Can Everyone Be A Change Leader?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO
Can you imagine what companies and organizations would be like if everyone could be a change leader? Properly channeled, this energy would move mountains to accomplish remarkable outcomes. Actually, it is possible to have such an organization. You can either build one or become one with the use of three strategies.
When used together, three structure-altering approaches give everyone the ability to be a part of a change effort and build the capacity to lead others in this radically effective way. The three strategies are radical inclusion, bold input, and agile execution. When done together, everyone becomes the change agent we have all wanted to be.
This is the strategy that MACNY has been using for the last few years to change who we are and what we do. However, these fundamental strategies have been used by many companies to include the largest companies now on the planet. One example of a company you know well that uses it for rapid and dramatic success is Target. In 2016, they were failing. Foot traffic was way down and decreasing. Experts predicted they would close their stores for good. However, they then changed their company strategy and engaged every employee as a change leader. By 2019, they had their most profitable year on record. When everyone can be a change leader, the organization, their customers, and individuals all win together.
The first strategy is radical inclusion. This means your organization gives a voice to a broad and diverse range of people to gain new ideas, innovations, and solutions to challenges. At MACNY, everyone has a say in what we do and how we do it. That does not mean we change from week to week and day to day what we do and how we do it. Rather, it means that candid input is sought and valued by everyone in their work areas and all other areas of focus. Insights are always appreciated, even if they can’t be used in all cases.
The second approach is to seek bold input. This means asking for candid feedback from as many people within the team and organization as possible at an early stage and along every step in developing and delivering services. In my opinion—the bolder the input, the better. By asking our team members (who work with and for our members) to think outside the box, we are creating change and adding value.
Finally, we must be agile and move quickly. In MACNY’s case, we decided that we wanted our new capabilities and new offerings to be achieved promptly. We wanted them in weeks – not months or years. To achieve this, we held weekly, quick-fire huddles that brought people together from across our organization, focused on eliminating obstacles and troubleshooting in real-time. Rapid implementation and evaluation have been the key to getting things done.
Leaders are created, not born. Change leaders are made when we give them the voice and opportunity to change their lives and our work daily. If your organization does this, you can rapidly grow and be many times more successful. Use radical inclusion strategies, bold input, and agile operations to change your life and organization for the better.