The evidence of life is the change that exists. Growth is measured by the transformation that occurs as a result of action taken. Thus, there is a good alteration in condition but there is a contextual change that turns wine to water. Life cannot exist without leadership, a system that envisions the future of a people. In similar vein, we must appreciate that life is a conglomerate of the presumed occurrences and the unexpected that test the values we profess. This unexpected is referred to as disruptive change. Disruptive change is the unexpected switch in conditions.
Change cannot be eliminated; it should be managed. Leaders are faced with the burden of upholding the rare commodity of stability in a world where the mere human instinct prefers to act antagonistic to a force that contradicts a culture, belief or fashion. A transformational leader thinks sustainability, if sustainability must be upheld then the management of disruptive change should be an option. In recent times, the world has experienced increased disruption, from the 2020 pandemic to the evolution in technology, institutions are hit by the disruptive waves that shake leadership systems across the world. Thus, the consistency of institutions is questioned. What is consistency? How do we manage disruptive change?
Internal and external changes are factors that take a leader back to his drawing board. While internal changes result from alteration of conditions within the institution, external changes appear more disruptive, as you may not have presumed its occurrence since it is not within your control. Many times, internal changes are the results of external changes. This means that despite the strategies built by an institution, a disruptive change (external change) can wake members of an institution at midnight to restrategise or they bank on outdated strategies, to fade into obscurity with time.
Relevance is food to the soul; this is the satisfaction of every institution. Thus, in embracing the management of disruptive change and discovering effective measures for managing disruptive changes as a leader, a leader must be transformational in thinking. A transformational leader thinks sustainability, adaptive leadership and focuses on the ‘why’ of the institution’s existence. He employs collaboration while being upskilled.
- Sustainability: Vision is the foundation of transformational leadership. Vision births an institution. Thus, where there is a vision, there is a mission on how the vision is achieved. A leader must appreciate the idea that change is constant and managing change must not be up for deliberation, it is what ought to be done. Being aware of this mantra will guide an institution in building sustainable solutions. Sustainable solutions refer to solutions that put the human race at heart, this can also refer to an institution’s audience. So, the institution desires to align the solution it offers to suit its audience, with the longevity of its solution without derailing its audience’s appreciation of the solution or value it offers.
- Adaptive Leadership: A leader who adequately manages disruptive change must be transformational. A transformational leader must possess adaptive leadership. Adaptive leadership refers to the will to tweak institutional structure and system without overruling consistency. Consistency within an institution is defined by the quality of its products or services. While tweaking the institutional structure or system, its core values which build the measure of an institution’s consistency must not be tempered. Upholding the consistency of an institution guides the internal change in an institution against the craze that comes with disruptive change. During the 2020 pandemic, there was a realisation for organisational automation. Institutions across the world employ emerging technologies to sustain their workflow. Some individuals lost trust in certain institutions, institutions that had their audience experience difficulty in comprehending their technical alternative to the traditional workflow. Their audience appreciated their traditional workflow to the technical ones. Thus, trust was lost. Most Nigeria Tertiary Institutions experience distrust from their students, as traditional school learning appears more efficient. Thus, despite attempting to adapt to the disruptive change in 2020, these tertiary institutions lost consistency.
- Focus: A transformational leader focuses on why projects are carried out by the institution. Focusing on the reason for carrying out a project guides the actions to be carried out. Nothing is certainly new under the sun. Thus, an institution may not be the only solution provider to a problem, there may be competitors. At the advent of disruptive change, there may be a mad rush by the majority which may not be needed for the institution. Therefore, at a time when everyone is appealing that the world is diving into an economy of Artificial Intelligence, institutions have to weigh their reason to tilt in that direction. Sometimes, adaptation may not be full adaption, as it may not be a holistic adjustment of all structures within the institution. A leader must ask, “Why are we taking on this project?”
- Collaboration: The 2020 pandemic brought to the limelight the collaboration economy. As external changes occur and institutional strengths are challenged, institutions refine their missions to specialise in certain spheres rather than struggle a lot with less productivity. Thus, collaboration is needed. A leader sees the efficiency in collaboration and employs it for sustainable productivity. This measure eases the anxiety associated with disruptive change. So, if an institution plays its game in the digital marketing sphere, it focuses on its specialty while collaborating with another institution thriving in Artificial Intelligence. Both institutions can build a solution, complementing each other instead of competing.
- Skill Acquisition: Consistent sharpening of skills acquired and improved personal development is an effective measure to lead against all odds. A leader must be current with emerging changes, this will guide against anxiety when external change occurs. A leader fixes himself in rooms where contemporary discussions that affect his institution are discussed, this enables a leader to be informed on predictable changes. Being informed gives the leader an edge in equipping himself against changes in condition.
A leader who leads against all odds is first a transformational leader. He embraces sustainability and builds on institutional consistency. The aforementioned affirms that no change comes as a shock to a transformational leader, he embraces change as a challenge to stretch.