In the dynamic world of the Engineering Business Owner and the obligatory fickle customers, company acquisitions, woke employees and competitors happy to make little profit, the capability of the organisations leadership to connect all the dots and tackle change management head-on has become an essential skill.

So, what does Change-Leadership look like?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” is a popular quote attributed to Gandhi. Gandhi didn’t actually say this but let’s not get in the way of a good story. A quick google search will soon reveal what Gandhi actually said and if I dare be so bold as to paraphrase his genius, I think what he was actually saying is; if you want to see change you must lead it yourself!

And in a world where the term Leadership has become somewhat commoditised knowing how to execute change is likely to have a direct correlation to not only the success of the change programme but the long-term survival of your business. Combine this with my experience of working with both Engineering SME’s and large multi-company organisations where the Leadership have a disproportionate impact on the business language, behaviours and ultimately the culture, it’s not hard to see why Change-Leadership has become critical.

The Management Philosopher Dr Glenn Hole suggests that change-capable leadership must have three main capabilities to successfully navigate their business through a significant change process. 

“The 3 C’s of change”

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Ok, so if you look up Dr Glenn Hole you will see he only mentions communicate once but allow me some poetic licence. I have been an Owner of a number of Engineering Businesses myself so what have I seen work well and not so well..

  1. Communicate far more often than you ever imagine is needed. The brain tricks you into thinking you have discussed the change enough for everyone to know and understand, you haven’t, honestly, keep communicating.
  2. Communicate the “why” as much as you communicate the “what”. It’s tough as an Engineer because you will be so focused on the details and timescales of the “what” you will overlook the “why” this is all needed in the first place. If your team understand the why they are more likely to be engaged in the process.
  3. Communicate the whole strategy, not just the plan but also the destination, The Vision. Don’t think for one minute you are the Project Manager, you need to become The Chief Storyteller!
  1. Collaborate.

If the whole programme is designed and planned behind closed doors, your team is less likely to buy-in to the change. You may get the nods and the words you hope to hear but behind the scenes people could become negative and in some extreme cases obstructive to the project. William Schutz, PhD in his FIRO-B model calls this the inclusion stage and if handled correctly will drive commitment, better still if you give your team control, he argues they will take ownership of the project.

Bringing the team together to have input, plan and execute the change will impact greatly on its chances of success.

  1. Commit.

If you accept that Leadership has a disproportionate impact on how the wider organisation behaves and what it pays attention to then it is essential that the Business Leader adapts their own beliefs, language and behaviours to support the change process. If you are implementing a more customer centric culture and systemising a Key Account process but the most Senior Leader in the business never completes their commitments or makes those customer calls then guess what the rest of his team are not going to do?

In a world that is becoming more dynamic with a faster pace of change the role of the Business Owner has to be that of a Change-Leader carefully planning, including, communicating and executing for their Business to thrive.

If you would like to talk about any of the points raised in this blog or would like to engage my services to help your next business initiative then please contact me for a free exploratory call.

Published On: April 8th, 2021 / Categories: news /