Jennifer Bryan is a published author, TEDx and global speaker and Managing Director of Change and Leadership, who has worked with over 40 different organisations across multiple industries, such as Microsoft, Fujitsu and Technicolor Creative Studios. She is also Vice President of the Association of Change Management Professionals UK.

Why is Change Leadership Essential for Businesses in 2024?

Businesses typically focus on the tasks that are involved in change – creating a project plan, communications, training, etc. They are focused on the tasks of getting things done – ‘if they build it, the people will come’ mentality is typically used. That may have worked well during a time when we could reliably have a reasonable idea what the future might hold, however that is not generally the case anymore. And although it has been the last couple of decades the accepted theory that change is constant, there was also the theory that there is a beginning, middle and end. However nowadays, change is more of a daily norm and has become more cyclical rather than linear. April Rinne states, “We are living in a world of flux, meaning continuous change, and we need to flux (to cause or learn to become fluid) with our mental muscles” (2021, pg 3 & 4).

A McKinsey report states that in 1958, the average lifespan of an organisation was 60 years; now that is 12 years and by 2027, 75% of the organisations listed on the Standard & Poor Index in 2018, will no longer exist. They will be bought out, merge or go bankrupt. Now that is a startling statistic that clearly illustrates that organisations need to change and adapt or they will die. Furthermore, technology is one of the biggest disrupters of our time and is changing at a faster rate than it has ever done so before. The implications of AI and the current lack of ethics on AI is creating a good deal of headaches for business leaders. At the same time, the demand and needs for technology to evolve at a fast rate is just as great. Then there are the UN sustainability goals that many businesses are trying to adopt across all their operations and supply chains, not to mention the impact international conflicts are having on our organisations and people. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Leading change can be tricky and feel bewildering, particularly when faced with the degree of
uncertainty that is indicative of our world. Additionally, leading people to ensure they are confident and supported to take business to the next level can also be and feel daunting. Many leaders believe people do not like change, but I don’t agree. The actual fact is that people don’t like BEING changed.

Leading change is about people and this statement of the obvious too often gets lost in the over-
complicated methodologies and technology focused approaches to change. Leaders get seduced by the glitter of the gizmo and forget to pay attention to the ordinary, every-day needs of the people who will actually make the technology/change sing. Typically the people side of change is an after-thought and noticed only once things are not working as planned. There needs to be a new mind-set to accept and embrace exponential change and to do so with more than an eye on the plausible multi-technologic centric futures and instead, enable a more human-centric future. Building flexibility, agility and resilience into change programmes by exploring plausible scenarios in line with a clear vision is crucial for future growth of our businesses and the well-being of employees.

One thing is certain – the levels of uncertainty and complexity are going to continue to increase so we need our people ready and resilient. The factors that impact and determine how change will affect our people and organisation’s are quite vast. So to ignore these elements, is not only
detrimental to our plans for change, but quite possibly catastrophic to the success and survival of
our business. How the change is perceived, felt, thought about and experienced determines how the change is viewed.

Using the holistic approach (2021) that includes the ABChange Model® in the context of these
different future scenarios, enables leaders to generate a pathway that includes the people and
ensures they are taken along this journey of change. Thus making sure a business’ “greatest asset” is paid proper attention to whether changes are seen as radical or incremental by marrying the person and the change task together in different future possibilities. This gives leaders the ability to focus on the priorities for the business not just for survival but to generate growth and thrive.

Further Reading:
https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/risk-and-resilience/our-insights/as-gen-ai-advances-regulators-and-risk-functions-rush-to-keep-pace
https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/themes/leadership-matters
https://hbr.org/2024/01/leading-in-the-flow-of-work

Key words: 

Website: www.JenniferLBryan.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-l-bryan/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jenniferbryan_changeleader/


Jennifer Bryan is a published author, TEDx and global speaker and Managing Director of Change and Leadership, who has worked with over 40 different organisations across multiple industries, such as Microsoft, Fujitsu and Technicolor Creative Studios. She is also Vice President of the Association of Change Management Professionals UK.

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