The Science of Leading Through Times of Change

science of leading through change

Sometimes, I feel like I just can’t keep up. The emails keep piling in, the kids continue to require attention (funny that!), my list of what I want to achieve keeps growing and therefore when I don’t achieve it, the let down is not fun.

Things are different to when I was younger – much much faster. We have always experienced change. Every successive generation longs to be back in the days when things were simple!

In recent times though, as things seem to have been moving faster, we have been referring to this as “accelerated change.” I think now, we can safely say we are in times of “accelerating change”…that is, the acceleration itself is accelerating.

What is my point?

As a species we are not accelerating our physical evolution – our brains and bodies are way behind in terms of keeping up. Of course this seems obvious, but have you really taken the time to reflect on and explore some ways to manage and lead in these times. Going faster and working harder just aren’t working.

For me this is both a mindset shift, as well as a time where we need to deeply understand ourselves as humans, and to apply a new filter to how we interact with and lead our teams.

Here are three things you can begin to think about in terms of leading – and I do refer to self-leadership as well as leading others – in order to better manage yourself through accelerating change.

1. Understand how to truly optimise the use of individual & organisational brains

Developing a mastery in “execution” – getting things done in the most brain-friendly way – can go a long way to squeezing much more out of a day without leaving you drained. This can be supported through a deep understanding of neuroplasticity – the way the brain learns and adapts. A tool such as PRISM Brain Mapping that focuses on the “economics of energy” can be a useful support here.

2. Focus on self-leadership

No longer can or should we rely on leaders to motivate and engage. I believe that we should all be taking responsibility for turning up to work as fully functional focused humans. That means investing in our own self-development and health – both mental and physical. This “if you want me to be healthy then you pay for my gym membership” stuff doesn’t cut it for me anymore! And if you are a leader, you need to be an absolute role model for understanding and managing within the change environment – and that requires exceptional self-leadership.

3. Make progress visible

If you have read any of Dr Jason Fox’s work, you will be familiar with this concept. I read somewhere the other day that “progress is the new performance.” Work is a game, and an unknown journey. There are only two points of focus that are needed – the end game – I’m driving to Sydney – and the next steps – let’s get to Byron Bay and decide where to go from there. This translates to having a bigger long term goal that meets two criteria: A five-, 10- or even 25-year vision, and a set of clear and simple priorities for the next couple of months is simple and effective. Then keep it visible.

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