Leaders Need to Change, Too
One thing that helps us to develop strong change leadership skills is our ability to create change for ourselves. Everyone gets comfortable in a role after a while and complacency can set in without you even knowing it. So you always need to find new ways to learn and to challenge yourself.
For me, that means I don't sit in one place too long. I've been in several industries: manufacturing, consulting, telecom and now transportation. Some of the career moves I've made were lateral for the sake of going into a new area and continuing to learn. Having to adapt to new cultures and structures, develop new relationships and comprehend new business models and markets makes you sensitive to how individuals react to change and what makes change harder or easier.
Up and coming IT leaders should make sure they are moving around within their companies and making selective, intelligent choices to move to other companies. You'll see that type of activity in the background of people who excel at change leadership.
In the end, to inspire change in others, you have to embrace change in yourself.
Michael Rapken is executive vice president and CIO of YRC Worldwide. He is a member of the CIO Executive Council. YRC Worldwide is a 2007 CIO 100 honouree.
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