Dynamic Leaders: Managing change is an ever changing constant.

Lieutenant Governor Mark A. Darr spoke recently and shared his history in business. One of his enterprises is MAD Pizza, which hit the area like gang busters. Even with Brazillian style service and exotic flavors of pizza driving the name to be a common buzz about town, it’s not what he expected. A transparent testimony given by one who advocates a financially transparent government. Thank you.

He had owned another business that was a great success in his opinion. He modeled his new business plan based upon past performance and success. He sold that plan to others including the bank, with enthusiastic expectations of performance. Yet, when the money was borrowed and spent, the restaurant built and the doors opened, it didn’t result in the same formulaic results. It is still a great business, but its not what the original business model delivered.

SO, what went wrong? Economy? Yep. Location, Location, Location? Yep. Geographical dynamics? Yep again. Time? Maybe.

I use this example to model that there is no one absolute Cookie Cutter approach to business. Manufacturers don’t design their plants all on the same floor plan. Salesmen don’t all use the same hook to close a sale. It doesn’t matter how successful a person has been at a previous business and position, the dynamics of new groups don’t perform like the original. The individual and group politics are different.

The economy has shut many doors. I watched one organization in 2009 fail to make a single sale out of two locations for as long as six months. The owners were quoted as having said, “I’ve never faced this before. We entered the market after the recession in the 80’s. I don’t know how to manage in this economy.” Sales hit a brick wall the day after Obama gave his first report following 100 days in office. Prospective buyers were telling salesmen that they were going to pay off all debt and enter no new contracts.

Personally, I can’t imagine a location that would be much better for MAD Pizza. Jim Yates, who started the EZ Mart stores, had his formula. Can’t say it was always a corner lot, but it was always located where he could get a price per square foot below a set level. Walgreens focuses on corner lots. Where car wash owners tend to place their business is in lower income neighborhoods, because that demographic frequents the business more often than higher income areas. Location has always been a key to business success. Each focuses on a different dynamic.

People change from one area to the next, one organization to the next, one movie-showing to the next. Years ago I watched a movie where the entire audience responded extremely favorable. During the next evening, the entire audience of different people, and different dynamics, did not respond at all. Sell out crowds but to two entirely different customer bases. What happened over night? Dynamics.

I have seen managers have great success in one group, get moved to a new location and fail. Their managerial skills were the same as before. So what happened? Maybe its like sports teams that have a different level of success from year to year as either players graduate and leave, coaching staffs change, and resulting dynamics adjust, or don’t. The dynamics of any group will change with the loss or addition of any one single personality, manager, or leader.

Wise leaders will make an effort to learn and understand the pre-existing culture and dynamics. It is during this effort that objections and obstacles are identified. Leaders will then focus on influencing those inhibitors and gain their assistance in turning the group to new efforts. Without examining the geographical cultural dynamics, a manger may ride his desk to impending doom. John Getz, one of the best leaders I have worked for, admitted that his fourth plant was much more difficult to figure and manage than any of the others.

The economy has changed the buying patterns of consumers, making the analysts’ forecasts that much more difficult in sales and marketing strategies. On a national level, demographics change as people move about the country seeking employment. Buying patterns change continually. Managing change is an ever changing constant.

Neutralizing the negatives is one measure of a manager’s flexibility as a change agent. Analysis paralysis is a common term. We have to leave the details, to experience the people. People-watchers are more inclined to sense subtleties in organizational dynamic shifts. Listening skills and intuitiveness will payoff. As a leader, will you be flexible enough to change your course based on feedback from your new group? It is most difficult to lead, if no one wants to follow.

Are you a Dynamic Leader? Are you able to lead through group dynamics? Or does the situation burn you to the core? Mad managers drive talent out the door. Dynamic leaders attract new talent, blossom late bloomers, develops their people. They inspire their people to achieve new goals thereby changing the organizations dynamics positively. They influence dynamics, and by doing so, become dynamic leaders.

Have you worked for a dynamic leader? Share your story and what you learned from their example, and Celebrate Success!

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