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Are You Leading Change or is it Leading You?

Man speaking at meeting

December 10, 2016

By: Ky Snyder

Change is something many people assume they must simply react to. Meanwhile, leaders know that change can—and should—be created.

It’s not a matter of power. A leader certainly has more influence within their organization, but anyone can envision and initiate positive change. It’s not about proving yourself, either. You create change because you believe there is a better way. The question now becomes whether you are taking control of your career and being a leader of change, rather than seeking comfort in the status quo.

What it Means to be a Leader

In any organization, the leader’s role is to set the vision and values, so every person in the company has a set of guiding principles for every action they take. With a clear understanding of where the organization is going, why everyone comes to work every day, and how goals are to be accomplished, strategic planning will naturally align with the vision and values.

Embracing Change

By definition, if you don’t change, you can’t get better. As creatures of habit, we tend to avoid change. But, realize that the world around you is changing all the time; if you’re not evolving, you are falling behind. This reality applies to individuals and organizations alike.

That’s not to say that you change just for the sake of changing. The point is that you need to be flexible and view every opportunity for change as a chance to improve.

Becoming a Confident Decision Maker

The many variables that come with career and business decisions are easier to navigate when the vision and values are defined. The decisions themselves might not necessarily be easy, but you can move forward with greater confidence knowing you have a basis for your choices.

If you’re making a personal change, such as embarking on a new career, confidence is paramount to becoming a leader in your new field. If you’re implementing an organizational change, remember that every decision should ultimately be in tune with your customers’ needs.

Creating Culture

Culture is hands down one of the most significant aspects of an organization. I often tell people that leaders get the culture they deserve, meaning it is the leader’s job to create a culture they and everyone else will want to be a part of. As a leader, it’s important for you to be mindful that your actions reflect the culture and values of the company—if not from the leader, then from whom? It’s your responsibility to create and uphold a healthy environment.

Learning from Experienced Leaders

Graduate school is a fairly common route for those looking to become experts in a profession, but the beauty of the Hospitality & Tourism Management (HTM) Master’s Program at San Diego State University is that it blends academics with real-world application.

The HTM Master’s Program is essentially a leadership platform with proven leaders serving as your faculty and mentors. They share their experience and insight with a diverse group of students who have a common passion for breaking out of “business as usual.” The best part is that the program is customized to your goals and culminates with a Capstone Project that positions you as a leader of change in your current organization. To learn more about the SDSU HTM Master’s Program, click here.

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