In times of transformational change, it is important to understand what and how can be done to keep the organization, teams, and employees in working order. The leader must consolidate the management team around the vision of the future and the chosen strategy, ensure a successful start, and overcome resistance (Dutta, 2018). The leader must constantly communicate with the team, become even more attentive to the feelings and emotions of others, build mutual trust and unity, and analyze the experience, consolidating an effective model of behavior. Both Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale and Stanley McChrystal talk about leadership in times of change, and their approaches allow managing changes at the level of the person and the organization.
Stanley McChrystal says that he has always had a traditional understanding of leadership based on his father’s view of soldiers in Vietnam. However, he had a completely different experience of leadership since he had to learn how to build faith and confidence through an electronic medium “without the ability to put a hand on the shoulder” (McChrystal, 2011). This transformational change involved the use of new techniques not just for communication but for leadership. Similarly, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has faced new challenges in business and leadership (Influencer | Gallery Furniture Video Case Study, 2012).
The changes in people, ages, generations, and techniques have led to the inversion of expertise. Thus, a question has arisen: how can leaders stay legitimate when they have never done what their people are doing? This is a new challenge that makes leaders transform in a new time, become more willing to listen, learn, and change their communication abilities.
The higher the status of a leader, the less he or she needs to deal with current affairs but more with innovation, change, and training. When leaders like Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale have to find a better way to run a business, they should find ways to strengthen mutual trust and unity, prevent a return to stagnation. They have to analyze experiences, reinforce effective behaviors, admit mistakes, and reward employees. They should also stay connected to the outside environment, use up-to-date tools, listen to the employees, and support innovations (Dutta, 2018). The leader must select methods and techniques that can make the team more effective. In Gallery Furniture case, they used sales training, computer coaching, and iPads to change sales behavior. Influencer Training from VitalSmarts also motivated the team with the help of incentive pay and recognition and also taught them to love prospecting.
Both Stanley McChrystal’s and Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale’s approaches to leadership in times of change are related to the Strategy-Culture Matrix (Figure 15.5). Each organization is faced with the question of whether its strategies are appropriate for its culture. It also has to assess the relevance of its strategies to the existing organizational culture. This provides an answer to the question of what should be done in the event of incompatibility between strategy and culture (Dutta, 2018). As it can be can see from the example, the new approach to leadership has succeeded because the company has managed to change the culture in such a way that it has become suitable for the chosen strategy. This is the most difficult, time-consuming, and resource-intensive approach, but it is central to the organization’s long-term success.
Therefore, companies should take into account the Relative Strength of Corporate Cultures (Figure 15.4.). Organizational culture should be viewed as an important strategic tool that orients all departments towards common goals, mobilizes staff initiative, and facilitates communication between employees. Since the reason of any commercial organization is making a profit, the leader must achieve a strong corporate culture. The only way to ensure long-term profitability is to create a work environment that ensures the organization is most productive.
Not all organizations are still quite clearly aware that the problems of the present and the future can no longer be solved by using recipes from the past. In modern conditions, corporate culture formation is a serious issue, requiring new technological approaches to its solution.
The generally accepted values, such as discipline, obedience, hierarchy, and power are replaced by completely new ones, such as participation, self-determination, team, personality disclosure, creativity. That is why leaders in times of transformational change have to concentrate on communication, team building, and innovation.
Dutta, S. K. (2018). Strategic change and transformation: Managing renewal in organisations. Routledge.
Influencer | Gallery Furniture Video Case Study. (2012). youtube. VitalSmarts Video. Web.
McChrystal, S. (2011). Listen, learn… then lead. TED Talks. Web.