10 Cs for change leaders


YOU can’t stay immobile, rooted to the same spot and expect to move forward. Change is disrupting everything around us.

This takes leaders who are always looking for thoughts, tools, techniques and tactics on how to stay ahead of the game.

As a leader, the worst thing is to be caught flat-footed by winds of change. The leader must now become an agent of change.

The leader should possess soft skills and emotional intelligence so as to creatively bring all institutional cogs and grow talent density to fulfil goals.

Moreover, work environments are changing from just being a “job centre” to being a centres of empowerment, improvement and value-addition and the leader has to assume a new role of coach and change agent.

Management guru Peter Drucker read into the future when he said that we live in an era of three Cs; accelerated change, overwhelming complexity and tremendous competition.


Change is one of those things that most people are not comfortable with. It’s not easy to change jobs or switch positions. It’s like there is something inside us which loves to sit on the laurels.

It’s true with the Nokia story; everything looked rosy and glossy, until newer technologies came into the spotlight.

As big as they were, they sat too long on their past successes and forgot to remember that change is coming.

As a leader, what worked in the past might not work now. Look around for things to shift. Look for problems to solve and be a change leader.


One thing with successful leaders is that when they see a problem, they don’t cry and complain. They get to push their thinking capacity and ingenuity to the last stretch.

Most people only “go through” problems, but great people have learnt to “grow through” problems. I have seen that most of my success is not because of the pleasure but the pain I met along the journey of life.

That was the pain of repetition, patience, hard work, failing and not staying down, shame, jeers and sneers. It’s all painful, but these are the actual things that give an edge to every winning leader.


Computation is moving at breakneck speed. Who would have imagined that you would do almost all banking transactions on your smartphone?

Who would have thought that there would be a company called Alibaba.com, where you just purchase a thing from any corner of the globe and it is delivered to your doorstep?

The future leader has to leverage the power of computers. Now, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are swiftly growing and changing businesses. Jobs are going to be lost.

Those who do not want to learn will be found clinging onto tools that are irrelevant and clash with new trends.

Every leader should think of what might come; the next smart gadget and the next new software. The most trendy way of learning these days is to “learn what’s necessary”, not what’s on offer from an educational institute.

Chase seminars and new online courses, especially for those that need to acquire specialised skillset and mindsets.


New threats are not people you might be suppressing as your subordinates, but external forces that will leave you jobless.

One of the most influential and motivational speakers and authors for people seeking advice and guidance on personal development in the United States, the late Jim Rohn once said, “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change”.

If you don’t change you are removed from the game by change, computation and competition

If you miss out on learning, you automatically miss out on changing. Remember, the advantage you had yesterday will be eradicated by trends or drifts tomorrow.

The obvious factor is that if you don’t change you become redundant, incompatible, irrelevant, slow to newer systems, inefficient and unfriendly to the new systems.


Leaders should keep their ears active and be ready to pick any new signal of change. Be attentive to buzzwords, talks and networks.

As a leader, it’s essential for you to attend some business and leadership meetings such as symposiums and conferences so that you are in the loop on the influencing thoughts, attitudes, feelings and actions that drive industry.

Get into those conversations and be part of them. At times you have to lead some conversations by being a thought leader. Stick with young people, and you will learn new trends.


The late American industrialist and business magnate Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress and keeping together is success”.

Look for synergies that will help you accomplish your goals as a leader. Leaders must know that they can’t win when they are isolated, but they do so when they work with others. People who surround you as a leader do matter.


Learn to be in the maze of connectivity. If you are not in that connectivity, it means you are out of the flow. The world is connected by big data, which is characterised by velocity, veracity, variety, volume and value.


Leaders should appreciate that the markets we operate in are diverse and have special needs and tastes.

That requires flexibility and nimbleness to satisfy a particular customer need and learning behavioural economics.

Customisation becomes essential because it modifies the way we have been doing things to suit a particular individual or task.


Create content and be known for it and that is being a thought leader. Become a leading authority and become a leader who is being sought after and rewarded.

At times you don’t need a corporation to be a leader, but create something and become a brand leader.


Leadership requires serious thinking. Think creatively, critically and carefully. The results we see around us are just a manifestation of a thought that was put into action.

Professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School, Freek Vermeulen in an article in the Harvard Business Review said: “Don’t just accept the situation and business constellation you have arrived at. Leadership is not just doing things, it is about thinking. Make time for it”.

  • Jonah Nyoni is an author, speaker, and leadership trainer. He can be contacted on Twitter @jonahnyoni. WhatsApp: +263 772 581 918

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