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Article No.: 09-3

Article Title: It's Time for a New Leadership Paradigm (Part II)

Author: Linda Gravett, Ph.D., SPHR, CEQC and John Kucia, Ed.D.

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(Note: This is a continuation of our article from last month.)

Our observation of successful change initiatives lead us to believe that Leaders in Balance have some common ways of thinking, being, and acting.  Leaders in Balance focus on the work and the organization’s Mission, Core Values, and Strategic Objectives.  Even when distractions are buzzing about them, Leaders in Balance manage the information overload and tune into people, events, and information that will help them achieve the organization’s key business imperatives.

Leaders in Balance focus first on behavior changes in themselves and others, understanding that attitudes may not change immediately.  Employees may not fully agree, for instance, that a leader’s newly-published safety procedures are necessary.  The leader wants employees to engage in safe activities first and foremost, regardless of their personal beliefs.  Once employees experience a safe, stress free workplace firsthand their attitude towards following safety procedures is likely to change.

A Leader in Balance establishes methods to build new competencies for herself and others in the organization.  For example, if the company has decided that one of its key objectives during the coming three years is to expand its marketplace to Southeast Asia, key players will need to expand their language skills, operate in a different culture, and be well versed in the economy and currency of the target countries.

Through the conventions and traditions that comprise an organization’s culture, the Leader in Balance achieves results and effects changes that ensure the company remains cutting edge.  The leadership behaviors that are critical during the change effort are envisioning; communicating; motivating; measuring; and retaining change.

Strategic leaders are aware of how events in their environment affect the organization’s ability to succeed.  Given constant change in a global economy, effective leaders have a vision of how their organization can leverage employees’ skills, knowledge and abilities to take advantage of evolving markets.  Visionary leaders regularly ask, “what if we…?” and focus on breakthroughs in technology, services, and products that will provide a competitive advantage.  From this vision, anchored in Core Values, flow key result areas or objectives that drive the actions of the leadership team and all employees.

The critical challenge for a Leader in Balance is finding an effective means to transfer values and a vision for the future from their hearts and minds to all the organization’s stakeholders.  A strategic plan, for instance, is only as effective as the weakest link within the organization, for every employee’s talents, abilities, and behaviors must be called upon to implement the plan. 

Our experience with top executives who have taken their organizations through significant change efforts is they use a consistent framework for building commitment to change, a framework we call the “PACE” of change:

Using the PACE model shown above, we recommend four phases for communicating and building commitment to change:  preparation, acceptance, commitment, and execution.

If you have any questions or need more information about this article, please complete our Contact Form, or contact Dr. Gravett by telephone at 513-753-8870.

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