There are two types of leaders: Those who lead from the back, and those who lead from the front.
You can tell these two types of leaders apart when market changes happen and shake their business’s foundations to the core.
Different Types of Leaders
While the leaders who dictate from the back sit in their offices pulling their hair out and cursing under their breath, the leaders in front are those who are completely involved, confronting issues as they surface.
More than anything, front-end leaders have their whole team behind them, while the cowering leaders’ teams are abandoning ship.
In the fast-paced business world, it’s not a matter of if, but when, change will come to your business. If you can derive positive outcomes out of uncertain or volatile situations, you’ll come out on top. The key is staying laser-focused on industry trends.
Contextual Knowledge Is Key to a Sustainable Business
No matter what industry you’re in, reading the market is paramount to your success. Being unaware of your surroundings will severely jeopardize your leadership position and the health of your company.
Remember Pets.com? It was a great idea, but it failed because it tried to grow too fast. Rather than taking the market’s temperature and developing a product accordingly, the company created its product in a vacuum and tasked its marketers with finding a market.
Effective Change Management
Effective change management requires heavy listening, inclusiveness, emotional intelligence, and a common purpose. Understanding the context and being able to read the winds, the currents, and the tides are musts for piloting a sailboat.
Simply cleaning the sails is not enough. But the benefits are invaluable.
Not only will your business remain dynamic in a competitive marketplace, but it will also attract new customers and preserve current relationships.
Nike is a great example of a company that used market knowledge to develop a successful product. In 2006, the iPod was massively popular, and Nike wanted in. It teamed up with Apple to launch Nike+, a digital sports kit that included a shoe sensor and a wireless receiver for users’ iPods. Since then, Nike has sold more than 2.5 million kits.
3 Keys to Effective Change
Use Trends to Bring About the Change Your Business Needs
If you want to create effective change management, you have to harness business trends. Here are three ways smart, effective leaders can do that:
1. Get Involved in Your Industry and Spark Ideas
There’s a good chance your industry has a vocational organization behind it, whether you’re a union pipe fitter or an artisan cheesemonger. The people in these groups are the key to your success, and the networks and friendships you gain through them are priceless. Associations work hard to keep members aware of industry-wide changes, so take advantage of their expertise.
Make a point to engage with colleagues, partners, and clients about trends in their businesses.
These conversations are sure to spark ideas in the minds of prospective clients and employees. Human beings respond to calls to action that engage their hearts as well as their minds, making them feel as if they’re a part of something consequential.
2. Monitor Everything About Your Business
If you’re not keeping a close eye on your business with tools like financial projections and business dashboards, you’re missing out. Tracking trends helps you predict potential problems and opportunities.
Don’t just think about statistics in your own business, either. Government agencies compile mountains of statistics that can help you pinpoint trends among demographic groups, regions, industries, and more.
Your change — or lack thereof — is important to your employees, too. They need to know how crucial successful change is to your company. Ensuring that people’s daily behaviors reflect the imperative of change is vital to the success of any change initiative.
3. Get Outside — and Outside Yourself
When things get hectic at work, go for a walk. It might not help your business immediately, but it will help you clear your thoughts. And while you’re out and about, take a peek at your competitors down the street.
You can learn a lot about yourself by monitoring your competition. Ask yourself: What new products or services are they offering, and are they targeting new audiences and expanding?
You can learn even more about your business by getting outside your own industry. Read news from Japan and Germany. What are the latest developments in the bicycle industry? What about the fire safety industry? Learning about trends in other worlds will spark new ideas for your own.
When you think outside yourself, you get a better handle on how your team functions and what they can improve upon. Oftentimes, leaders are so eager to claim victory that they don’t take the time to figure out what’s working — and what’s not — and come up with next steps.
When you fail to follow through, you’re being inconsistent and withholding the information your employees need to grow and change.
Change Is Coming
Leaders need to be aware of upcoming change in their businesses, in their industries, and in their employees. There’s no way of doing this that doesn’t involve being aware of yourself, your company, your industry, and the world around you.
Smart change management leaders are tuned in to their employees and their industries. Don’t succumb to cowering in your office when the going gets tough. Be the effective, change-embracing leader your employees need and deserve.
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Luis Gallardo is CEO of Thinking Heads Americas
He’s an award-winning author and holds an MBA from IMD in Switzerland
Email | LinkedIn | Web
Image Sources: smallbiztrends.com
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