The rules and requirements to remain competitive in today’s marketplace are evolving so rapidly hat leadership is struggling to stay ahead of the course. While change used to be slow and incremental, organizations today face a whole new breed of change – one that is fast, disruptive, and unpredictable. As such, businesses are acutely aware of the need to be agile. However, to be agile you need agile people because in the end, organizations don’t change – people do.
Arguably, the ability to be an effective change agent is the new requirement for leadership success. Change management is no longer reserved for operational improvements or process reengineering, instead it is interwoven deep within the business fabric calling for every leader to be a change agent, regardless of hierarchy or rank. The reality is, any change initiative will fall short of its potential if it doesn’t address the underlying mind-sets and capabilities of the people who will execute it.
Effective Change Agents in High Demand, but Short Supply
The demand for leadership that is willing and capable of helping people get to a place where they can understand the need for change, process it, and act on it, is in short supply. Meanwhile, the level of organizational readiness to adapt hinges greatly on leaders’ ability to act as role models. In fact, research from McKinsey suggests that half of all effort to transform organizational performance fail either because senior managers don’t act as role models for change, or because people in the organization defend the status quo. The same research indicates that if companies can identify and address pervasive mindsets at the outset, they are four times more likely to succeed in organizational change efforts than are companies that overlook this stage.
The Evidence-Based Profile of Effective Change Agents
Fortunately, as the demand for effective change agents has evolved, so too has the ability to identify the key competencies, behaviors and values of these leaders through evidence-based talent assessments and analytics. As a pioneer in the talent assessment industry, XBinsight has collected and analyzed extensive data on Fortune 1000 executive leaders across a wide spectrum of industries to develop five key competencies that correlate with effective change management.
1. Demonstrates Flexibility and Resilience:
Exceptional change agents embrace complexity, and become more energized when the requirements of a situation
change. They manage pressure well, and cope with setbacks effectively rather than flee from challenges. Motivated
to build a diverse array of social networks and connections, great change agents cross cultural, gender, geographic,
structural and professional boundaries to mobilize connected groups.
2. Recognizes and Communicates Growth Opportunities:
In order to create alignment, change agent leaders must demonstrate the opportunity that change will provide and stay
focused on the future. They ignite the commitment of others by creating an answer to the “what’s in it for me” question.
And, they are adept at removing or minimizing others’ resistance to change. Competency in helping people leave the
safety and confines of their current situation and stay focused on an exciting future is crucial.