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7 Change Management Mistakes You Don’t Know You Are Making

Reading Time: 5 minutes

How to challenge the status quo through Disruptive Leadership.

An increasing amount of people talk about ‘Disruptive Leadership’, about disrupting the markets, disrupting the economy, even disrupting the global order. The old way of doing things is getting buried new technologies like autonomous vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain technology, or nanotechnology.

These days, it is either disrupting, or getting disrupted. So, you are probably wondering what your leadership should look like in this new era – and you are not alone. A recent CEO surveys shows that disruption is top of the mind for most leaders today.

  • 74% are concerned they’ll get disrupted by new entrants disrupting their business models
  • 72% are concerned with keeping current with new technology
  • 68% are concerned about their competitors’ ability to take business away
  • 66% are concerned about their products and services’ relevance three years from now.

We often accept the existing state of affair and tell ourselves that change is out of our hands, and with that give away our power by believing we don’t have any in the first place. Disruptive leaders upset the status quo, they challenge mediocrity, encourage innovation and ultimately grow the people in the companies that they work with.

Fact is, that when you feel disrupted it’s already too late. YOU want to be driving innovation within your company, implementing transformation programs and leading into a future that is fundamentally different in nature.

If you want to be a disruptive leader and make a difference, you need to question the standards that businesses and people set for themselves, and stop making the following mistakes you might not even know you are making:

1 Resisting collaboration

As a disruptive leader, you play an essential role in facilitating change and building strong collaborations within your teams, your clients and other organisations which will allow you to find better ways, so you can all move forward together.

You need to be ready to consistently challenge and disrupt the system, try new things and continue to build on shared experiences. After all, we are all in this journey together!

2 Thinking that you were only disrupting the others

 Disruptive Leadership is an inside job before it’s about others. This means disrupting yourself first, checking in with your beliefs and understanding what your true values are. It requires you to know who you want to be and how you want to operate as a leader. You must also let go of constraints and of resistance to change.

It is important to focus on your relationship with yourself, and on your relationships with others. Be supportive of your team, and embrace people’s successes, no matter how big or small. Make work fun and you will see that life becomes so much easier and enjoyable. Not just for yourself, but also for the people around you.

3 Forgetting to take others with you on the journey

A disruptive leader must be clear on and align their own values and beliefs with the vision and purpose of the company, and then walk the talk. How well you are aligned with the business and how well you fulfil your responsibility will define you as a leader and inspire those around you.

Many managers forget that while they might embrace change, people in today’s fast-moving economy crave for certainty, comfort and sameness. These managers like to talk about where they’re going, and why they’re going there. But they always leave out the most important part: telling their employees what’s in it for them, so they change with them. Your team must understand why you’re going where you’re going (the vision and purpose), so it provides them with meaning and they know exactly what’s in it for them.

4 Equipping your team with the necessary training

Today’s ever-changing environment requires us to be flexible, open and adaptive, and if you struggle with these elements, you must empower yourself by learning how to be more self-confident, how to embrace uncertainty, and how to be more flexible.

For promoted employees, the jump from micro-managing others and rolling up their own sleeves to empowering others and creating an environment of high performance and innovation is huge and challenging at the best of times. Sadly, workplaces are often reluctant to provide gap training, especially for transferable skills including:

  • Dealing with complex challenges
  • Critical and Independent Thinking
  • Quick and Smart Decision Making
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Innovation
  • Leadership

You may wonder: “What if I train my staff and then they leave?” Well, consider this: “What if you don’t train them and then they stay?”

The best real-estate we can invest in, is the one we have between our ears. If you invest into developing yourself and your team, the Return of Investment will speak for itself, and the results and changes will amaze you.

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5 Failing to provide a safe and supportive environment

Disruptive leadership is about providing your team with a space where they can live to their full potential and bring their ideas alive. A supportive environment includes nurturing for example curiosity, flexibility, resilience, persistence, adaptability, initiative, and social & cultural awareness.

With this approach, we foster a space for innovation and excellence to empower our team members, so they come to work not because they have to, but because they want to. It offers the ability to think outside the box and to wonder if there are other, better ways to do things, to consider new possibilities, and to not only create accountability for their own performance, but furthermore the outcome of the entire team.

6 Forgetting about structure and planning

Planning and implementing structure is a vital part during a complex change process. As they rightfully say: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Structure does not include overwhelming people with more forms, policies, emails and/or procedures. Having an efficient structure and hole proof planning in place makes jobs more efficient and more effective. It includes eliminating meaningless time-wasters that slow you all down and getting rid of unnecessary clutter.

This also includes adapting and fostering positive behaviours and actions that are aligned with your mission and purpose, so that every single action will bring you and your team closer to your vision. And there is absolutely no substitute for action!

7 Being stuck with your old way of thinking

Over the years, I worked with hundreds of managers and gathered a wealth of knowledge in leadership, and in due course witnessed that we tend to become stuck in a strategy or a pattern of how we do things. When we do things the same way for a while, we start to believe that this is the only way. It becomes our “certainty”, in other words our comfort zone, and we are stuck with our thinking.

To change your results, you must change your thinking. And the only way to change your thinking is to expose yourself to something new and unfamiliar. Out of experience, many corporations hate uncertainty and ambiguity. It what we are sold and taught: How to avoid, prevent, minimise, reduce and eliminate surprises in business to create certainty. But if we focus too much on fear and certainty, exciting possibilities and opportunities that exist all around us disappear in the fog.


Disruptive leaders know that today’s uncertain environment requires us to look closely around us, and beyond the fog, so we can challenge the status quo and successfully implement change. If you program your GPS (or in other words your brain) with your vision and purpose, not everything needs to be mapped out at the beginning. All you need to see is 100 meters ahead of you, just like the headlights of your car. Of course, you need to focus on the road and be aware of any obstacles, must demonstrate flexibility and adjust your speed from time to time.

But if you invest in yourself and your vehicle (your team and your strategies), the fog doesn’t matter because you have your headlights, and with growing clarity, the fog will eventually disappear!

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If you would like an effective tool to guide you through change management and become a disruptive leader, look no further than the PROfound Methodology. It encompasses 6 components covering 360 degrees of leadership and is a proven blueprint for successful change management.

Contact us for further information.


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