who have an even longer lag and less awareness.

However, this only manages the messenger process; it doesn't change the message. How you deal with the message itself may make you a hero or a heal. Each circumstance you will deal with will be unique.

Check out these books in the library at Square Peg Consulting