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Leading Change In Times Of Disruption

R. Chandran, CIO & Monika Murugesan, Learning Business partner, Bahwan CyberTek

Established in 1999, Bahwan CyberTek (BCT) is a global provider of digital transformation solutions in the areas of predictive analytics, digital experience, and digital supply chain management, and has delivered solutions in 20 countries across North America, the Middle East, Far East, Africa, and Asia.

In this global age of disruption due to the emergence of artificial intelligence, future organizational change is unavoidable. Many scientists and futurists believe that the scale of change we will come across during the next decade will surpass that of the past half-century. Although we have been speaking about the "increasing pace of change" for more than 20 years, the pervasiveness of this disruptive change is now unprecedented. Organization-wide effects will be immediate and preparation ahead of these changes will be paramount for sustainable growth.

Leading Change
Leading during times of complexity, uncertainty, and disruption requires a set of real leaders who have more authenticity, better agility, and a stronger sense of purpose. Effective leaders will need to be able to adapt to a wide variety of different contexts, conditions, and situations that it will be increasingly difficult to simply teach "how to lead." Instead, the need of the hour is to develop leaders who have the skills to flourish in complex, ambiguous, and uncertain environments.

A global study of more than 7,500 executives from 107 countries stated that developing leaders who can drive strategic change should be the top priority of any organization. The most pressing strategic business priorities in any organization were found to be accelerating the pace of innovation, nearly tying with improving profitability and increasing organic market share.

Best Practices
The best practices that are being undertaken to drive lasting organizational change, even during a disruption are:

1. Put disruption front and center:
Disruption requires businesses to continually

challenge who they are and why they exist. In the past, leaders were able to create strategies and long term business plans that could remain relevant for years. Today, leaders must overcome active inertia and reinvent their business in real-time. This can be done by revamping profit models, transforming market positions, and producing innovative and breakthrough products. The agility required in this context is that of being able to maintain core values while also managing to challenge everything else.

2. Discover, uphold and live a definitive purpose:
Definitive purpose is the reason why an organization exists, as well as the deep commitment a leader feels in the face of risk, conflict, and uncertainty. Serving as the anchor that enables leaders to act with agility amid disruption, purpose, helps them earn the trust of others and to lead without ascribed power and authority. What am I being called to do? In this first step, leaders must take a clear-eyed look at the context in which they are leading and determine what's most needed of them for the organization's greater good.

The need of the hour is to develop leaders who have the skills to flourish in complex, ambiguous, and uncertain environments

3. What’s the right thing to do?
The second step is deeply personal, in which leaders link their convictions to what the organization asks of them. They look at their identity and story as a leader and consider what really matters most to them. What kind of leadership is it time for now? Here, leaders outline what they individually need to do to help the organization the most, based on who they are and how they fit into the larger context.

4. Develop and demonstrate authenticity and agility:
Authenticity and agility are becoming the distinguishing leadership characteristics of high-performing businesses. Authenticity means behaving and acting in ways that match with a leader's personal convictions as well as the purpose for which an organization exists. Agility is the ability to lead nimbly in the face of uncertainty and the ever-changing circumstances in which leaders are responsible for reinventing businesses. Flexibility and a strong sense of purpose keep the focus on results and outcomes amid shifting sands.

Digital Era
This digital era, which is characterized by rapid and continual disruption, it is vital for organizations to be agile. They need to quickly respond to changes. Business leaders must not only be effective interpersonally but should also manage increasingly complex situations arising during the business. Leaders must be able to make choices faster and lead change proficiently. This must be done while skilfully persuading in a more consistent and collaborative landscape. Additionally, they must also foster a “digital-ready” organizational culture that embraces rather than battle against VUCA (Volatile, uncertain, complex and Ambiguous) World.

This would help the leaders and the organization ready for conducting fair executive processes and also to help to navigate through wider political and cultural shifts. Building on cutting-edge research will develop the ability to steer faster decision-making, fast-track change processes and cut through difficult cultural challenges. They understand the crucial challenges; senior leaders encounter in leading more complex organizations. Deploy ways to help teams make critical decisions. Improve the ability to accomplish large, structured change management processes. Inspect power and influence dynamics in organizations, including effective network development.

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