Guest Post by Peggy Holman
Like a great wave, cultural stories carry us along, creating a coherent view of our world. For example, the phrase the “American Dream” evokes a story that has inspired generations to believe that no matter who they are, by working hard, they have the opportunity to succeed.
When such a narrative peaks and starts to decline, no longer living up to its promise, a new wave of possibilities begins to churn. Small, even invisible at first, some stories catch on and a new narrative wave forms as the old one dissipates.
As a new story grows strong enough to compete with the old story, some of us feel confused, betrayed, depressed, or lost. Others . . . → Read More: Change Your Story, Change Your Organization
If you are tired of “trickle-down” change, consider using a collaborative change process where a large slice of your organization comes together for real conversation and to make decisions about your collective future in real-time.
This kind of high-involvement process was used by Southern New England Telephone to prepare for deregulation and the emergence of competition. It was used by Jackson Hole Ski Resort to reconsider their strategic direction. It was used when the Boston Gardens closed and they opened the new Fleet Center building. It was used by the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center when they opened under new management.
It has been used by hundreds of other organizations, where leaders understood that the attempt to hold onto power at the top of . . . → Read More: Try Collaborative Change for a Change
Chris is unhappy at work. He thinks the work is boring, and he doesn’t like his boss or co-workers.
Why doesn’t he quit?
The answer lies in Newton’s First Law: An object continues to do whatever it happens to be doing and resists change unless an unbalancing force is exerted upon it.
An Unbalancing Force is needed to overcome resistance to change. The amount of Chris’s unhappiness is not great enough to unbalance him. And no strong vision of an attractive alternative entices him to move.
An Unbalancing Force might occur if something big were to happen, such as if Chris were passed over for a promotion he had been expecting. Or he might quit one day if enough minor things built up until . . . → Read More: Create an Unbalancing Force If You Want To Move an Elephant
Imagine leading the charge into battle and at the crest of the hill, turning around and discovering there are no troops behind you. This was the situation the leaders of Southern New England Telephone Company (SNET) faced in 1994 when Connecticut deregulated the local market.
SNET had been thrown into uncharted waters as Connecticut was the first state to open its telecommunications markets to competition, more than a year and a half before the United States Congress passed the federal Telecommunications Act (1996).
Having had advance notice, the leaders had worked diligently with a top consulting firm to create a comprehensive strategic plan that would make them competitive. It involved restructuring into wholesale and retail operations and providing an array of new retail services. . . . → Read More: The Process is as Important as the Product: 7 Tips to Manage Both
Leadership is about going somewhere. Whether you are facing challenges as a result of changes in the economy, new opportunities because of advances in technology, or already have a good idea you want to implement, these five lessons can make the difference between a successful outcome and a false start. The good news is: you already learned them in kindergarten. All you need to do is remember to use them.
The lesson of Alice and the Cheshire Cat: If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter what path you take.
Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to Alice: I don’t much . . . → Read More: 5 Important Leadership Lessons You Learned in Kindergarten
Have you ever tried changing a behavior and no one noticed you were different? It’s not uncommon.
Jim was a “hands-on boss.” He had high standards and his team performed well. However, they depended on him for almost all decisions, and as a result he worked long hours and on weekends. The eye-opener came when he missed an important baseball game where his son scored the winning run. His kids were growing up fast, and he was missing out. He knew his people were capable of more, so he began delegating and stopped checking up on them. As the weeks passed, he was surprised that his team kept knocking on his door and his phone kept ringing.
Colleen was constantly complaining about a man in . . . → Read More: What If You Changed and No One Noticed?
“Our company had a big meeting a few weeks ago where the president laid out his vision. It means big changes and a lot of us were skeptical about it. But I have to say that by the end of his presentation, he had us all sold. It was pretty impressive.”
Frank had introduced himself during a break at a conference where I was speaking last week.
“Very impressive,” I responded. “What’s going to happen next?”
“I’m in charge of the eastern sales force. Part of the vision requires moving our sales force away from the corporate headquarters and closer to the properties we own so they can be close to our customer base. We have major properties in eight cities in my region, so . . . → Read More: Manage the Mid-Space or Your Vision Will Fail
The head of HR explained to me, “My team provides great customer service. Whatever a business leader asks for, they knock themselves out to provide it quickly and with quality.
“But I think we need to change to a consultative approach. When we get a request, we should ask about the problem and then to work with the leader to identify the right solution. Being quick to deliver whatever is requested is not necessarily good customer service in the long run, if what you deliver doesn’t solve the problem.”
“What does your team think?” I asked.
She replied, “I haven’t shared it with them. I wanted to talk with you first to think it through further. What exactly will it look like? What training will . . . → Read More: 7 Tips For Sharing Your Vision With Your Team