Insights For Businesses To Embrace Uncertainty
Periods of change can be frightening, an uncertain time for many businesses, even those in the ever-changing IT industry. No matter how often or rapidly change happens, it can still be difficult to comprehend and businesses that fail to support employees in adapting to change risk being left behind. The IT industry is constantly dealing with the disruption in other industries, and this disruption forces employees to confront major business transformation and change to the way things are done. As technology changes, employees worry about their job security and fear the unknown; increasingly traditional processes and techniques become irrelevant and they are forced to adapt and learn new skills.
It takes a strong business leader to successfully implement and manage change and encourage their team to move forward and keep learning. While IT professionals can be more open to technological advancements, business leaders still need to mitigate the risk that change can pose around their employees. They need to be prepared to break habits, lead by example, and build a culture of innovation.
Change and Transformation Management Expert, Kerryn Fewster from Change2020, shares some of her insights on the first steps leaders should take to embrace uncertainty:
Find your Tribe
This doesn’t mean surrounding yourself with people who are mirrors of you, but rather those who are committed to the same outcomes, who will challenge and support you – who are open and keen to see change and innovation.
They probably come from diverse backgrounds and they bring different perspectives – but they still listen to you, support you, lobby with you and remind you why you do what you do when you face challenging times.
During times of change, it’s crucial to ask questions. Don’t accept and settle for the status quo of ‘this is how we’ve always done things’. Consider every challenge as an opportunity to improve.
Build empathy so you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to go beyond understanding what happens or what is done – go deeper! Ask why things are done a certain way, or why people choose to do things in that way.
Get Passionate about Learning
People have a tendency to get stuck in their own ways once they have processes and systems in place, but it’s so important to indulge in lifelong learning. Push yourself and what you know, look for new channels to learn.
Keep your brain active throughout life, take in information from every interaction you have. Form your own opinions from diverse reading and conversations. Always seek to grow your intellect and emotional intelligence.
Respect the Past
It’s important to understand how your business got to where it is – look back and understand the decisions that have been made by leaders before you. Understand the environment at the time and the changes that have taken place. Not understanding the past can cause you to make mistakes which could be avoided.
When we are surrounded by people who look like us, think like us and behave like us, we suffer from group-think. This is dangerous as we don’t get new ideas and we don’t get the opportunity to learn from different perspectives. People with different backgrounds and experiences to ours offer valuable insight when faced with the same problems as we do – and they might be a great asset to your team.
Resilience is your and your team’s ability to face difficult times, bounce back and move forward. It plays an important part in your future success, as the way your team responds to change is a great determinant of whether your business can get through challenging times and use them to thrive.
Don’t simply think outside the box – create your own box. Train yourself to assume a different position when considering a challenge or opportunity; it comes back to empathy and being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Whenever you notice yourself accepting the status quo, ask yourself these questions: ‘Could we look at this differently?’, ‘Can we improve how we do this?’, ‘Could we focus more on X over Y to innovate?’ While this requires a committed effort, it helps stop group-think and stagnation.
Kerryn will be facilitating our next CIO’s luncheon in Brisbane on September 13th where we will be discussing the challenges around managing people through disruption and how, when confronted with change, people can often be the roadblock to business transformation.
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