For leaders to make the impact they aspire to - and indeed they ought to - they must be able and willing to let go of the past, and to be very open about that.
In a rapidly changing world, hanging on to the “old ways” of doing things, is a sure fire way to stay in the past which, in truth, means being nowhere!
I love the quote from Satya Nadella, who on his first day as the new CEO of Microsoft, sent the following message:
“While we have seen great success, we are hungry to do more. Our industry does not respect tradition—it only respects innovation.”
That was a clear message to the troops that the past does not equate the future. It is not being critical of the past, but simply recognising that, that is where it lies!
That was clearly setting the tone and he followed that up a few months later with the following message:
“We must each have the courage to transform as individuals. We must ask ourselves, what idea can I bring to life? What insight can I illuminate? What individual life could I change? What customer can I delight? What new skill could I learn? What team could I help build? What orthodoxy should I question?”
Again that was all about how we must individually and collectively transform ourselves and our work in order to stay relevant and on top of the game.
This lack of willingness to embrace the “new world” can often be seen where a change of ownership takes place, and those who have been acquired appear to have developed such a strong feeling - and perhaps, in some cases, a so far unseen passion for - the “old way” of doing things.
Those that stay with that mindset will be left far behind in the “new ‘ world they are operating in, and will find themselves disconnected.
As leaders, it is our brief to ensure that we are embracing these new changes and bringing our people into this new world with that clear message of change - and it is not optional!