Expert Panel

Common job issues and solutions in International Management

Why is 'change' not a core competency of most leaders today?

By Debbie Nicol, Founder, 'business en motion' & 'embers of the world'
With customer demands, competition, market shares, employee desires, technologies and business landscapes forever changing, why has ‘the management of change’ never been a leadership competency, or an essential requirement for successful leadership? Mckinsey research indicates the inability to create and drive change being the first reason why a CEO will be removed from his position.
Communication, engagement, strategic mindset, customer-orientation, relationship-building, negotiation, marketing and public relations are all examples of common leadership competencies, and undoubtedly add value.   The question is ‘how much value?’ What value equates to growth?

The result of change is growth, a movement from a current state to a desired state, something that cannot be avoided due to business acting in a global institution. Changed behavior by the people, a decrease in numbers of complaints, increased documented efficiencies, less turnover, greater market share, reduced costs, ROI on-time are all examples of measurable growth, with facts supporting their value. The change consistently applies, and consistently sends the one new message. The growth will also facilitate the ‘flow-on effects’ of the change, such as the financial and KPI achievements. Finance should not drive change – change and growth drive finance.
How to achieve this growth and this state of change will be through the ability to define, assess, plan, resource, communicate, train and coach, implement and reinforce change – all aspects of the competency of change.
Beyond the economic crisis, what business could afford the consequences of not placing change as a core competency of their leaders?


Have you ever made assumptions based on your own culture that led to embarrassing moments overseas?