Change Occurs At The Outer Edge of Your Comfort Zone

As we wind down 2012, many of us are reflecting on what we accomplished in 2012 and what changes we will make to continue our successes into 2013. In my own work with small and medium businesses as well as non-profit organizations, managing change is the most common topic of conversation; and why not? The uncertainty that remains in the economic and political environments have leaders in the unenviable position of making the next right strategic decision in the face of all this uncertainty. How do leaders mitigate this uncertainty enough to make the crucial decisions before them? While there are many moving parts to a successful business strategy, two elements of leading any organization is understanding the general environment you are competing in as well as knowing how your current capabilities match up to that environment. Key to a leader’s strategic thinking process includes a recurring assessment of their general...
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Is your Business in Alignment and why is that so important?

Growing up I learned how to take care of my cars myself. Tune-ups, wheels, brakes, engine timing etc. were all things that kept my cars running. And just like driving a car out of alignment decreased fuel inefficiency and added wear and tear to the vehicle, so leading a business or organization out of alignment is just as inefficient and, I could argue, irresponsible in today’s current economic environment. So what do we mean by “Business Alignment”? Wikipedia identifies no less than 15 definitions depending on whether you are a role-playing gamer or a biochemist. To a leader in today’s business environment, it means the level of congruence between the Vision of the business to the desired results expected from day to day operations. What we know to be true is when a business achieves alignment it holds a competitive advantage through increased effectiveness and efficiencies. What is a competitive advantage...
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The Art of Progress is the Preserve Order amid Change and Preserve Change amid Order"

This quote by Alfred North Whitehead symbolizes the leadership challenge faced by businesses of all sizes and industries in today's competitive economic landscape. The implication in this quote is the balance required maintaining some measure of order in business organizations and plans while at the same time identify and execute change strategies in order to achieve real progress. My experience suggests many businesses are doing one aspect of this process well but struggling to do the other and/or both to full effectiveness. So how does today's leader manage order and change simultaneously? The answer lies in the business Strategy. Simply stated, your business or organizational strategy dictates how your business or organization competes in its industry and markets. Having created strategies in businesses from large corporations to small entrepreneurial, mature and start-up, for-profit and non-profit, I find this definition of strategy to hold true universally. The strategy is a by-product of...
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The Art of Progress is the Preserve Order amid Change and Preserve Change amid Order"

This quote by Alfred North Whitehead symbolizes the leadership challenge faced by businesses of all sizes and industries in today's competitive economic landscape. The implication in this quote is the balance required maintaining some measure of order in business organizations and plans while at the same time identify and execute change strategies in order to achieve real progress. My experience suggests many businesses are doing one aspect of this process well but struggling to do the other and/or both to full effectiveness. So how does today's leader manage order and change simultaneously? The answer lies in the business Strategy. Simply stated, your business or organizational strategy dictates how your business or organization competes in its industry and markets. Having created strategies in businesses from large corporations to small entrepreneurial, mature and start-up, for-profit and non-profit, I find this definition of strategy to hold true universally. The strategy is a by-product of...
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The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.

This quote from Alvin Toffler, noted author (remember Future Shock?) and futurologist is a great way to put us in the mindset of this month’s topic: Dealing with Change. Aside from being one of my favorite topics to teach and facilitate, it is in my mind, one of the crucial core attributes of successful leadership in today’s dynamic business, political and service environment. To further set the stage, consider the results of a recent survey by McKinsey & Company of more than 1,600 executives, senior managers and mid-level managers worldwide where they were asked, among other things, about how well they have responded to the current economic crisis. No one doubts the economic crisis represents disruptive change but a significant test of leadership (RPC edition 10/08) as well. In the survey, respondents were asked to rate their level of satisfaction as a business leader in various areas. What caught my eye...
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