Category: High Performance Leadership

Evidence of the end of globalisation is building up.
According to Satyajit Das, growth in trade and cross border investment, which has underpinned prosperity and development, is being reversed in a major historical shift.


Inspiration often precedes innovation, a topic I love. This is my third installment on the subject.  The first is titled, “2010: The Year of Spontaneous Innovation” and the second is, “The Art of Bold Innovation.”   Innovation is such a personal, creative endeavor, but the influence of others plays a big role in helping us succeed.  Here I’ll share insights from some of those who’ve inspired me when it comes to developing innovative practices in my business. Perhaps they will have the same effect on you.
At the end of each passage, there’s a lesson learned along with a big question to get a conversation going.
Walt Disney
“My father was not a complicated man.” ~ Diane Disney Miller (daughter of Walt Disney)
If there is one way to foster innovation in your business, it is to be innovative yourself and to be straightforward.  In “
Walt Disney: An American Original” by Bob Thomas, Diane Disney Miller says this about her dad:  “I think Dad was an easy read.  He didn’t want to be complicated.  He was always straightforward, never devious.  Not unless he could be devious in a constructive way.”  Diane continues,“We always ate dinner late, because Dad worked late at the studio.  He would tell about what he was doing, but he also wanted to know about our lives, too.  And he would listen.”
Did Walt go through tough times with his business?  You bet.  Yet he did not let financial woes get in the way of fostering innovation.  “I’ve always been bored with just making money,” Walt once said.  “I’ve wanted to do things, I wanted to build things.  Get something going.  People look at me in different ways.  Some of them say, ‘The guy has no regard for money.’  That is not true.  I have had regard for money.  But I’m not like some people who worship money as something you’ve got to have piled up in a big pile somewhere.  I’ve only thought of money in one way, and that is to do something with it, you see?  I don’t think there is a thing that I own that I will ever get the benefit of, except through doing things with it.” 
Lesson:  To create a culture of innovation, be straightforward.  Listen.  Simplify.  Do things.  Build things.  Get something going.
Question:  Do you think innovation has a heart?  Where some go for the intellect, Walt seemed to know how to tap into people’s emotions.  What do you think?  How do you feel about innovating from the heart?
Samuel J. Palmisano
As Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman and CEO of IBM Corporation says, “Few words are more ubiquitous in business or society today than ‘innovation.’  It’s rare to walk through an airport, watch an hour of television or pick up a major publication without running across it.  It’s on the minds of a growing number of CEOs, government officials, and academic and community leaders as they look for ways to survive and thrive in an increasingly complex and connected world,” he writes in “Global Innovation Outlook 2.0” (International Business Machines Corporation 2006).
“We use the word at IBM, too – but that’s nothing new.  Innovation has been central to our company for nearly a century.  It’s the primary reason our clients do business with us, and the simplest and truest statement of IBM’s purpose in the world.  In fact, three years ago, IBM employees affirmed ‘innovation that matters – for our company and the world’ as one of our three core values.”
According to the GIO, innovation is no longer invention in search of purpose, no longer the domain of a solitary genius looking to take the world by storm.  Instead, innovation is increasingly global, multidisciplinary, collaborative and open.
Lesson:  To create a culture of innovation, connect globally; diversify your talent and expertise; work together in new and integrated ways.
Question:  How open are you with intellectual property and how often are you collaborating with your constituency base to create more value for your clients?  If you could see innovation take place as a result, would you be inclined to share your interests, expertise and world view with others more often?
Steve Jobs
What would an article on innovation be without the mention of Steve Jobs?  Worthless.  That’s because Steve is the King of Innovation as we know it, and we have witnessed the countless ways he has transformed Apple into an innovative, life-changing enterprise.  One of the most humbling and inspiring talks that I discovered is Steve’s commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005. Considering all the obstacles he’s run up against and overcome, his mind stays strong and is nothing short of brilliant. This statement sums up what I believe empowers him to be innovative each and every day of his life:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
He closes with, “Stay hungry.  Stay foolish.”
Lesson:  To create a culture of innovation, don’t live someone else’s life.  March to your own drum and beat it with all your might.
Question:  Are you following your heart and intuition on matters of innovation?  If so, how?  If not, why?
Technology enables broader innovative business model possibilities — allowing us to enter other markets and secure new capabilities, for example — and causes us to start thinking about things we couldn’t do before that we can now.  That’s innovation in its purest form.
About the Author:  Global business expert Laurel Delaney is the founder of GlobeTrade (a Global TradeSource, Ltd. company).  She also is the creator of “Borderbuster,” an e-newsletter, and The Global Small Business Blog, all highly regarded for their global small business coverage.  You can reach Laurel at or follow her on Twitter@LaurelDelaney.

