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Sheep and Lions: Taking the Lead in your Business Transformation Journey

As they embark their business transformation journey, many senior management executives worry whether their teams are ready to follow. The real question, though, is whether they are ready to lead.

By Greg Pritchett, Managing Director at Marval Software

Anyone who has ever managed people, knows that people are reluctant to change. No matter whether big or small, change can be upsetting and disturbing; and that’s not just for the impacted teams, but for their managers as well.

When an organisation is in the process of business transformation, change management can become very stressful for CIOs. Challenges like, “how to make sure that everyone has accepted and embraced the transformative process”, “how to make sure that all teams keep up with the pace”, “how to infuse the right culture to accelerate change”, only add up to the existing amount of stress and pressure on the CIOs, who can feel unsupported and overwhelmed in their newly formed role.

And they are in for interesting times. Today’s CIOs are not just managing infrastructure, they are the protagonists of change management across the organisation; the change in work models, the change in processes and, most importantly, the change of culture. And it’s the last part that brings the most percussions, since it involves the greatest impact to people.

While people can be (and usually are) reluctant, they are also open to inspiration. And great leaders are not expected to plan and execute; they are expected to inspire, motivate and empower people to work towards the goal.

Alexander the Great once said: “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” I believe this is the epitome of the crucial role the CIO has to play in leading the organisation’s business transformation journey. Sure, your teams might have a lot of reluctant sheep (hopefully some lions, too), but it’s your attitude and your skillful management that will define whether this journey will be a success.

The business transformation journey starts with the lions, who will inspire their teams and ensure that they are all in the process of embracing change, fully engaged and motivated. It won’t be easy, but it will be an exciting, enriching and rewarding experience.

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