Leaders face a continuous dilemma between learning from the past and thus not reinventing the wheel, and adapting to be able to evolve in order to avoid stagnation and disappointments. This is often a challenging progression, because one of the biggest fears many face is change, and few find change (especially as it impacts their own actions) easy. Mark Twain wrote, "A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away." However, I feel it is necessary for us to put that into perspective by balancing those thoughts with these written by Lowell, "The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinion."
1. Nearly every human being changes his mind on certain issues at some point. Leadership is never about stubbornly adhering to a particular idea, even when the prevailing evidence indicates change is necessary. However, that is far different than when our politicians simply change for political expediency. Great leaders change their perspectives and approaches when they discover a better way, but never change solely for purposes of popularity and/ or political gain. One of the most difficult things for many to do is to admit that a change is needed, or that perhaps they made an error or misjudgment. Great leaders always adapt in order to improve and do something in a better manner. Fearful and weak leaders, on the other hand, either change with the wind direction because of their own insecurity, etc., or seem incapable of change because they are afraid to admit that change is needed. Great leaders are flexible, thoughtful, introspective and forward thinking in nature.
2. Leaders and their organizations must understand that evolutionary change is generally needed to avoid stagnation. Organizations must adapt and evolve to better serve the needs, mission and vision of the organization. This requires true leaders to become strategic planners, not only looking at the past and/ or present, but also weighing its impact on the near future, intermediate term and long term health of their organization. Times change and so do needs, and those in leadership that do not recognize this, and react proactively, are never effective leaders. While leaders must recognize their personal weaknesses and try to either improve in those areas, or at least use the knowledge of these weaknesses to do things better and/ or differently, as well as expand their personal comfort zones, each person is an individual, and great leaders use different approaches that fit best for them. A wise leader doesn't try to diametrically change who he is, but rather gradually adapts himself to address his weaknesses. There is no one size fits all form of leadership!
However, if someone in leadership refuses to adapt and modify in any way, even when change is called for, and adheres to his opinion without considering alternatives, he inevitably weakens himself as a potential effective leader!
With over 30 years consultative sales, marketing, training, managerial, and operations experience, Richard Brody has trained sales and marketing people in numerous industries, given hundreds of seminars, appeared as company spokesperson on over 200 radio and television programs. He's negotiated, arranged and organized hundreds of events.
Richard's owned businesses, been a COO, CEO, and Director of Development, as well as a consultant. His company Website is http://www.plan2lead.net/, and he can be followed on Twitter @rgbrody. For great information on many topics, visit PLAN2LEAD's Facebook page and LIKE ( http://www.facebook.com/Plan2lead )