“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
– Albert Einstein.

As the Change Leader, I am often asked: what are the key steps to help an organization evolve?
The truth is there is only one-way: change the leadership. Like the quote above from Einstein explains, a new mindset is required to solve any problem, including those of businesses.

Change Comes From The Top

This is because the culture of an organization relies entirely on its leader. A workplace literally takes on the feel that is set by the one in charge. In a place where expressing views is not welcomed, blame is constant, no one helps each other and problems are passed down the line like a bad game of hot potato, the tone will be rife with anxiety. The environment itself will feel stifling. Who would want to even begin to tackle problems in this situation?

Now, bring in a leader that welcomes discussion, encourages team work, and makes the effort to show employees they are valued and you will quickly see the culture and tone change. Workers will relax, share their opinions and even take on more to help the entire organization.

A current example of a CEO who has turned around an organization is Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer. Under her watch, employees who left the firm are returning and morale, from all reports, is up. A new leader really can make a difference.

The Critical First Step

Recognize The Problem – In another insight from Einstein, he famously said that if he had an hour left before the world ended, he’d spend 55 minutes defining the problem, and five minutes giving the solution. Likewise, it takes an organization time to realize that the old game plan is not actually working, and there is indeed a problem. This recognition represents more than half the battle.

To help an organization evolve, a good leader must:

  • Encourage Teamwork – The No.1 predictor of success in an organization is how much employees help each other, even without being asked. This collegial spirit shows that workers are satisfied and are striving toward a common goal: the success of the whole firm.
  • Provide a Sense of Ownership – People support what they create. Employees, who are given proper recognition for their roles in the firm, feel part of the process. A sense of ownership leads to pride in a job well-done and overall satisfaction.
  • Train Managers – Since change comes from the leadership, get the most leverage by investing training dollars at the top. Professional development pays off for the whole team. In this way, knowledge is transferred down the line to all employees.

In the world of business, where competition is king, keeping pace and having the ability to guarantee your firm has upward momentum requires strong and capable leadership. A good leader brings in positive change, while never forgetting that it was their workers who got them to the dance in the first place!