“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” —Charles Darwin

CEOs must not only embrace change but also lead change during both normal and turbulent times. Being prepared to change mentally helps them avert turbulent times within the organization. As such, CEOs must have organizational agility to achieve organizational adaptability.

When we look at CEOs who have led change successfully through organizational adaptability, Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, comes to mind. Here is a look at Jack Welch and his management principles and philosophies, and leadership tools and techniques that made GE one of most respectable companies in the world.

Organizational Adaptability and Antennae

The dean of leadership, Warren Bennis, once remarked that adaptability is the key factor for leadership effectiveness and success. Adaptability is the key to a CEO’s success in the current global business environment.

Most CEOs can manage organizational threats arising from the internal business environment. However, they often find it challenging to anticipate and manage external threats arising from the external environment. Thus, they must have organizational agility and adaptability to act swiftly to absorb the sudden shocks and setbacks to ensure organizational stability. Just as individuals encounter both internal and external threats, so do organizations. Internal threats can be anticipated and managed. However, it is difficult to anticipate external threats. Organizations, like individuals, must have resilience to survive and succeed. The present global business environment is so highly dynamic that it often cannot be predicted, even by experienced leaders.

Any leader can sail the ship when the sea is calm. But it requires extraordinary leaders and CEOs to sail the ship smoothly and successfully when the sea is facing a storm. Organizations must have their antennae tuned to signals of change from the external business environment

Leaders must adopt tools and techniques to adapt to change. Here is a blueprint to embrace change effectively:

  • Keep your vision right and straight, and articulate it effectively.
  • Create an organizational culture that is conducive to bringing about change.
  • Communicate clearly about the need to change.
  • Enlighten people about the implications of the status quo.
  • Show them the benefits once the change is implemented.
  • Coordinate all stakeholders effectively.
  • Remove the roadblocks by allaying apprehensions.
  • Show people small gains to ensure that entire change takes place smoothly without any resistance.
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