Change management and leadership skills are essential in today’s business environment.
In a marketplace that keeps changing, change managers must evolve their tactics and their mindsets.
Change Management and Leadership in the Digital Age
On the one hand, change managers must develop cutting-edge tools, tactics, and strategies.
On the other, they must learn how to change minds, cultures, and attitudes.
This means that change managers must also be change leaders.
Below, we have collected 5 change management and leadership tips – and some helpful links to additional resources.
1. Develop a Digital-First Approach
The digital strategy forms a core element of the organizational strategy.
In today’s digital economy, it is critical to define a digital-first strategy that:
- Helps organizations stay competitive
- Keeps the IT function modern and relevant
- Uses the latest digital tools to enhance business processes across the company
- Digitizes the workforce and the workplace
A digital transformation strategy is often defined by the CIO, CEO, or several at the executive level.
And that’s a good thing.
The more executive support you can get, the better.
When developing your digital strategy, work closely with business leaders to gain support, define the strategy’s scope, and build a roadmap for change.
2. Train and Develop Digital Skills
Digital literacy is a must in today’s enterprise.
Change managers and leaders should create specific plans to help employees:
- Stay engaged and productive
- Develop their long-term career
- Advance within the organization
- Stay competitive and relevant
It is widely known that digital skills are becoming more and more necessary for organizations and their workers.
The skills gap contributes to lower employee productivity. And some CEOs state that it interferes with their ability to innovate.
This problem is compounded by the “worldwide employee engagement crisis.”
Only 13% of workers are engaged worldwide, according to Gallup.
Though this problem is certainly unique and multi-faceted, research from Udemy suggests that boredom is one major cause.
One solution to this problem: continuous employee training.
Employees who are skilled and digitally literate will be more engaged, more productive, and more loyal…
That is, if an organization looks out for its employees, they will look out for the organization.
3. Build a Multi-Level Roadmap
A change roadmap for change is an action plan.
The more sophisticated and detailed your roadmap, the better.
Construct a multi-level roadmap for:
- Users and Customers
- The Organization as a Whole
These journey maps should be tied together under a single umbrella.
The overall change roadmap can act as a go-to reference for anyone involved in the project.
But to get real results, create journey maps for each persona.
- That group’s goals for each stage
- Their obligations and targets for each stage
- Their perspective on the situation
4. Evolve Your Mindset and Your Company’s Mindset
To stay relevant, corporate mindsets must change.
A corporate culture that is too prudent and risk-averse will not survive in the years ahead.
Today’s world may seem fast-paced and volatile – but that pace may pick up drastically in the next few years.
Some technologies – such as blockchain, AI, and IoT – have yet to hit mainstream.
And when they do, corporations will need to be as agile as possible.
Though mindset may seem like a small factor, it is actually the most important when it comes to change.
- An innovative corporate culture is open, willing, and ready to make changes happen.
- Mindsets that block change directly impedes growth in the marketplace.
- Agile workplace cultures are less resistant to change and more able to adapt.
Key traits for successful mindsets include:
- Innovation – Supporting innovative ideas across departments and at every level
- Digital Literacy – Digital skills enable change, evolution, and adaptation
- Agility – Companies that are lean, agile, and flexible can adapt more quickly
The digital business world is an unforgiving, Darwinian environment.
To survive and thrive in such an ecosystem, it’s critical to help your culture evolve.
5. To Lead Change Well, Take Ownership of All Outcomes
So far, we have covered some important tactics and strategies.
But it’s important to understand that your leadership ability will directly impact project outcomes.
And one of the most important traits of leadership – according to leadership consultant and retired Navy SEAL officer Jocko Willink – is extreme ownership.
Being a leader, Willink says, entails owning the actions of everyone under your command … including mistakes and actions you don’t feel responsible for.
Ownership is not easy…
It can mean:
- Accepting blame, criticism, and “negative press”
- Taking responsibility for mistakes that other people make
- Taking blows to your ego
But at the end of the day, shirking responsibility is even worse.
Leaders who own the results of their actions will actually learn from their mistakes.
Those who don’t, won’t.
Over time, ownership can help you:
- Become a better leader in your field
- Learn and grow as a person
- Gain more respect and responsibility
And, perhaps most importantly, it will help you get better results as a change leader.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.