How to lead when the status quo is not an option

Posted on February 24, 2020
How to lead when the status quo is not an option

It is no secret these days that we are undergoing a period of significant change when the phrase “business as usual” has become a recipe for failure.

Since the early 1990s, one management theory has categorized leadership styles as laissez-faire, transactional and transformational. The first was never a good solution but it can become the default style when leaders lose their way. The aim of the transactional approach is to ensure business follows a traditional path where leaders monitor followers’ work in order to bring it back within norms.

But this era of substantive, disruptive change demands a different approach, one that provides a stronger solution to problems that threaten the existence of an enterprise – and it demands leadership that is focused on bringing about transformational change.

Wissam AlHussaini, an instructor at the Schulich ExecEd (Schulich ExecEd), says the number one job of a transformational leader is to implement significant change in their organization – never an easy task and one that fails more often than not, if handled improperly.

The transformational leader must start by working through others to chart a program to the future while navigating today’s complex and disruptive business environment. No one leader has all the answers, and a collaborative approach that engages all members of the team is essential. That leader must be a champion for change who can think at a strategic level and yet balance their approach with a good eye for tactical solutions.

AlHussaini, who is one of four Schulich ExecEd facilitators in the Reach Series’ Executive Program in Transformational Leadership and helped design the course, identifies several characteristics of the transformational leader:

  • Understands complexity and the different currents of change
  • Sees the value of investing in people’s growth and fostering their engagement
  • Has a vision of the future that will sustain an enterprise over the long term
  • Able to chart a path to that future drawing on the talents of his team

This five-day program is designed for senior executives who have been tasked with leading a significant change project in their organization. It looks at how to create and manage a change initiative, understand the disruptive impact of digital technology, seek competitive advantage and coach people to help make it all happen.


The Executive Program in Transformational Leadership (starting April 27, 2020) provides key insights that will help participants design significant and sustainable change in their organization and inspire them to bring out the best in the people who will help them achieve competitive advantage.