Have you ever asked yourself, how do I lead through change? Have you ever wondered how do I navigate change at work? How do I use my influence to bring about positive transformation in my organization?
How to lead through change
Change is not new
Sometimes as leaders, we think that change is a 21st-century phenomenon. Commonly we focus on technology as the ‘big’ change that shapes life and work. And, yes – technology is a significant change. We often focus on technology because it is a tangible and relatively universal example in the developed world. From ancient writing on cave walls to chalkboards in local schools to iPads in the handles of toddlers – though the technology changed, the purpose was similar – communicating with one another. We know leaders influence how a team, department, or organization handles and manages change.
Lead Through Change Using Systems Thinking
Leaders need to unlock systems thinking as a leadership tool. Systems thinking helps us understand the larger picture and connect how components impact each other. Think of the systems within a single organization – whether in a team, a department, or the entire organization. Now, consider further the systems in which that organization exists – consider your industry, your local community, society, and even the global community. As leaders, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the systems in which our organization exists – because that is the context in which you navigate change.
5 actions to build greater awareness of your context and potential systems include
Use the STEEPLED Analysis as You Lead Change
Another tool you can leverage as you navigate change is the STEEPLED Analysis. As in its name – it’s an analysis tool – it’s a tool that helps us understand, explore, and capture data – to ultimately use that data to inform decisions and strategies we may make regarding changes that we face. The focus of this tool is the external environment – the environment outside of your internal organization. You may have heard of a PEST analysis – the STEEPLED Analysis is a bit more involved as it looks at 8, as opposed to 4, external factors, including
This tool is helpful because it is scalable. Whether working with executive teams for a multi-day workshop or working with leaders through weekly check-ins, the STEEPLED Analysis is adaptable based on the situation. The idea is to determine an area of focus, usually geographic, and research or explore recent or upcoming events, rulings, innovations, etc., in the space. With the insights gathered, you can stay aware of happenings or shifts that may impact your business model, product/services, supply chain, customers, R&D, innovation offerings, etc. It’s a tool that allows us to engage with changes or transformations that may directly or indirectly impact our business.
Leader Reflection Question
Let me ask you, How might you strengthen your ability to handle change as a leader?