Leading in the New Normal

May 4, 2020 David Witt

“Change is an inescapable fact of life—at home and at work,” says bestselling business author Scott Blanchard. “But it’s how we react to change that makes all the difference. We can choose to ignore the change, lament the way things used to be, or deal with the new reality, find some firm ground, and move forward.”

Leaders set the tone for an organization—and people look to their leaders for direction in times of change, says Blanchard.

“During uncertain times, people look to their leaders to define reality, create plans for moving ahead, and then put those plans in action. Leadership, learning, and talent development professionals have a role to play in this. Many leaders—especially those with less tenure in organizations—have not had the experience of leading during times of massive change. It’s important that L&D professionals quickly ramp up the skill development of these leaders to help them lead effectively by setting departmental goals that are in line with the organization’s overall vision, then diagnosing the amount of direction and support their people need and providing it.”

“These leadership skills have always been important, although some companies still see them as only a ‘nice to have’ component of a long-term learning journey. But when an organization needs to immediately implement new strategies, these skills are critical. If rank-and-file leaders don’t have the skills to turn strategy into action, plans run the risk of being poorly executed.”

Blanchard points to his company’s SLII® leadership development program, one of the many available leadership development programs, as a possible resource to help L&D professionals with this imperative.

“Our SLII® leadership model and training program teaches three basic skills—goal setting, diagnosing, and matching. SLII® has been taught to more than five million managers in the past forty years. Its leadership principles have stood the test of time through countless economic recessions and international crises. Today, SLII® continues to help organizations identify what’s needed now and provide leadership direction and support to get people moving forward on a new course.

SLII® also helps with the mental and emotional aspects of change, says Blanchard.

“The SLII® model provides a framework for meaningful connections by increasing the likelihood that managers and direct reports are talking about the right things at the right time in the conversations they have. Every good conversation creates focus and a deeper connection that leads to the next conversation. That’s important when people are under stress. Leaders need to be empathetic in these situations. When our conversations are awkward or ineffective, we risk breaking trust and undermining confidence.

“We know from our research over the past four decades that SLII® helps people deal with emotional situations more effectively. Our experience with clients shows that up to 75% of the conversations between managers and direct reports involve some degree of emotion.

“Good leaders help their people overcome obstacles in a way that makes the direct report stronger, more resilient, and better able to handle the next set of obstacles. The SLII® approach is specifically designed to provide leaders with the language to move people through four stages of development.

“Stage one begins with clarifying specifically what a new plan looks like. Stage two is about working through the obstacles and disillusionment that inevitably get in people’s way. In stage three, people begin to gain momentum toward the goal. When people reach stage four, it’s clear sailing—they are empowered and self reliant. A lot of joy and satisfaction comes from achieving a goal after tackling challenges along the way.”

Blanchard also shares how the SLII® model inspires progress by increasing intrinsic motivation.

“Passion and inspiration come from doing hard work toward goals that really matter. Our models help leaders partner with their people to identify and develop connection and meaning to the work they're doing. Finding that meaning and positive inspiration from our work is important. It’s something we can hold on to in a challenging and changing world.”


Would you like to learn more about leading effectively during times of change? Join us for a free webinar on May 28.

3 Keys to Leading in the New Normal: Connecting Authentically, Navigating Challenges, and Inspiring Performance

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time

In this webinar, bestselling business author Scott Blanchard will explore how to help leaders connect authentically with their people. Scott will highlight key principles from The Ken Blanchard Companies’ SLII® leadership development program and how it has been used by clients to successfully navigate change and challenging business environments. Blanchard will share how leaders can:

  • Create clarity by defining reality in a way that builds motivation and commitment
  • Navigate challenges by recognizing the four stages of development people go through with any new task or goal
  • Inspire performance by providing people with the direction and support they need to succeed

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how you can improve performance in your organization by teaching leaders how to build meaningful work relationships that drive exponential impact at every level of business.

Register today!

About the Author

David  Witt

David Witt is a Program Director for Blanchard®. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.

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