Our tagline here at The Odigo Group is “driving your success in a world where change never sleeps.” If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent many a late night perfecting a proposal, sketching out a framework, or developing a new business process.
The world we live in is in a constant state of change, and we are living in the most advanced age of technical and industrial revolution known to humankind. Medical science is advancing at an exponential rate. Science-fiction is becoming science-reality before our very eyes. Communication vehicles are evolving faster than we can adopt them. Manufacturing processes must be streamlined to meet the demands of consumption on a global scale. Change has always been a constant, but today, evolution is more rapid than ever before.
As a consultant, I recognize change as an opportunity—an opportunity to help companies through mergers and acquisitions, organizations in the midst of re-organization, and outdated processes in need of re-engineering. In the past year, I have seen more clients move to new companies, more teams be rebuilt, and more need for structure amid the chaos than ever in my career. I’ve also recognized the need for more leadership and less management.
In their book, Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools and Techniques of Organizational Change, Esther Cameron and Mike Green point out that managers manage current processes and programs, while leaders create new solutions and processes. Both are valuable. In order for any process to run efficiently, it must be managed effectively, and good managers are adept at driving those processes end-to-end. This is vital to the success of any organization. Senior managers, project managers, program managers, sales managers, marketing managers … all are integral pieces of the operation. But, in order to keep up with the rate of change we are seeing across all industries, verticals, and segments, companies are also in desperate need of leaders.
Leaders are visionaries with an eye on the future and an ability to modify systems, tools, and processes to evolve from current to future states. Both managers and leaders require the soft skills to inspire and motivate teams, gain the support of executives, and pitch their solutions to partners or customers. But the key differentiator for leaders is their ability to synthesize chaos into a structured and actionable plan.
This may seem overwhelming or nearly impossible in the midst of a merger, a product launch, or a re-org, but the process can be broken down into four simple steps.
1. Investigate needs
- What are the key pains your organization is facing?
- What are the challenges your customers are experiencing?
- What keeps your executives awake at night?
2. Create ideas
- How might you address those pains?
- If money were no object, what could you do to effect change?
- What would be the impact if you could [insert creative idea here]?
3. Evaluate solutions
- What resources would be required to implement the solution?
- How much would the solution cost? What is the potential return on investment?
- What are the risks and rewards of rolling out the solution?
4. Activate plans
- What steps must be taken to deploy the solution?
- Who is responsible for each step in the plan?
- What is the timeline for each activity?
- What resources are required and where will they come from?
- Who will determine when each step is complete?
- How will you measure the success of your plan?
Once the new solution is established and implemented, it’s ready to hand off to a manager to grow and maintain. Managers are great at driving teams and keeping processes on track. Leaders excel at recognizing needs, inspiring creativity, and implementing innovative solutions to scale to meet the ever-changing demands of customers, capture market share, grow revenues, and reduce costs.
Change requires leadership. So, get some rest. Because when you wake up tomorrow, you’ll face a whole new set of challenges … because change never sleeps.