This is the result of an extensive set of discussions among a group of organization development consultants and internal HR staff under the auspices of the Change Affinity Group of the New Jersey Human Resource Planning Society.

Key Questions for Discussion:

    1. What is culture change?
    2. What are the major models?
    3. What is the role of executive management in culture change?
    4. What is the role of HR in culture change?
    5. What works and doesn’t work in culture change?

      Summary of Key Thinkers’ Ideas
    1. John Kotter’s perspective.
      1. Definitions
        1. “Culture” refers to norms of behavior and shared values among a group of people.
        2. “Norms of behavior” are ways of acting that persist because they are rewarded and the group teaches these behaviors to new people, sanctioning those who do not conform.
        3. “Shared values” are important concerns and goals held by most people in the group: they shape group behavior.
      2. In Kotter’s model, changing the culture is the last of eight steps, not the first.
        1. “Even when there is no personality incompatibility with a new vision, if shared values are the product of many years of experience in a firm, years of a different kind of experience are often needed to create any change. That is why culture change comes at the end of a transformation, not the beginning.”
        2. Culture is not something you can directly manipulate, as if by decree. Culture change occurs after you have successfully altered people’s actions and their new behavior has produced success, which can be traced back to the new actions and behaviors.
        3. This is not to say that culture issues don’t arise in the early stages of a transformation. But to try to change the culture as a first step is a bad idea what proof do you have to offer that it’s the right way to go?
        4. Remember, you are always trying to engender an adaptive culture, one that benefits the four main constituents: shareholders, employees, customers and management. This type of culture values good leadership and management. It also encourages teamwork at the top, while minimizing layers of management and bureaucracy, as well as counterproductive interdependencies.
      3. Anchoring change in a culture.
        1. Culture change comes last, not first.
        2. Lasting change depends on results. You must show new approaches work and that it’s worthwhile to change.
        3. Requires a lot of dialog.
        4. May involve turnover of key people who block change.
        5. Promotion practices need to be changed to be compatible with the new practices. New leaders should be compatible with the new culture and champions of it.
      4. Shallow roots require constant watering.
        1. Kotter uses an example of a technology-oriented company to illustrate the point. As long as the new general manager was around to focus the organization constantly on speed to market and the customer, progress was made substantial progress. When the GM retired, because the underlying cultural belief that “good technology will solve all our problems” had not changed, the company quickly regressed over two years.
      5. In an organization, the less visible shared values and group norms are, the harder they are to change.
      6. Culture is powerful for three reasons.
        1. Individuals are selected and indoctrinated to support the existing culture.
        2. Culture propagation occurs through the actions of hundreds or thousands of people in the organization.
        3. This reinforcement happens without much conscious intent and is therefore difficult to challenge or even discuss.
      7. There are different culture-change scenarios, some much harder to accomplish. For example:
        1. The core of the old culture is not incompatible with the new vision. The challenge is to graft new practices onto old roots, while eliminating inconsistent practices. This is least difficult to do.
        2. The core of the old culture is incompatible with the new vision. This is a much more difficult situation to cope with.
    2. Kotter and Heskett in Corporate Culture and Performance.
      1. Alan Wilkins’ study reflects the beliefs of many academics that culture is very hard to change. In 22 cases Wilkins studied, even the managers admitted failure in 16 instances.
      2. Kotter and Heskett studied 10 cases of major culture change that seemed to be successful. The companies were Bankers Trust, British Airways, ConAgra, First Chicago, General Electric, ICI, Nissan, SAS, American Express TRS, and Xerox. They found:
        1. “The single most important factor that distinguishes major culture changes that succeed from those that fail is competent leadership at the top.”
          1. All ten cases of major change occurred after an individual with a track record for leadership was appointed head of the organization. Each had a track record of producing change.
          2. In their new jobs they created change on a grander scale.
          3. These leaders demonstrated the close interrelationship of competition, leadership, change, strategy and culture.
          4. All of these leaders either:
            1. Came from the outside.
            2. Came to their firms after an early career somewhere else.
            3. “Grew up” outside the core of the company.
          5. While a limited sample, one can theorize that an outsider’s perspective is important to change.
