These days it seems that we’re all so busy, overcommitted, and information-obsessed. Our never-ending to-do lists are long and we run around trying to “keep up” or “be important,” and in the process stress ourselves out. Unfortunately, it often takes something bad to happen to slow us down, wake us up, and force us to focus on what truly matters most in life.
My presentations about leading change usually include a story about Double Stuf Oreos and Brussels Sprouts. You can view the story here, but the basic principle is simple: A child will willingly change what they are doing to reach a jar of cookies on top of your refrigerator. You seldom see them act with the same sense of urgency to acquire Brussels sprouts. With that in mind, leaders generate creative tension when the vision they create for change is compelling – like cookies – rather than boring like vegetables.
The government we want is nimble, flexible, and responsive. The government we experience, in many cases, is slow, cumbersome, and totally unresponsive. Let’s put this another way: We want our government to operate like our favorite business. We believe, in contrast, that our government is the poster child for lumbering bureaucratic inefficiency and employees who are out of touch with the realities of the marketplace. Twenty plus years of working with private and public sector organizations has taught me that the truth is actually somewhere between the two extremes.
Jay Goltz writes a blog on small business and entrepreneurship for the New York Times. His March 10, 2014 posting was titled “10 Words Entrepreneurs Should Use With Caution.” In that piece, Goltz shared 10 [...]
Leaders distinguish themselves in times of great risk and great reward. Whether it is the political leader who bolsters our confidence in times of crisis or the business leader who follows her instincts to seize an opportunity, we respect and admire the leader who is out front when the stakes are high.
Every change is evaluated against the result AND the damage inflicted during its implementation. Ignore the people side of the change (feelings and perceptions), and it is only a matter of time before the desired results suffer, too. The type of change needed in today’s successful organizations is continuous. It is generated from every level, and it requires engagement and commitment from those involved. You can mandate compliance. Commitment and engagement to make change work are volunteered when you focus on more than the end result.
Delivering customer service – at least the way it is practiced in most companies – is easy. The customer asks you for something, and you give it to them. Building a culture that is obsessed with serving customers is hard. Carl Sewell’s family of auto dealerships is at or near the top for sales and service with the brands they represent for one simple reason: They are the best at sustaining a culture that serves customers.
Culture change follows behavior and performance change not the other way around. If you buy into that premise, the behavior and performance you expect, enable, measure, reward, and hold people accountable for will become the habits that define the culture. The best organizations have clarity, alignment, and execution across each of these areas. And that leads to the question of “how do you know a change is taking place?”
There has to be something we can learn from Washington’s failure to address the debt limit, right? There are three very important lessons about leading change you can take from the chaos over approving the federal budget and raising the debt ceiling.
Don’t worry about the sale. Just take care of the customer. Give the customer the best customer service you can deliver, even if the customer isn’t buying, and eventually the sale will come.
Great work leads to great results. In this guest blog, David Sturt from the O.C. Tanner Institute shares what was learned from research about how great work happens. This is fascinating info.
Why did you write a book about change? The host of a recent radio interview was being polite and, I suspect, genuinely interested. But the question is an important one—a quick search on Amazon.com found over 150,000 book titles that have something to do with change. Let’s assume that some of those titles are duplicates for hardcover, paperback, Kindle, etc. That still leaves thousands of books written on the subject. Aren’t those enough? The short answer is, “No.”
Scott Keller and Carolyn Aiken, consultants at McKinsey & Company, suggest that 80 percent of what leaders care about and talk about when trying to enlist support for change does not matter to 80 percent of the workforce. To gain the commitment for the change that you want, you must connect with people where they are. You do that by making the change relevant and real.
Don Draper, the fictional advertising guru on the television show “Mad Men” says, “Change is neither good or bad. It simply is.” Good luck convincing your team of that. We all want the change we [...]
“When will things get back to normal?” That question has been asked countless times since the economic meltdown of 2008. Most people want to know when the job market will bounce back; the economy will return to something close to sustained growth; uncertainty will subside; or the rate of change will slow to a more manageable pace. But, what if this is it? What if instability, rapid change, and uncertainty are the new normal? And, what if I’m wrong and things bounce back quickly? If you can succeed now, you will crush it then.