Lessons in Maintaining the Status Quo


Some leaders are excellent at adapting to and managing change. Other leaders are…excellent.


Mr Burns is a prime example of a leader who is a grumpy old codger stuck in the past.

If you think that’s not a big deal, we’re really sorry but we’re going to have to stop you right there. Effectively managing through change and leading a team to success despite shifting macro or micro environmental factors is considered a crucial skill for leaders to have. Don’t believe me? You should read our latest whitepaper, Leadership in the Age of Disruption. We’ll wait.

Anyway, what does this have to do with our beloved villain, Mr Burns?

Leaders must be able to shift with the times

The ability to handle organisational change is critical – after all, if you can only lead a team when it’s smooth sailing, what value do you offer that any Tom, Dick or Harriet couldn’t match?*

But the ability to expertly guide your metaphorical ship through the storm with a quiet hand and confident actions – that’s a leader who provides a valuable service to businesses far beyond your average manager.

You don’t have to be addicted to The Simpsons to know that Mr Burns refuses to acknowledge that times have changed.

From trying to make a baseball team out of long-dead players…


To just noticing the Great Depression…


Whatever the scenario, Burns is notorious for his outdated notions of both managing his power plant and of the world in general.

*This is not to say that people named Tom, Dick or Harriet can’t be effective change leaders. They can. We’re sure of it.


The consequences of being resistant to change

Between rapidly advancing technology, consumer values and environmental factors, the world for brands is in a constant state of flux. Where once things were a little slower paced and businesses could get away with riding off one massively successful campaign, these days they must be ready to adapt at the drop of a hat.

And if you don’t adapt, or do it poorly, you’re going to be left behind.

Qualities of a change leader

For organisations to thrive, leaders must:

  • Be self-aware and identify destructive, repetitive thought patterns and be willing to admit when something you started is losing effectiveness.

  • Accept that the world changes and business strategies must be flexible to match.

  • Use data to identify trends, and use those trends to guide organisational structures and culture.

  • Have a vision of the end goal in mind at all times without feeling locked into a certain path to get there.

  • Nurture a

    in themselves and in their teams.

  • Be open to outside thinking and influences.

  • Build a team who has the skill and mindset to take change in their stride, both emotionally and operationally.


Count change management as an essential skill

In our whitepaper, we reveal that only 14% of employers consider the ability to adapt and lead organisational change as the most important trait in a leader.

Are you in that 14%, or are you siding with Mr Burns on this one?

Whitepaper: Leadership in the Age of Disruption

As a Human Resources and Recruitment leader, we here at Chandler Macleod understand that people are our business. We wanted to better understand the evolving demands of business leaders, and gain a better understanding of what employees want from their leaders in the modern workplace.

So we surveyed 970 leaders, managers, and supervisors; and 1,084 employees to ask what they believed to be the most critical factors for successful leadership, and conversely, what were the outcomes of poor leadership.

This report doesn’t just give you the outcomes of our research, but we provide some tips and strategies to successfully adapt management skills and leadership in this age of disruption.

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