Unplanned changes are usually a result of unforeseen circumstances. Since they come unannounced, it’s important to have contingency plans in place to deal with them without causing panic across the board. This is where leadership comes in. Leadership is all about taking risks others would avoid taking. It’s also about making quick but correct decisions to mitigate the effects of unexpected disruptions. A leader can make their team better by turning obstacles into opportunities and stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Leaders take challenges head-on and eliminate the fear factor when an unplanned change occurs.
Let’s dig deeper into how successful leaders prepare their team for an unplanned change.
1. Bringing clarity
Teams can face unexpected challenges better when they have clarity. This requires leaders to ensure that the team understands the impending changes and what that would potentially mean to the company, its supply chain, and its clients. Clarity also forms the basis of the ‘what-if’ analysis and helps a leader and their team to break down risk factors and predict potential outcomes with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Having clarity also eliminates guesswork and helps in identifying opportunities even from an adverse situation.
2. Collaborating and embracing diversity
True collaboration means factoring in diversity of thought. Collaborating doesn’t only mean working closely with others but also cultivating diverse ideas. Great teams, in fact, know how to collaborate with other teams in the organization as well, since unexpected changes often affect all.
3. Reimagining the ecosystem
An organizational ecosystem becomes self-sustaining when its employees are able to think on their feet and find solutions to unexpected changes. It’s important for a leader to reimagine the ecosystem by encouraging employees to be open-minded in accepting new systems, processes, and ways of working. A transformative environment is often the key in this regard. Ecosystems are created to aid organizational transformation, change the status quo, and usher in new paradigms. A leader has to ensure that each team member is willing to learn and contribute toward a synergy of collective action that aligns with the overall organizational mission and vision.
4. Generating a competitive advantage
A competitive advantage means so much more than a team forming a cohesive ecosystem. It means performance on a micro level. A good leader identifies the strongest and most able person to execute a task. While facing an unexpected change, they must view their departments and functional areas as ‘mini-organizations’. Their goal is to extract the best performance from each team member by instilling a sense of pride and ownership among individual employees. Creating a competitive advantage is also about course correction when necessary and being adaptive.
5. Thinking critically and strategically
Critical thinking is often a major component in dealing with unforeseen changes. It’s often the first step to brace for any eventuality. Leaders can cultivate critical thinking within various groups by inspiring team members to think up ways to best address an adverse situation. A strong leader is someone who doesn’t hesitate to bring out leadership qualities in others.