Next week my family and I will finally be moving into our new home. For the past seven months, we’ve been existing in a rental home. I use the word existing because it feels as if we’ve spent this time in limbo – simply making do with the situation at hand and not making any improvements. After all, we know we’ll be leaving, so why invest our precious resources in a situation we know will change?
As I reflect on this mindset, it occurs to me that many corporate managers may feel the same way. Why should they invest their time, energy and budget dollars to improve their organization when they know that, within a matter of 12 to 18 months, an edict will be issued from “on high” to change direction yet again?
Successful corporate managers refuse to accept a basic premise of the preceding argument – that edicts for change are issued from “on high” and, as managers, their role is to “make it so.” Managers become leaders by helping to shape the changes being discussed and explored by senior leadership. They proactively gather the necessary performance data about the current state, and develop ideas about how the current state can be improved. They test their ideas using the data available, and share their findings with senior leaders in terms appropriate for that audience.
These managers recognize that being closest to the customer / business process / technology makes them uniquely qualified to identify ways for the organization to best achieve its strategic goals, and they leverage this unique position to work collaboratively with senior leaders to shape the change initiatives being pursued.