Don’t manage change. Lead a transformation.

Don’t manage change. Lead a transformation.

By Jose Ruiz

Jose Ruiz serves as Alder Koten’s Chief Executive Officer providing vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the firm’s future. He is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.

Originally published on Forbes.com.mx

We often confuse “transformational leadership” with “change management.” They are two different things. Someone can be a good change manager, but may not be a good transformational leader. However, the greater a leader, most likely, the more transformational they are.

First, let’s discuss what change management is. It is an effort of a management to execute activities that would make a difference with incremental improvements. A change can be easily measured and quantified, as it is mostly tangible thus can be seen with naked eyes. An example of a “change” is an increased revenue or productivity.

On the other hand, a transformation is a comprehensive change where the improvements appear both in tangible and intangible forms. It means the improvements can be both measured, quantified and experienced in other ways. Transformation goes beyond what can be seen with the naked eyes, as the improved outputs would result in fundamental breakthroughs as well. An example of a “transformation” is when an organization improved its overall culture from product-centric to consumer-centric.

Thus, a transformational leader brings about changes on various levels simultaneously. They inspire, motivate, and move people to be their optimized selves in making meaningful improvements for the organization. Together, a transformational leader develops a future that is worthy of people’s efforts and for the betterment of stakeholders.

A transformational leader earns the trust of the stakeholders to move forward and beyond what they are accustomed to. New activities based on transformed beliefs and assumptions bring out the best of the people and, eventually, the organization.

Thus, how can one become a transformational leader instead of a change manager?

First, think instead of merely execute.

Execution is important, there is no doubt about it. However, executing while continuously thinking that is the best for the organization and stakeholders go beyond merely “managing.” As a leader, you need to understand the impact of an activity the fundamentals and the greater good.

Second, create a vision instead of goals.

What’s the vision of the company for the stakeholders? While increasing revenue is an admirable goal, does it involve improving the lives of stakeholders? A good visionary transformational leader understands both and impose the vision in every goal-oriented activity.

Third, inspire instead of merely produce.

Every product should do more than merely being an output. It should also inspire with both its high quality and leadership standing in the market. A transformational product would inspire future outputs and the competitors. And a good transformational leader understands this really well.

Fourth, create a timeline and tie every milestone to the vision.

Since every goal has a deadline, develop a clear timeline comprising of milestones of completed meaningful achievements or major activities. Does every milestone adhere to the vision? Check and recheck every single time to ensure every activity adheres to the bigger vision.

Fifth, dare to dream big and follow through.

Don’t just dream, but also follow through. A good leader ensures that following through every single goal is the key to success. After all, success comes in aggregat. When every single goal is executed well with both high product quality and in alignment with the bigger vision, incremental transformations is taking place.

At last, being a transformational leader requires much more than being a change manager. You need to embody the vision and fundamentals of the business while also ensure the goals achievement. After all, a tranformation can be both seen with naked eyes and felt with the heart.

About Alder Koten

Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. The firm was founded in 2011 and currently includes 6 partners and over 28 consultants in 4 cities. The firm’s headquarters are located in Houston and it has offices in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City with partner firms in New York, Boston, Chicago, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom. We know where to find the executives you need and how to attract top talent to your organization. Our approach to executive search is based on a thorough understanding of the strategic, cultural, financial and operational issues our clients face. Our executive search engagements are targeted and focused on the specific requirements of the position including industry and functional experience, skills, competencies, cultural fit, and leadership style. Our process is rigorous. We take a disciplined and structured approach to identifying potential candidates that meet the position requirements including subject-matter, functional and regional expertise. We use our high-level professional networks, industry knowledge, and internal research resources to achieve results in every executive search engagement.This is a text block. Click the edit button to change this text.

Jose Ruiz is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.