- Infoworks® International, Inc. - https://infoworks.com -

The Future of Work is Here, and Leaders Must Be Change Intelligent®

change highwayContemplating “the future of work” is both exciting and daunting. Now and in the future, compared to our parents, we have a vast array of choices over how we work, where we work, when we work, and with whom we work. Innovative work arrangements such as “flash organizations [1]” are in full force all around the world, and they are mushrooming in their variety, in the industries they’re transforming, and in the types of professionals they affect. We are dealing with constant change within organizations — mergers, competitive threats, and governmental regulations, to name just a few. “Work” itself is being re-imagined, and the meanings of “organization” and “team” are being transformed. All of these new arrangements involve change, and change presents challenge. As we will see, within these new contexts, Change Intelligent® leadership, or CQ®, is vital.

As working professionals, we must now master how to ply our trades within organizations that are often structurally fluid. This applies to all types of leaders and professionals — employees within corporations, contract professionals for hire on a single project, or members of flash organizations. You might even fulfill more than one of these categories at the same time.

We must learn to adapt to this new world of frequent organizational change, especially because evidence shows that many have failed to adapt. When studying major organizational changes (mergers, new technologies, shifting business processes, etc.), three decades of research (from Harvard studies in the mid-80s to more recent work by McKinsey and Company, to name just two) reveal a failure rate as high as 70% or more. If we continue to struggle with managing change, how does this bode for our ability to manage fundamentally new organizational forms and our place within them?

One way forward is to study how successful change happens. While there are many layers to that onion, a key is defining how successful changes are led. Managing organizational change – and managing organizations and work arrangements regardless of form – is important. We need to handle the basic managerial tasks, and we need help from the “change management toolkit,” such as all the models and methods at our disposal (project plans, etc.).

What’s missing so often is our ability to lead in a way that gets results. Leadership is important in any organization, on any team, and for any change initiative to achieve success. And leadership is especially mission-critical for new work arrangements such as flash organizations, which depend on professionals who don’t know each other coming together to achieve a challenging, never-done-before objective within often extremely challenging constraints.

Change Intelligent leadership is mission-critical in the new world of work. Leaders with strong Change Intelligence (or CQ) are aware of their style of leading change, and able to adapt their style to be optimally effective – when working with vastly different people, projects, and processes.

So what qualities constitute strong CQ? First, let’s clarify that we’re all leaders, regardless of tenure, title, or role. We’ve all heard the call for “agile organizations,” and indeed the move toward new work arrangements is testament to the need for increasingly agile organizational forms. We need agile leadership to achieve agile organizations. We need to build our individual and collective CQ.

Building CQ starts with awareness of one’s style of leading. The three fundamental leadership techniques of a high-CQ leader are:

Successful change and successful organizations need all three – and that’s even more true for leading agile, temporary, high-risk/high-reward work arrangements. Here are questions to ask yourself as you learn to lead from the Heart, Head, and Hands:

Now and in the future, we’ll continue to be presented with a dizzying array of opportunities and iterations when it comes to workplace organization. To optimally capitalize on this abundance, we’ll need to continually expand our capabilities to lead all the many changes in our workplaces and our world. Leading change starts with each of us. In our ever-changing world, one of the few things we can control is ourselves – our mindsets and our behaviors. Building our CQ is a powerful step in the journey.