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  • Writer's pictureDerek Rusher

CEO POV: Embracing Change in Leadership

Welcome back!

As we continue our journey through the Five C's of Leadership, we find ourselves at a pivotal juncture: Change. In a constantly evolving world, where technology advances at the pace of my 4-year-old daughter's attention span and new generations enter the workforce with fresh perspectives and ideas, the ability to embrace change is not just a valuable skill – it's a necessity for success.

Shifting Perspectives on Change

Change is often met with resistance, fear, and uncertainty. However, as leaders, we must recognize that change is inevitable and necessary for growth, innovation, and progress. The saying "We've always done it that way" is not allowed under my leadership, and for good reason. Stagnation breeds complacency, while change fuels transformation and renewal. I almost always add a graphic with that saying in presentations. I have removed that type of language and thought process from our Chamber and that is why we continue to be a relevant resource for our business community.

Adaptability in Action

When I first started at the Kearney Area Chamber 6 1/2 years ago, I knew that I would need to influence as many changes as possible in my first 6 months as was expected as part of why the Board hired me. What I didn't anticipate was how the world would change faster than we could keep up. Adaptability is the hallmark of effective leadership in today's rapidly changing world. Leaders must be willing to challenge the status quo, question assumptions, and embrace new ways of thinking and working. Whether it's adopting new technologies, adapting to shifting market trends or accommodating the needs and preferences of a diverse workforce, leaders must be agile, flexible, and open to change.

Leading Through Uncertainty

Leading change requires vision, courage, and empathy (one area I lack). It's not enough to simply announce a new initiative or idea; leaders must communicate the rationale behind the change, address concerns and fears, and provide support and guidance to navigate through the transition. Ramroding ideas is not good leadership! By fostering a culture of transparency, trust, and collaboration, leaders can empower their teams to embrace change as an opportunity for growth and learning.

Action Items for Embracing Change

To embrace change effectively within your organization, consider the following items:

1. Communicate Effectively: Imagine that, one of the 5 C's of Leadership. Clearly communicate the need for change, the vision for the future, and the role that each individual plays in the transformation process. Provide regular updates, gather feedback, and address concerns and questions openly and honestly.

2. Lead by Example: I've talked about this in almost every blog. Demonstrate your own willingness to embrace change by modeling adaptability, resilience, and a positive attitude. Be open to feedback, willing to learn from mistakes, and committed to continuous improvement.

3. Empower and Support: Empower your team members to take ownership of the change process and provide them with the resources, training, and support they need to succeed. Encourage innovation, experimentation, and creative problem-solving to overcome obstacles and drive progress.

4. Celebrate Progress: Celebrate milestones, achievements, and successes along the way to keep morale high and momentum going. Recognize and reward individuals and teams for their contributions to the change effort, and reinforce the positive impact that change is having on the organization. Celebrate more!

Conclusion: Embracing Change for an Awesome Future

To wrap up, change is not something to be feared or resisted; it's an opportunity for growth, innovation, and progress. By embracing change as leaders, we can inspire our teams, transform our organizations, and create the best future for ourselves and those we serve.

Join me next time as we conclude our exploration of the Five C's of Leadership, with the fifth and final pillar: Communication. Until then, remember: change is not a threat, but a chance to write a new chapter in the story of our success.

Thanks for reading,


CEO, Chamber President, Non-Profit CEO, Elected Official, Proud Father of Five Daughters

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