3 Essential Ingredients for Corporate Change

Lead Change

Let Change Begin

When I think of transitions, both personal and corporate, I can’t help but to think of Joshua’s great task of transitioning a large community from a desert experience into the Promised Land; a land flowing with “milk and honey”. Individuals as well as organizations can learn three simple principles of corporate transition from Joshua’s example. This experience demanded three indispensable ingredients from Joshua. They are:

1. Courage (Mental Fortitude)

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. (Joshua 1:6, 7 NIV)

Courage is a prerequisite for corporate transitions. We commonly refer to this type of change as reorganization or organizational reinvention. Change is not always easy to implement for any leader since it challenges the status quo culture. “Status quo” thinking is embedded in our human nature; we like to keep things the same because change is too costly and demands too much from us. Courage is simply having the mental fortitude to do the right thing, which is to redirect the organization, regardless of the criticism and the obstacles encountered along the way. Corporate leaders leading change must be ready to encounter resistance from all levels. Therefore, mental fortitude to inspire, supervise, collaborate and lead any change effort is required from leaders.

2. Community (Engaging People through Vision and Responsibility)

So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: ‘Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’ (Joshua 1:10, 11 NIV)

Corporate change must involve the whole community under your care. When you prepare people for change, transitions become, well almost seamless. A leader starts preparing people for change by assessing current and critical resources for the change effort, and establishing timelines for task completion. In other words, what is needed for the journey of change, and how long will it take? From the passage above, the people gathered supplies (resources) for their journey, and set a timeline of three days to accomplish corporate consolidation of these vital resources. The ability to acquire and maintain resources is critical for any change effort. You must know what you have, so you can determine what else you need for the journey. Some things must be eliminated, while new resources and people will emerge to help you with the change process. Effective change occurs when leaders engage their team members through vision and responsibility.

2. Consecration (Personal and Corporate Cleansing)

Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’” (Joshua 2:5 NIV)

The most critical element of change is preparing and aligning people with the right attitude for change. This starts with a good communication strategy. Communicating change must permeate the entire organization, every individual must understand his or her particular role in the change effort. Emotions run high during times of transition since the culture is shifting such as positions, responsibilities, position, and new expectations, etc. Therefore, consecration is essential if a team is going to advance with minimal problems. In this process people have to let go of the past by putting petty differences aside.

Consecration is simply looking within for the purpose of critically examining self to remove personal obstacles that will get in the way of change, even admitting our current condition is insufficient for entering the next phase. We must let go of the old paradigms, and find new ways of thinking. Personal and leadership reinvention may be required from you as well. The right attitude for change must be adopted, encouraged and cultivated among all team members from top to bottom.

The community under Joshua’s care was required to prepare and cleanse themselves for transition. Those who cleanse themselves have a higher probability of moving forward while those who don’t may just fall on the way side, meaning the makeup of your team may change. Personal and corporate cleansing is required for transitioning into new beginnings.

What other principles are involved in corporate change?


3 Vantage Points of Leadership

Leadership is a dynamic process requiring a leader to adjust his or her personal leadership style depending on the situation he or she encounters. For this reason a leader needs to learn “how” and “when” to lead from the three vantage points of leadership. For instance, most of the time leaders will lead their followers from the front by exerting their influence and authority. Then there are moments when a leader needs to be among his or her followers to take a pulse of their wellbeing, connect and build relationship. Other times a leader empowers followers through delegation and encouragement, this is leading from behind. A good leader knows when to adjust his or her leadership style to fit the moment. The three vantage points of leadership are:

1. Leading from the “front”

How does one lead from the front? Frontal leadership requires one to lead with character and competence, then communicating an inspiring vision that instills purpose, which motivates followers. A leader in this phase is decisive, and displays courage. Leading from the front is not always easy; many times people will not agree with your decisions. A leader takes risks no one else is willing to take and takes responsibility for his or her actions.

2. Leading from “among” your people

Leading from among your people requires a leader to be highly interactive, engaging followers with questions, being personal by caring for their needs, showing genuine compassion, and at times following up to ensure team members needs are met. Leaders take on a “shepherding” role during this phase of leadership. Great leaders purposefully set out to know their team’s strengths and weaknesses then train each one accordingly. A leader is highly interactive at this point and makes purposeful connections, while building influence and loyalty.

3. Leading from “behind”

Leading from behind does not mean that one abdicates their leadership role, authority or becomes a passive leader. Rather a leader from this vantage point empowers through delegation, encouragement, and following up by providing honest feedback that redirects followers in a positive way. Leaders who lead from this vantage point empower by providing what their team members need to do an effective job.

How do you lead others? Have you led from anyone of these three vantage points before? Reflect on them. Which vantage point do you feel more comfortable leading from? List your strongest suit? Weakest? How can you improve as a leader?