Resilience is more than being able to bounce back quickly from setbacks. When the new normal is constant change, we need to develop the leadership agility to thrive even as the deck chairs are being re-arranged around us …. for the umpteen time.
Some people seem to have figured out how to draw upon their wellspring of resilience to tap dance their way through the constant cycle of change. Jackie was one such person.
As a Senior Product Director in a large global company, Jackie has gone through her fair share of re-organisations as her company expands globally and responds to changing market demands. Regardless of the numerous changes impacting her role, Jackie has continued to perform well while others have struggled. Jackie’s secret is her agility. Her ability to adapt and find purpose in her work, regardless of what was happening around her that was beyond her control.
In their book Leadership Agility, Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs shared research that less 10% of leaders have sufficient agility to succeed long term given today’s increasing complexity and change.
Through my career, I’ve worked with several leaders like Jackie. To be clear, I’m not talking about folks who use politics to secure a seat at the table when the dust settles after a corporate restructure. I’m referring to the leaders who continue to contribute and thrive as the company pivots and re-invents itself.
These leaders share several things in common –
Know how your role fits within the broader company mission. For Jackie, as a Product Director, staying centred on her core purpose – product innovation to deliver a superior consumer experience – helped her remain present in her job even during times when she didn’t like how the org changes impacted her department and role.
Stay away from the politics of change. Focus on the work and don’t waste time engaging in corridor discussions griping about the latest round of changes.
Focus on what you can control and influence. Pay attention to your mindset and don’t waste energy getting frustrated over things you can’t control.
Practice self leadership. You know what feeds your resilience. More than ever, during times of change and uncertainty, amp up what you need to replenish your physical and mental energies.
If change is the only constant, leadership agility is no longer just an optional skill.