Change is the one constant of our time; the speed at which the economy and the world at large is changing is exponential. Nimble, agile, customer-centric and transformative are the buzzwords of the moment. Businesses that are not evolving with the times are losing ground. More and more organisations are asking their people to drive change and innovation. But what characteristics will make someone a successful change agent and how do we find them?
Research has identified the innate profile that makes a great change leader or, by contrast, a leader who will resist change. Characteristics such as resilience, confidence, risk taking, an outgoing personality and an early adopter of technology are all key indicators that a leader will be able to do what it takes to lead through change. These people can:
- Deal with ambiguity
Ambiguity is a given in a rapidly evolving environment. To cope with this leaders need to balance risk taking or limit testing with operational imperatives. These leaders will be able to champion new methods, systems and processes necessary for the organisation to meet the needs of its stakeholders.
- Flex their styles
The ability to shift with changing circumstances is a given in today’s turbulent, fast moving business environment. Those who are alert to external and internal market indicators can help to ensure the organisation stays ahead of the competition and changing stakeholder requirements.
- Drive change In order to drive change throughout an organisation we need leaders who are comfortable being out in front of the organisation, are skilled communicators and comfortable with risk. These leaders will be able to get people on board, champion new methods, systems and processes and drive alignment.
Always an important question with any change initiative is who is going to resist change at all costs? These individuals or teams can slow adoption and reduce the return on investment of a given project. They will be fearful of failure, aloof and indifferent to the feelings of others while overly focused on their own agenda and reluctant to act independently or against popular opinion.
The pace of change will only increase. In this environment it is essential to embrace not only the developing business world but also those who can steer your organisation through the evolving landscape.
Hogan Assessments and Odgers Berndtson Leadership practice can quantify and help you leverage your team’s appetite for change and innovation.
- Early adopter
- Risk averse
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By Paul Butterworth MNI, Global Head of the Maritime & Shipping Practice at Odgers Berndtson