I’ve heard this phrase often in my work with organizational leaders, and I heard it again just last week.

One year into a global pandaemic is the change-making process still a challenge? Absolutely! Make no mistake about it, significant, sustainable change is difficult.

Not sure where to start making change? Start by leading.

When times are good and stable, most organizations rely on a management mindset: processes are fine-tuned to predictably maintain and do what our organizations do. This is the business environment where planning, budgets, metrics, strategies, and roadmaps thrive.

A management mindset is crucial to stability and success, and the predictability brings comfort. However, when crisis or disruption occur, everything that was stable and predictable goes out the window along with the best-laid plans.

Suddenly, teams and leaders feel overwhelmed and anxious, desperately trying to plan for a return to ‘normal’.

While trying to manage their way forward, many organizations lose their way. The management mindset simply doesn’t work in times of disruption.

In times like this, organizations need to use a leadership mindset.

Management forecasts, budgets, plans, and controls. Leadership innovates, inspires, challenges, and empowers.

Organizations utilizing a leadership approach are focused on the fact that in times of disruption people seek guidance, support, purpose, and community.

As a result, these organizations are finding ways to actively communicate, innovate, and be responsive to the changing needs of their audience. These organizations deploy surveys and appreciation campaigns and invite in new people to generate new solutions to old problems.

Organizations with a leadership mindset are challenging the status quo, re-examining their missions, and asking whether they are serving people to the best of their abilities.

If your organization is doing more of the same virtually, it’s managing change.

If your organization is anxiously awaiting a return to normal, it’s managing change.

Managing change is a missed opportunity.

The decision to lead change is a commitment to engage more people, create more relevance, and produce meaningful, lasting change.

Change starts by having the courage to lead.