Change Leadership Managing Cognitive Dissonance


Published July 11, 2013

Dr. Tyra OldhamLANDsds Sustainable Voice News

The ability to grow is based on the willingness to accept certain change. Change is inevitable but yet, we can resist the onslaught of pending changes to our detriment. Change is managed by decision or default.  Organizations are faced with new realities such as the data avalanche, technology advancements, energy demand, energy efficiency, people, productivity, leaning operations and determining emissions effecting air, quality, and brand.  These decisions of structure and management are not subject to big business but reaches out to smallest of businesses to remain competitive and to think differently about optimizing resources, supply chain and one’s value proposition continually.

If change is one action that we resist, this influence is pushed across our organizations and supply chains. It behooves leadership to embrace change. The reality that many of our leaders are within the baby boomer age with a rise in new gen leaders. The ability to manage change within these generations is shaped and diffused differently by organizing people and information that net different results. The opportunity is to consider the cognitive dissonance of change becomes more relevant in that new gen leaders and baby boomers are influenced by their generational experiences influencing their today leadership.

“The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.”

Cognitive dissonance is not new but yet relevant to how we consider how to manage our organizations under the influence of big data, technology, globalization and the subtle push to think sustainably, focus on ecosystems and the impact of the proverbial footprint that is not constrained to carbon but extends to water, inclusion, data and decisions. The accountability of today is large and the considerations continuous.

Today, people have to contend with varying beliefs of the now proposition of what is relevant for my today’s financial needs versus placing interest on reinvestment within the company that reduces my today’s growth for tomorrow’s sustainability. How do leaders manage the ability to produce for today’s shareholders amidst the decisions of tomorrow’s stakeholders.

Orienting to change is complex mental construct where strike decisions have to be made either balancing the decision between varying options or allowing the default choice of no decision employing a change velocity to take place. Both decisions effect the stability of the company today and tomorrow. The choice to make decisions to show value for today versus planning for the long-term can place any decision-maker and leader within cognitive dissonance.

The conflict:

  • It is important for the company to meet certain profits.
  • I am investing in a market that is unstable with high gains.

These choices each day influence our change matrices to employ effective decisions that are today’s triumphs that may effect tomorrows health. When we choose to drink glasses of alcohol, eat fast food and refrain from exercise we make a short-term health decisions knowing there are impacts tomorrow despite the uncertainty of the total risk against the fun of the hamburger, drink etc. today. The new qualities of leadership we hope implore a sense of sustainability for stakeholder well being.

Leaders today, when they gain a support circle from that are inclusive of all stages of growth allows one to see the trees in the forest versus the forest for the trees. We all need help in visioning and decision-making when change arises. The more we can determine our dissonance, change tolerance we can begin to address our sustainability and become attuned decision-makers.


LANDsds Sustainable Voice is a news platform to share interconnected ideas, innovation and observation-The Nexuses.

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Posted in Big Data, Business, Carbon, Carbon Footprint, Corporate, Economics, Ecosystem, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Global, Jobs, Organizational Change, Small Business, Sustainability, Sustainability Nexuses, Sustainable Voice, Technology
One comment on “Change Leadership Managing Cognitive Dissonance
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