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Leadership agility in times of change

inspiration:with Cynthia C Hakutangwi

Today’s environment is demanding flexibility, adaptability and adeptness at simultaneously managing diverse, evolving objectives, priorities, people and strategies without sacrificing results. But what does it take, in a practical sense? What are the skills and tools that make it possible to be agile?

If one disease can provide wisdom beyond our comprehension of how fragile, interconnected and precious life is, the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic offers a plethora of lessons on a personal, regional and planetary level. Crises like Covid-19 show the urgency to promote necessary transformations for our society to survive in the 21st century. It can be a good reminder that in any breakdown, there is always a chance for breakthrough.

Amidst the acute sense of loss, anxiety and insecurity Covid-19 has brought on all fronts, do you feel that it has any silver linings to offer? What have you experienced that you would consider a positive aspect in this shift from life as usual?

You too can take initiative
Almost everything we see around us was created through self-directed people. Without someone’s initiative, governments would not have been formed, cities would not have been built, and technology would cease to exist. Whilst it is good to do what we are expected to do, greater success is achieved through the ability to do what needs to be done before anyone else recognises it needs to be done. This takes discipline. Initiative is the ability to take action proactively and is like a muscle that you can exercise. The more initiative you take, the more opportunities you are creating for yourself and others. A lack of initiative breeds complacency, and complacency breeds loss. Game-changers are seen in their personal development efforts and sacrifices as they widen their scope and knowledge base to improve their skills. It is seen in their actions as they take time to write their own plans, set their own goals and direct their own work to achieve greater results than anyone requires or expects.

Game changers are willing to learn, unlearn and relearn
In the words of Alvin Toffler in Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Power at the Edge of the 21st Century: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Learning agility is the key to unlocking one’s change proficiency and succeeding in an uncertain, unpredictable and constantly evolving environment, both personally and professionally. Unlearning requires letting go and moving away from those things that are not relevant to your purpose, destiny and calling. Relearning has the potential to birth disruptive technologies which can change the game for businesses, creating entirely new products and services, as well as shifting pools of value between producers or from producers to consumers. Organisations will often need to use business-model innovations to capture some of that value. Leaders need to plan for a range of scenarios, abandoning assumptions about where competition and risk could come from, and not be afraid to look beyond long-established models.

Refuse to be changed by circumstances
Beyond the traditional definition of legacy as being something received from a predecessor or from the past, legacy is about life and living. It’s about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future. Game changers are agents of change that refuse to be changed by the circumstances of their assignment. They have the ability to positively affect change wherever they are planted without being negatively affected in the process. Inside of each of us is the potential to rise in the game of life to leave an irrefutable legacy. We have to add value where pain or a need exists, then change the game by providing the solution.

Game changers by their very nature are allergic to status quo, they are fast-paced achievers who will not settle for mediocrity. While we cannot fully control our legacy and how we are remembered, we are more likely to achieve the desired results if we are in pursuit of excellence and purpose. The essence of leaving a memorable legacy lies in making decisions at various points throughout our life about what legacy we want to leave for others. That is, how do we want to be remembered?

Coronavirus is showing us that we really can unite our actions to solve global problems and do it quite quickly in spite of many obstacles and in the face of economic difficulties. The lockdowns we see around the world are forcing us to slow down, take stock and start thinking about our future — what kind of world do we want to see in a decade, or even earlier? The way in which you and your organisation show up in the midst of crisis and change matters. Leadership agility becomes more crucial than ever.

l Cynthia Chirinda is an organisational and personal development consultant, life coach, author and strategist. Looking at improving your career, personal effectiveness, communication skills, relationships, focus, faith and happiness? Wholeness Incorporated Coaching offers you strategies you can implement today to review your progress and achieve your goals. E-mail: LinkedIn: Cynthia Chirinda. Mobile: +263 717 013 206. Website:

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