Bob SelleComment

Focus on the right change!

Bob SelleComment

Focus on the right change!

  • Published on Published on March 29, 2016

We are embarking on change. Below came from parts of an HRB article. Perfect for what I believe is important. I would also add ensure the core change team is totally aligned.

Those of us who change the outlook of one person in our organization will change their world. Even better yet, get enough of us pulling together, we change the organization:)



Hold everyone accountable

The leadership of the change effort can’t end with the top team, the top 100 managers, or the top 1,000 managers. It has to be an all-hands-on-deck engagement. The change leader must signal that enterprise-wide transformation will be a collective effort, with accountability distributed throughout the organization.

But it is far easier to say this than to do this, so change leaders must be ready to back up their statements with real world initiatives that will strengthen engagement. For example, when Hess Corporation launched its 2020 Change Initiative, CEO John Hess challenged his entire leadership team to come up with solutions that would make the company more agile, cost conscience, and faster at decision making. And to minimize change weariness brought on by needless duplication of effort, he created a champions team responsible for coordinating the variety of efforts underway.

Invest in new organizational capabilities

Change leaders must go beyond storytelling, motivation, and mobilization efforts―they need to provide resources so that the organization has what it needs to win in the new environment. This might include capital improvements, process improvements, and building new talent capabilities.

For example, for three decades leading up to 2010, HSBC had successfully pursued a growth strategy and organizational capability that was founded upon acquisitions. However, with acquisition upon acquisition, the leaders within HSBC failed to develop a one-company culture, which made it difficult to integrate its offerings to an increasingly demanding customer base. As such, Stephen Green, HSBC’s Chairman at the time, set the company on a course that called for a dramatic slowdown of acquisitions, at least until the current portfolio of companies was integrated and a culture of what Green referred to as Collective Management was cemented. This meant nothing short of building new organizational capabilities based upon collaboration and client-first thinking, which not only meant developing new systems and processes but building a collective mindset that would make aspiring to being a one-company culture a reality.

Emphasize continuous learning

It’s far easier to talk about revitalization and renewal than to actually do it. The companies that pull it off have transformation leaders that commit to a relentless learning process.

Perhaps the best example I know of a remarkably successful transformation leader is Alan Mulally, who not only led the transformation effort for Boeing Commercial Airlines, but also the stunning turnaround of Ford Motor Company. Mulally would be the first to insist that Ford’s transformation was not his achievement but rather the collective achievement of thousands of stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, dealers, unions, financial institutions, Board members and others. Mulally believed deeply in his “leading together” philosophy from his Boeing experience, but this became even more critical at Ford, due to the multitude of stakeholders and a political infighting culture that had become toxic. Mulally would have none of that. He brought his top managers together weekly to assess problems and progress, through his implementation process called the Creating Value Roadmap. Met with heavy resistance at first due to fear of admitting problems, Mulally pursued this course and built trust that those who were brave enough to acknowledge that they needed help were actually showcased as exactly the kind of leader that Mulally was looking for in Ford’s future. At every meeting, managers were asked: what have we learned by airing concerns, making course corrections, and especially, fixing problems together? By combining his relentless focus on implementation and making tough calls with an equally important focus on continuous learning, Mulally transformed Ford from a moribund company on the verge of bankruptcy to one of today’s most successful automobile companies in the world.

Leveraging these four activities, while framing the transformation effort as a collective challenge to be embraced together, fuels positive change over the long haul—which is important since the transformation journey is a never-ending one for most companies today. Ultimately, these practices create a culture of agility and resiliency that will pay dividends out into the future, as large-scale change becomes an organizational capability and not a recipe for management failure.

Have fun, remember this is only work, enjoy the run, celebrate together.