Leadership author, John Kotter, in his book Leading Change, wrote that “Speed of change is the driving force. Leading change competently is the only answer.”
The world of commerce is growing at an alarming rate, as leaders, we need to up our momentum and keep abreast, if not ahead of these changes.
The Need for Change
Due to the fast-paced technological inventions, intense debates are being held as to what impact these advances would have on mankind and on productivity in the marketplace. Self-driving vehicles and AI will result in job redundancy in the workplace, increasing the levels of unemployment. Questions are being posed as to what affects our hyper connected world is having on mankind’s health and psyche? These technological changes will challenge us as leaders to prepare our organisations, our staff compliments and even bring change to our status quo, as we keep on track with changing commerce.
Kouzes and Posner, leadership experts, wrote that: “Leaders search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative ways to improve the organization. In doing so they experiment and take risks.”
OK, but what do we do?
As a leader, have you contemplated the onslaught of changes? Are you challenging the status quo and pushing your organization into the future, or are you comfortably plodding along? What are the best ways of dealing with these changes?
First – focus. We need to remain focused on our areas of business only. Consider only the changes in commerce which would impact the livelihood of your business.
Second – learn. Remain on the cutting edge of your field by keeping track of trends. I do this by observing, reading and communicating with fellow leaders in the marketplace.
Third – lead. I recognize my responsibility to my team and my role in leading them into the future. I need to prepare them and my organization for future changes. To ensure success, I need to get out of my comfort zone, pose trying questions about our business and challenge my leaders to think out of the box.
Forth – trust. A leader needs to put his trust in his team, trusting that they have been groomed and modelled to achieve ultimate success. I have full confidence in my team and believe that they are equipped to deal with our changing business sector, making decisions which will advance our business. Often change brings about mistakes, but it is important to look at these mistakes as stepping stones to success. I trust that God has the future in His hands and that He will equip us to face the future.
Fifth – risk. To move my business forward, I need to take calculated risks. In the business world, safety and comfort today can lead to bankruptcy and loss tomorrow. I need to strategically see where my business is headed and take risks to ensure that we stand out within our market.
The Kodak Dilemma
Kodak may be an example of a company that failed to see the importance of moving with the times. For most of the twentieth century, Kodak held the monopoly in the market for cameras and film. However, when Kodak saw the development of digital technology, they decided to continue with their focus on selling photographic film rather than adapting and growing with this emerging technology.
The result of their decision was bankruptcy, which they filed for in 2012. They narrowly succeeded in averting this by selling off much of their business and focused on certain niche products going forward. They had failed to anticipate that the emerging technological breakthroughs would have a huge negative impact on their livelihood.
The only No-Change
In Malachi 3:6 we read: “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob are not destroyed.” In the midst of the change racing around us, we can rest in the certainty that God does not change. If we rest in Him, we have a stable foundation within our fast-paced world.
If we rest in Him, we have the capacity to keep standing in the midst of change. However, not only does God not change, but He promises to go with us into the future, helping us swim through the currents of change.
It’s very daunting changing the course of your business, like Kodak’s path from photographic to digital technology was no easy feat. The best answer lies in trusting God, that we may with prayer and faith defy all the powers of discouragement. When deciding to change, you need to be prepared for the powers of darkness to derail you, but they are chained. Some untrusting colleagues will also make their opposing attempts, but your faith will not fail you. These threats are spoiled and disarmed, and triumphed over, in the cross of Christ, exemplified by your faith. Who then dares fight against us, while God himself is fighting for us?
About the Author: Dr Alan Louis is a third generation entrepreneur in a family with a 100-year business history. He devoted his life to Christianity as a child. Awarded a PhD in Commerce, is an Ultra Ironman Triathlete Gold medallist and was inducted in the IBC Hall of Fame for entrepreneurship. Internationally he has served on more than 100 private corporate boards, and has experienced the trials and successes of commerce for 3 decades.