“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
More often than not, we are faced with surprises and bewilderment in our journey of life. We miss our goals despite the best of intentions and efforts; sometimes, we lose our way and end up in a different place. Not everything happens instantaneously; normally, the signs before a storm-like event are clear for some time before the disaster ultimately strikes. What do we do when we get an inkling of the obstacle or the challenge ahead?
Recognising the reality
Changes on the ground are hard to recognise unless we are proactive in seeking and receiving the signals from our teams, customers, business partners and the macro environment. Leaders have to stay on the ground where the company’s products or services are bought and sold, the environments where the thinkers and influencers in the industry deliberate on the developments in the environment. The ivory towers in the form of the glitzy offices of the company do not give us the input needed. We have to spot the changes in the behaviours of the stakeholders of our business and connect the dots to get a holistic view of reality. All the leaders across the ranks have to be on the same page about this reality and think of concerted attempts to deal with the situations at hand and those likely to evolve in the due course of time.
Getting away from the comfort zone
Often teams are happy monitoring the results and do not track the input parameters adequately. All of us suffer cognitive bias and sometimes, we do not see the causality; we attribute the wrong reason behind a change taking place and hence, miss the point. We lean too much on our experiences in the past rather than engaging in meaningful inquiry and analysis.
Ultimately, we lose the plot and make ourselves vulnerable to ceding our standing in the market to the competition. We cannot loosen the grip on the input parameters and stay in the comfort zone of doing what we traditionally have been doing always.
Changes happen in the environment and as a result, the demand pattern could change, production methods and tools could undergo changes or the supply chain could get disrupted in some way. Hence, the traditional methods or the plans made at the start of a period might no more yield the desired results. We must change quickly; the faster we do, the better it is!
No procrastination, only Action!
Sometimes we are caught off guard and eventually trapped in a whirlpool hurting ourselves badly. Many other organisations have a good tracking system that brings out the changes in their environment and their leaders keep learning continuously about the developments. They permeate the culture of transparency and can learn about developments quickly. However, it is not enough to learn about them; they have to act upon these rather than ruminating over them again and again. They need to quickly decide what is to be done and move quickly on to the phase of taking action.
Often the actions needed are best known to the folks in the trenches. The leaders must have the humility to engage with their direct reports and the teams under them. And the process of consultation and thinking through could be time-consuming. Hence, the leaders have to ensure that these interventions are carried out quickly and they have to transparently communicate to the organisation about the steps being taken to address the issues.
It is not pragmatic to undertake drastic transformation in an organisation for it takes time for all the stakeholders to understand and appreciate the need for a change. We know, every little change is met with resistance and hence, one has to manage the implementation of a change to generate the desired results of the change initiative. Hence, large doses of change aren’t practical.
Mere announcements of the steps being taken or launching projects with fanfare are not enough. One has to track the implementation of these steps and make continual improvements.
We need measured bold steps!