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Embracing Change and Leading Transformation: Lessons from Goodmorning BSN in Nigeria

Change is an inescapable facet of existence, and its rhythm resonates in the realm of commerce and leadership just as it does in everyday life. In this enlightening session with Koen Litjens, a seasoned leader, proprietor of Motivact, and BSN tutor specialising in Change Management, he unearthed invaluable insights on how to welcome change, invigorate teams, and steer transformation in organisations inclusive of Nigeria. This article is explained under the following sub-headings: The Right Mindset for Change, Balancing Push and Pull, The Four Dimensions of Leadership, and Timing in Change Management.

Fostering the Right Mindset for Change

A crucial lesson emerged during Koen’s enlightening presentation: cultivating a mindset conducive to change. In our contemporary society, there’s often a tendency to pigeonhole individuals and concepts into clear-cut categories. However, breaking free from this dualistic perspective is imperative when discussing instigating change and embedding it in the organisation’s core. Koen passionately underscored the need for leaders to embrace a holistic approach, welcoming diverse opinions, and perspectives. It’s essential to recognise that within these varied viewpoints lies a wellspring of potential energy that can be harnessed. The real challenge lies in effectively directing this energy, even the negative aspects, to propel the change process forward.

Balancing Change Dynamics: Push and Pull

Koen proposed the idea of “push and pull” in change management. It means pushing harder when dealing with resistance or negativity and letting those open to change pull progress along. Successful leadership in Nigeria combines positive and negative energies for sustainable change, keeping motivation high.

Unlocking Leadership’s Four Dimensions for Change

In the world of leadership, Koen illuminated that it goes beyond a mere mental pursuit; it spans four vital dimensions:

i. Mental Dimension – Grasping the Change Journey

Leadership is a multifaceted expedition that transcends mere strategies and blueprints. It commences with a mental dimension, an exploration of the complexities within change. This journey entails a profound understanding of why change is imperative, aligning it with the organisation’s vision, and navigating the intricate path from catalyst to realisation. Leaders must adeptly discern the propelling forces and potential hurdles in change.

ii. Social Dimension

Effective Leadership is more than making decisions in solitude; it thrives on human connection. The social aspect of leadership highlights the importance of engaging with the team. It’s about being there, approachable to team members, and nurturing open conversations and relationships. Leaders must be open to feedback, approachable, and encourage their team’s collective intelligence and creativity to steer through changes successfully.

iii. Physical Dimension: Leading by Example

Leadership isn’t just about ideas; it’s about actions. In this dimension, leaders set the standard for change by showcasing the behaviours and attitudes they want from their team. It’s about leading through example, paying close attention to the details, and ensuring their actions align with the organisation’s values and changing goals. When leaders embody the desired behaviours, it resonates throughout the organisation, bolstering the commitment to change.

iv. Spiritual Dimension – Embracing Dualities and Timing

Leadership goes beyond just strategy; it taps into the soul of change. In this dimension, leaders confront the profound aspects of guiding transformation. It means acknowledging the inherent dualities and uncertainties in change journeys. Change is more complex; it often involves navigating through ambiguity and paradoxes. Leaders must find comfort in ambiguity and understand that change journeys may have ups and downs, moments of optimism and doubt. Plus, timing plays a pivotal role. Leaders must recognise when it’s right to initiate or accelerate change while staying attuned to the organisation’s readiness. Leadership encompasses these four dimensions, from strategy to relationships, setting an example, and embracing the complexities of change’s timing. Effective leaders in guiding organisations through change need to embrace all these dimensions.

The Role of Timing in Change Management

Timing is crucial in change management. Leaders must know when to start the change process. Koen emphasised the importance of waiting for the right moment. By creating a sense of urgency within the organisation and keeping an eye on reactions, leaders can identify when the momentum for change is strongest.

Separate Change Processes and Their Integral Role in Organisational Transformation

Koen stressed the importance of having specific change processes in organisations. These unique processes are vital for successful change management. Let’s explore each one to understand their significance better:

i. Main Business Process – The Foundation of Day-to-Day Operations

Every organisation’s primary business process forms the bedrock of its daily operations, including procurement, sales, distribution, and finance. Even as change efforts progress, this core process must continue uninterrupted. Leaders must strike a delicate balance, driving change while safeguarding the core operations that sustain the organisation’s livelihood.

ii. Improvement Teams – Precision and Expertise in Change Facilitation

In larger organisations, change makers play a pivotal role in steering change processes. These specialised teams guide and supervise critical aspects of change initiatives. They consist of individuals with the expertise, skills, and know-how required to drive change effectively. These teams operate with precision, concentrating their efforts on specific areas for improvement. Organisations can allocate their resources effectively by establishing these focused groups, ensuring meticulous management of every facet of the change process.

iii. Voluntary Fire Departments – Rapid Response to Change Challenges:

Some organisations opt for a dynamic approach by establishing what Koen calls “Voluntary Fire Departments”.

These teams comprise individuals selected from various departments within the organisation. They function as a quick-response unit, assembling when urgent change intervention is needed.

With diverse expertise and perspective, these dynamic teams swiftly respond to specific challenges or opportunities that require immediate attention. Their agility and collective wisdom empower organisations to resolve pressing issues promptly.

Effectively managing distinct change processes is essential for navigating the intricate path of organisational transformation.

This approach enables organisations to strike a harmonious balance between maintaining day-to-day operations and addressing the critical demand for change in an organised manner.

Organisations can efficiently allocate resources to these separate processes to enhance their flexibility and resilience during change.

Koen’s insights illuminated the path of guiding change in organisations. In essence, leaders should embrace change with the right mindset, harmonise positive and negative energies, grasp the four dimensions of leadership, and be sensitive to the timing of change initiation.

Moreover, effectively managing separate change processes paves the way for smoother transitions. Change is a constant presence, and adept leadership isn’t just about responding but also steering and controlling it.

By adopting these principles, leaders can adeptly navigate the ever-changing landscape and lead their organisations toward success.