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  • Writer's pictureRyan Hunt

"Grow or Die" - How Business Acumen Accelerates Change Management

Business Acumen: Change Management

Accelerating Change

"Grow or Die" - it's a saying that I think most of us have heard over the years. Harvard Business Review published this article back in 2018, but in my opinion, I think it's more relevant today than ever.

So, for those of you that didn't read the article, let me summarize. Basically, it dives into five different behaviors that most leaders that embrace change typically has.

My take from this article: Business acumen helps to accelerate change management.

How does business acumen accelerate this and why is it important? Well, business acumen helps people find the why, identify opportunities, assess risk, win the buy-in of needed partners, and make better, faster, stronger decisions. Now, let's discuss the five behaviors covered in the article.

Five Behaviors of Leaders that Embrace Change

1. Share a compelling, clear purpose

This is exactly what it sounds like: many people have a natural instinct to resist change and need a compelling reason to overcome instincts.

  • As CEO Shoei Yamana of Konica Minolta has said, “My belief is that people don’t work for numbers…they need to share the same belief that they are creating value in some way.”

So, leaders need to highlight their purpose and give people the opportunity to get comfortable with change and motivated based on the purpose.

2. Look ahead and see an opportunity

A Gartner article states:

  • "More than 80% of organizations manage change from the top-down..."

This may have worked before when knowledge and experience were held at the top, but today, the work environment is more complex and interrelated than ever. To prove this, check out the stats below:

Business Acumen: Statistics

With this in mind, my thoughts are that the people who are closest to the customers, the market, and the work should be empowered and incentivized to find opportunities:

  • "Make opportunity-seeking part of the regular conversations"

  • "Provide Space to experiment"

  • "Advertize success"

3. Seek out what's not working

Typically, bad news doesn't travel up within an organization. So, leaders that are hoping to make a change need to do the work to figure out what is not working within their organization. Then they can use that information to make informed change decisions, and can continue to help their business grow.

A little differently, but just as important, is focusing on culture and trust. These two values are critical in accelerating change management. People make the difference, and leaders need to grow that culture of trust to empower their teams to make smart and effective decisions to spur these changes.

4. Promote calculated risk-taking and experimentation

Robert Kennedy, paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw, said, "There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

Success is impossible without risk. Period.

Leaders in change management know and understand this. So, they work within their organization to encourage and promote risk-taking and experimentation in a smart and calculated manner.

5. Look for boundary-spanning partnerships

It takes teams and cross-boundary collaborations to build products, attract customers, and achieve results. Leaders that are successful in change management strive to make these mutually beneficial partnerships, and maintain the relationship long term.

So go out there and become a leader in change management! ...and if you need some help, we've got some business acumen training your organization should check out.


Ryan Hunt, Senior Consultant - Acumen Learning

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#businessacumen #business #businessstrategy #changemanagement #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #learninganddevelopment

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