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Forum Assignment for the Week: 250 Words minimum For this week’s Forum, respond to the following:
Discuss the role of Change, Innovation, Experimentation, and Risk in association with effective leadership in organizations. Use the assigned reading and lesson material to support your assertions.
***Your post must also end with a “Question to the Class” – something related to the topic that you found thought-provoking and about which you’d like to know more and have further dialog. ***
No sources or citations required
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This week’s lecture notes cover two main topics:
· Change in organizations
· Experiment and Take Risks
Change in organizations
Kouzes and Posner (2007) stated that “change requires leadership, and leadership demands altering the business-as-usual environment” (p.165). Leadership and organizational transformation are both a matter of change. Organizations must adapt to a rapidly changing environment and can meet the many challenges and demands. Organizational change and transformation require effective leadership and the building of teams. Leaders must always be at the forefront of change by seeking new ideas and implementing new methods, processes, and procedures. Leaders must have a high level of situational awareness to put smart, practical, and relevant systems in place to support new ways of doing things. Otherwise, change can create confusion and misunderstanding. Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee (2002) stated that getting people to embrace change requires attunement – alignment with the kind of resonance that moves people emotionally as well as intellectually. Organizational change is difficult because you are attempting to influence the attitudes and behaviors of many people. Maxwell (1995) stated that leaders in any organization must be change agents.
Transformational leaders empower followers and nurture them to and through change. Sometimes the pace of change may be too fast for leaders and organizations to maintain their momentum. Nonetheless, momentum is an essential aspect of the change process. Per Maxwell (1995), momentum is the greatest of all change agents. He also stated that many times momentum is the only difference between a winning, growth climate and a losing, negative growth climate. Leaders and organizations must be willing, capable, and ready for change always to continue to grow and prosper. Change is constant and inevitable. Leaders must be attuned to paradigm drifts and shifts in our environment to manage the change process. Leaders must personally get involved in helping their followers understand the need for change. Henceforth, leaders must embrace change, learn and grow from it. The process of scanning, focusing and acting on opportunities to enhance the even flow of change is quintessential to leadership. Effective leadership is the cornerstone of success in a steadily growing society.
Many organizations talk about the importance of change, but too often leaders within organizations are sometimes resistant or fearful of change. They resist change to the point where a project never takes off, and the organization steadily diminishes in value. Resisting change can only make things more difficult. I have often heard people say that I wish I had made that change a long time ago because it would have saved me a lot of time, money, or heartaches. According to Bennis (2003), more and more organizations claim to welcome change, but very few embrace change. Change should not be viewed as the enemy or obstacle. Instead, it is the source of personal growth and organizational success. Bennis went on to say that only by changing themselves can organizations get back into the game and get to the heart of things. Some leaders and organizations may be satisfied with the status quo. Fascinating enough, some leaders and organizations do not realize they are stuck in a rut and change could be the answer to a better tomorrow, increased productivity, and a greater harvest for the people and the organization.
Below are some of my thoughts on change:
· Change happens: keep moving
· Anticipate change: get ready
· Monitor change: noticing small changes early helps you adapt to bigger changes that are to come
· Adapt to change quickly: the quicker you let go of the old, the sooner you can enjoy the new
· Change: move with the organization
· Enjoy change: savor the adventure and enjoy the new change
· Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again and again: keep moving
Experiment and Take Risks
Effective leadership is a lifelong learning process that includes critical factors such as problem-solving, decision-making, risk taking, analytical and forward thinking. Per Koestenbaum (2002), leadership means coping within the world where answers are actions, decisions, commitments, and risks.
Leaders must be willing to take calculated risks. It takes courage to step forward and take a risk or make a change. Good foresight enables leaders to anticipate many of the risks and opportunities that could confront them in the future. As organizations undergo the revolutionary transformation at an exponential rate to meet the many challenging demands of the 21st Century, risk taking is a must. Risk taking can lead to lucrative opportunities for growth, improvement, and greatness. My mentor often says to me, “why not go out on the limb, that’s where the fruit is.” Leaders must not allow their fears to hold them hostage or dictate their actions. Equally important, leaders must also be careful not to quickly jump to conclusions, make assumptions, or make hasty decisions without the elementary facts surrounding situations. When taking risks, leaders must make sure they have enough information to make informed decisions. However, they should avoid ‘paralysis by too much analysis’ that causes them to wait for every bit of information prior to deciding. Opportunities are like fleeting moments and could be lost if you wait too long to decide.
Per Kouzes and Posner (2007), leaders take risks when they share their weaknesses with their people, but the risks are worth it when creating an environment of trust. Taking risks often achieves positive results, but it also involves mistakes. Kouzes and Posner stated that “Without mistakes, we’d be unable to know what we can and cannot do” (p.199). They went on to say that when people can make mistakes or fail, productivity increases. Only people who never do anything make no mistakes. If you fear failure, it may be difficult to make decisions that require a calculated risk. Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. Leaders should promote learning, tolerate mistakes, and encourage risk taking. Many of the world’s greatest discoveries and inventions were a result of experimentation and risk taking.
Bennis, W. (2003). On becoming a leader. New York: Perseus Publishing.
Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. & McKee, A. (2002). Primal leadership: Realizing the power of emotional intelligence. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Koestenbaum, P. (2002). Leadership: The inner side of greatness. A philosophy for leaders. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The leadership challenge (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Maxwell, J.C. (1995). Developing the leaders around you: How to help others reach their full potential. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc.