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Maxims from Mike - There is always a place on the team for a change agent.

Hello Leaders,

Welcome to Today. Today's Leadership and Personal Development tip is on being an agent of change.

Maxim: Disruptors (positive change agents) are good for the organization.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. This quote was attributed to Albert Einstein. It was appropriate then and it is appropriate now. He also said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." In other words, to achieve different results something must change. Something or somebody must disrupt the status quo to achieve the desired results.

Organizations need change agents. They need disruptors. Although the mission may remain fixed, the implementation of the strategy may need to change. Consider these examples from churches, schools, and businesses.

In churches, the primary mission is to share the Gospel and make disciples. Successful churches keep the mission at the forefront of all they do. If the church stagnates or experiences decline, they use another method to reach the people. Some embrace technology to get the message out. They use social media for good. They focus on youth programs to draw in families. They proactively engage various communities to address the needs of society. They do whatever it takes to fulfill the mission of the church. They are not trapped by the "we've always done it this way". They disrupt what they have done to achieve what they must accomplish... the mission.

The point is this. Churches will close their doors if they do not change their approaches to fulfilling the mission. David Haskell (professor of religion and culture at Wilfrid Laurier University) said, "A Canadian study found that conservative churches are still growing, while less orthodox congregations (liberal) dwindle away." The conservative churches changed their approach but not their mission. Liberal churches changed both their approach and their mission. As such, liberal denominations' foundation became shaky. They are allowing the world to transform them rather than transforming the world themselves. Change the method but remain true to the mission!

Schools have a mission to educate and equip our children. Thriving schools ensure that the learning environment is conducive to success. They understand technology has made a tremendous impact in the world. At times it has been negative, and positive at other times. So they embrace it and use it for the edification of the children. Parenthetically speaking, schools would do well to teach students how to use technology responsibly in and out of the classroom. Because the times have changed, schools have to change. To properly educate the children, some schools have a greater burden to look holistically. In impoverished areas, thriving schools implement strategies to address single family households, lack of transportation, hunger, crime, gang related activities, wellness challenges, poverty, transient communities, etc. The mission remains fixed. But creative changes in the strategy (with a strong and supportive school board) to address the needs of today are in order. Disrupt the status quo.

Top schools in isation have this in common. The superintendent, administrators, teachers, parents, school board, and the community are on the same page trying to achieve the same mission. When a change is needed, they change together. They usually attack problems and not each other. They do whatever it takes to keep the school district healthy and the children thriving. Divisive school districts do not foster success. They do not embrace change well. They fear disruption.

Businesses that embrace change succeed. Those who do not, often fail. Change for the sake of change is not useful. Changing the means to reach the desired end is efficacious. Prosperous companies are good at reinventing themselves. Oft times this is a necessity for survival. Let's do a few comparisons. The first names in the list below made the necessary changes. The second names either did not or were too late to respond to market conditions and/or competition.

  1. Netflix v. Blockbuster

  2. IBM v. Amdahl

  3. Amazon v. Borders Bookstore

  4. Old Spice v. Hai Karate

  5. Apple v. Gateway

  6. Best Buy v. HHGregg

  7. Your company v. the competition

If you were to study each of the companies listed above, you would discover a declining business before the ship was righted and they grew into what they are today. Many, if not all of them, will need to change again. Netflix is facing competition from Amazon, Hulu, and others including large cable and satellite companies trying to regain lost ground. Amazon and Walmart continue to duke it out. But the company is so large and diverse that they face competition on many fronts from the likes of Best Buy, Target, Sears/Kmart, and in electronics and general merchandise; eBay and other auction sites; and CDW, PCC, Insight, Oracle, and others in the commercial space. How Amazon responds and adapts will determine its future profitability.

The bottom line. Organizations need change agents. They need disruptors. However, they need those who are open and willing to change the methods while remaining true to the mission. Are you that person? Are you the one who is willing to speak up or at least be willing to do something different for the health of the organization? Like good companies, strong leaders must continue to reinvent themselves to keep adding value. What got them to where they are will not keep them there. They engage in continuous improvement, changing for the better... without changing or compromising their underlying values. Stay true to yourself. Stay true to the mission. But be willing to change the methods to acheive the objectives. Remember, there is always a place on the team for a change agent.

Are you ready for more success? It's yours. Claim it. Become known as the disruptor (the positive agent of change) for your organization. That's what great leaders do. They make positive changes. If you need help in this area, please contact me. Let me help bring out the best in you and/or your organization.

That's it for now. Until the next tip....

Mike Nwankwo

Founder & CEO

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