Leadership and Transformation

Leadership and Transformation

Last month we looked at Managers vs Leaders and some of those distinctions within the business world.  Leaders who step up can make such a positive difference to teams and the business, providing the support and culture allow.  Leaders have the ability to transform circumstances, to alter and reshape their sphere of influence and control.

I make the very clear distinction between transformation and change.  Very few people really like change, especially when they think it is not necessary. We perceive change as making our world harder, requiring more effort, and having a negative impact on what we do. Changes can be reversed, and that is actually an important ingredient in Change Management in case something goes wrong.  However, Transformation is very different. Our most familiar understanding of transformation is with a caterpillar, transforming to a chrysalis, and then to a butterfly.  The three stages are totally different, and the important point is that they cannot be reversed; it is a totally different shape and form.  The caterpillar may be cute, and the chrysalis may be pretty, but the butterfly is beautiful.  The final stage of the conversion brings greater capability and independence. Looking at the first and final stages you would never suspect they were connected.

Businesses and leaders equally need to transform, not change.  Both need to evolve with the given surroundings and conditions imposed on them from internal and external issues.  If they don’t, the issues tend to take control.   Transformation in business and leadership isn’t just adaption, implying an unplanned compliance to circumstances.  Transformation is planned and a natural course of action. In nature, transformation cannot be stopped; the caterpillar has to be a butterfly, the tadpole a frog.  Businesses and leaders have to have the same conviction; staying the same is not an option.

I like to think of transformation in a business like a river in the wilderness.  The force of the river reshapes the surroundings where it can.  There are conditions such as through rocky gorges where the river has little sway, and the same is found in business with constraints by obligations (legislation, public perception). But where there are no constraints as may be experienced within the market or through innovation, the river has the ability to wear away the weaker areas, become larger, and change its course.

What are you doing today to transform the area in which you work or your business?  What are you doing today to transform yourself?  Transformation Leadership Coaching starts with small steps.  Start today.