Change, innovate and adapt

It has often been said that the only constant is change. Yet, despite this, some leaders either can’t or won’t adapt or innovate, regardless of the external forces around them. Whether it is a market swing, a global pandemic, decreasing revenue or other paradigm shift, these leaders often cling to the status quo as if it is a viable option. The problem with this approach is that change is an inevitable aspect of life, so let’s break down how best to deal with this reality.

Choose your perspective: While it is true that change often involves forces that are outside of our control, what is in our control is how we choose to respond and react to change. One option is to dig in our heels and resist the change, complain or become angry or frustrated. The more effective option is to see change as an opportunity to pivot and approach a situation differently.

Get creative: When the world changes around us, if we proceed as we have always done, we cannot expect a positive outcome. Instead, we need to innovate and adapt, and- yes- get creative and find new ways of doing things. Great leadership involves taking a more strategic and entrepreneurial approach both operationally and financially, especially in a rapidly changing landscape.

Be decisive: Too often when things are happening around us, one of the hardest things to do is make a decision or take action for fear of it not being the right or “best” decision. We are afraid that taking bold or decisive action may backfire or not result in the desired outcome. The problem with this approach is that not making a decision sends the message to your team and key stakeholders that you are okay with things “staying the same,” despite the negative impact this may have on your organization and bottom line.

Evolve: This sounds so simple, but consider that many organizations, companies and industries couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt or evolve to stay competitive and thriving. Here is just a short list: Blockbuster, Kodak, Most newspapers, Blackberry, Xerox, MySpace, Sears, RadioShack. Clearly, such a list is always changing. So, be innovative, agile, adaptable, flexible, and- yes- willing to evolve.

“Connect the dots:” Be the kind of strategic leader that “connects the dots” and makes the necessary adjustments to stay in the game. Being innovative is not an option or simply a desirable leadership trait, it is an absolute necessity. If COVID hasn’t reinforced this reality, I can’t imagine what will. It is all about the need to constantly be thinking about new and creative ways to lead your organization in these very uncertain times.

Hope is not a plan: While it is impossible to know exactly what the future may hold, the one thing that is certain is that nothing stays the same. Sticking our heads in the sand and hoping for the best is not how organizations survive and thrive. Strategic leadership involves having a plan and then creating a sense of urgency when communicating the benefits of embracing the plan and the risks of not.

Be patient: While a sense of urgency is important when reacting to the changes around us, so is having patience. Try to avoid becoming frustrated when the decisions you are making do not lead to the desired results. When this happens, it may be time to pivot again, be agile and reassess the situation. Being strategic often means taking a step back, adapting and being open-minded to what will help you and your organization reach your goal.

Steve Adubato’s Lessons in Leadership with Staci Grant, RHU, Vice President Benefits Division, Henry O. Baker Insurance Group and Ranjit Nair, Assistant Professor of Management, Caldwell University, and author, “Potluck Culture: Five Strategies to Engage the Modern Workplace.”

In this edition of Lessons in Leadership, Steve Adubato and Mary Gamba talk with Staci Grant, RHU, Vice President Benefits Division, Henry O. Baker Insurance Group and Deputy Legislative State Chairperson, NJ Association of Health Underwriters, about the connection between effective leadership and employee satisfaction. Then, Steve talks with Ranjit Nair, Assistant Professor of Management, Caldwell University, and author, “Potluck Culture: Five Strategies to Engage the Modern Workplace,” about the differences between leadership and management.

Steve Adubato, PhD, is the author of five books including, "Lessons in Leadership.” His sixth book, "Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff," will be released in summer 2023. He is an Emmy® Award-winning anchor with programs airing on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJ PBS. He has also appeared on CNN, NPR and NBC’s Today show. Steve Adubato's "Lessons in Leadership" video podcast with co-host Mary Gamba airs Sundays at 10:00 a.m. on News 12+. For more information visit