“Change is the true constant in our world”
Dr. Britt Andreatta is an internationally recognized thought leader in leadership and learning. Drawing on her unique background in leadership, psychology, education, and the human sciences, she has a profound understanding of how to unlock the best in people, helping organizations rise to their potential. Britt is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of experience consulting with Fortune 100 corporations, businesses, universities, and nonprofit organizations. She has received over 9 million views worldwide of her courses on Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning.
- How would you define change?
I go with the dictionary here: the act, process, or result of making or becoming different. Change is the true constant in our world, but thanks to recent technologies the pace and the volume have intensified almost beyond what we are biologically capable of managing. I detail this more in my book Wired to Resist.
- How important is change for successful leadership?
Critical. Crucial. It can’t be overstated. Change is ever-present now, if for no other reason than technology pushes change at a phenomenal pace. In addition, our communication abilities have created a global network so that a shift in one area has a rapid domino effect around the world, touching other industries, economies, environments, and geographies.
“According to Harvard Business School, 50 to 70 percent of change initiatives fail, costing billions of dollars annually around the world. And mismanaged change creates all kinds of hidden problems too, such as fatigue in employees, which can lead to poor decision-making, conflict, and turnover.”
- What tools can educational institutes use to teach this quality to their students?
Many organizations offer either poorly designed leadership development programs or none at all—but all of them should be thinking about ways to equip their students with these skills. I built a leadership development program at University of California, Santa Barbara, 15 years ago and to this day I hear from students that it was the best training they received.
“Giving students a proven and practical foundation that helps establish and continue to serve their life successes over the years, also makes them happy alumni who are more likely to give back to their alma mater.”
The UCSB program was supported by alums—including Dr. Barry Posner of The Leadership Challenge—which helped us keep it thriving through ongoing budget cuts. To date, thousands of students have used that knowledge at their workplaces, with their families, and in their communities. If you want to learn more about it, visit https://osl.sa.ucsb.edu/leadership.
In addition, many college and universities are offering training to students, staff, and faculty on a range of professional skills including leadership, change management, and having difficult conversations. They may create their own or they may leverage training providers like Wiley, Vital Smarts, and BrittAndreattaTraining.com. Copyright © 2018 by Britt Andreatta
- Do you think leadership should be taught as part of a degree or should it be an essential part of every student’s course?
Leadership should be taught as part of every degree program—ideally as part of general education or graduation requirement for every student. Naturally it helps as they make the transition from school to the working world but it also helps while they are still in college. Studies show that students involved in leadership programs and positions have higher GPAs and lower incidents of behavioral problems, and make positive contributions to their campuses and surrounding communities.
In fact, we all benefit when college students learn to be better leaders. Leadership is a process, not a position, and a leader is anyone who is in the position to influence others, so every former student—regardless of job title or industry or career—will most likely lead in some area of life, as parents, teachers, healthcare givers, and citizens.
Perhaps this is why more and more organizations are proactively closing the leadership skills gap with their new employees, and why many colleges and universities have partnered with local and state industries to create leadership development programs (your institution might explore possible partnerships in your area). It’s clearer than ever that giving people tools and nurturing their leadership skills creates a win-win situation for the organizations associated with them as well.
-Interview conducted by Romana Ibrahim