Under the impact of digitalization, the blurring of boundaries between industries, changes in data, algorithms and artificial intelligence, companies are rethinking their business models, redesigning and adopting agile management practices.
So far, more emphasis has been placed on change in processes and systems, and less attention has been paid to the emotional and cognitive load at the team level when it comes to change. Even the most experienced leaders internalize the stress of accelerated trans-formations disrupt the decision-making process.
Faced with so much change, the alertness inside people can easily turn into mental panic, followed by a failed attempt to regain control. That's why people now need mental agility, but their brains are instinctively looking for the previously known balance.
This explains how, just when visionary, empathetic, and creative leadership is needed, some managers fall into old, conservative and rigid habits. It is obvious that, although I know how to proceed differently in the new business environment, this cognitive knowledge does not pass into practice.
Developing this type of inner agility is not easy. The leader must recognize and appreciate the emerging possibilities, opportunities and risks in the new context. Only in this way can the complexity they face become manageable and even lead to new achievements. Therefore, the basic elements that contribute to the effectiveness of leadership through internal agility in times of change are the following:
1. Relaxed concentration
It may seem like a contradiction in terms, but it's not like that at all. When you have experience and a good base of information about the new context you can stay focused, but eliminate the agitation, anxiety. Taking a short break from engaging in action is a counterintuitive step that leaders can use to create room for clear judgment, original thinking, rapid reassessment, and intentional recalibration.
2. Listening carefully
In the new digitalized business environment, new and good ideas can come from anywhere, they can come from competitors in adjacent industries, and a single technology product can reshape your business. In such a world, listening - and thinking - from a perspective you don't know much about (or master) is an essential way to encourage the discovery of original, unexpected, innovative ideas.
3. Reformulation of questions
One way to discern the complex patterns that give rise to both new problems and emerging possibilities is to change the nature of the questions we ask ourselves. Asking provocative questions can help you unlock your existing mental model. The same benefit appears when you reformulate, orienting them towards openness, courage and exploration of the questions you ask your colleagues.
4. Determining the direction, not the destination
In our current business systems of rapid change, uncertainty and complexity, the solutions are often not straightforward. Therefore, instead of telling your team to progress from point A to point B using a certain set of tactics, join them on an exploratory journey in a general direction. Only then will agility and innovation be possible. Manage yourself and your team on the road to a vision, a goal, not just goals.
5. Preliminary testing of solutions
Fast and cheap failures can avoid major and costly disasters. This fundamental principle of Silicon Valley can be as true for you as it is for your company. With one condition - to be the preliminary testing of solutions in pilot environments. Think of it as creating a "lab" that helps the task of running an ever-changing agile company be captivating instead of terrifying.
Taken separately, these elements do not automatically address the challenges that leaders face. They demonstrate their transformative quality and potential only through a consistent and thorough approach. With conscious and disciplined practice, leaders who manage change are more likely to rise above the daily hustle and bustle of accelerated change. With attention and focus, they lead the team effectively, manage the company and its competitive landscape, and make agility the key to the team's continued success.
About PKF Finconta
For more than 27 years, PKF Finconta is one of the 10 leading professional services companies in Romania. Since 2006, we are a member of PKF International Limited. PKF International is a leading international business advisory organization. The company grew consistently over the years, forming a Group of four companies: PKF Finconta, PKF Finconta Consultanta, PKF Finconta HR, and Finconta Consulting SPRL, members of national professional organizations CECCAR, CAFR, CCFR, and UNPIR. We provide a wide range of business advisory and related specialist services. We have seven core areas of expertise and within these areas, we tailor our services to your business and your needs: audit, corporate finance, tax, bookkeeping, and accounting advisory services, transfer pricing, payroll and personnel administration, and insolvency.