            1. In all four very large companies in our study, the change leader had spent considerable time in the company before taking over, thereby developing a good sense of the resources in the company.
            2. Complete outsiders tended to be successful at smaller companies.
        2. Why you can’t change culture from the bottom up.
          1. The sheer resistance to change in an organization requires great power to overcome, and that power resides at the top.
          2. Interdependence in organizations makes it very difficult to change anything important, without changing everything. Only people at the top can do that.
    3. Delta Consulting’s (David Nadler) perspective: Discontinuous Change.
      1. Definitions:
        1. “Organizational culture” is a set of commonly shared values and beliefs. It influences the behavior of people and is reflected in work practices, i.e., how we do things here.
        2. “Values” are the fundamental axioms or established feelings about the desirability of some quality, like innovation or individualism.
        3. “Beliefs” are perceptions about the connections of things such as events and outcomes, for example: “Hard work will be rewarded,” or “challenging the boss will get you shot.”
      2. Culture is reflexive: Beliefs shape behavior, but behavior also shapes beliefs. Values affect beliefs and behavior, but beliefs and behavior also affect values.
      3. Often espoused beliefs and values are not consistent with the beliefs and values that can be inferred from observed behavior. This lack of alignment can cause great dysfunction.
      4. Most organizations are a mixture of many cultures: one in R&D, another in Sales, etc.
      5. External forces, historical forces and internal forces all shape behavior. Managers can most affect internal forces giving them a lever to change culture.
      6. In changing culture, there are three critical areas to address.
        1. Content of the change (vision of the new culture).
          1. Do a culture audit: What is the culture like, what needs to be changed?
          2. Leadership is essential for successful culture change.
          3. Key champions at all levels are required.
        2. Leverage points for change (what and how to change).
          1. Full-blown culture change requires change in all the key elements of organizational context: structure, business processes, measurement, appraisal and rewards. If, in fact, you do all these things, Nadler argues that culture change will be the ultimate outcome.
          2. Values must be articulated in terms of expected behavior. Establishing one value as more important than others is important to give people a set of priorities.
            1. Good technique used at AT&T, where Senior Executives interviewed people lower in the organization about the new values and how they saw them being implemented. This is a good check on implementation, and helps senior executives understand the issues involved in the effective transformation of a culture.
            2. A key test of culture change is who is getting promoted, the good guys or the bad guys
            3. What happens to someone delivering good results but not living the new values? This is a critical dilemma for leadership. Support and coaching for change must be offered; if a person refuses or does not change, then they must be removed. GE under Jack Welch was very strongly committed to having executives both get results and live the values. If they did not live the values, and did not improve, they were out.
        3. Tactical choices (when and where to change).
          1. Culture and values are the very foundation upon which the overall change agenda rests.
          2. Interventions into culture should be sequenced separately from the hardware changes. One effective sequence is to have culture initiatives occur sometime after the announcements of structural and work-process changes.
          3. Use bottom-up interventions also, e.g., education and training, meetings, forums, etc.
          4. Migrate change laterally from one organization to another. Use beta sites and skunk works to try out changes and work out the kinks. Transfer that learning to the next site. Customer visits can be a very powerful tool in this change. Customer needs get the attention of almost any level in the organization.
    4. Built to Last. By Collins and Porras.
      1. They do not talk about changing culture, but about what great companies do to maintain their cultures, which they describe as cult-like. This is useful to consider once you decide what you want to change the culture to.
      2. The cultures in visionary companies are not soft or undisciplined:

“Because visionary companies have such clarity about who they are, what they’re all about, and what they are trying to achieve, they tend not to have much room for people unwilling or unsuited to their demanding standards.”

    1. Visionary companies are not great places to work, at least not for everyone. If you can’t embrace their ideology, they expel you like a virus. If you do not fit their practices, they will weed you out in the hiring process or shortly thereafter.
    2. Cult-like cultures are key to preserving the core ideology of a company.
    3. Visionary companies have these characteristics about their culture that are cult-like:
      1. Fervently held ideology
      2. Indoctrination
      3. Tightness of fit
      4. Elitism
    4. Visionary companies create these cultures through practical, concrete things:
      1. Orientation and training programs
      2. Internal universities
      3. On-the-job socialization with peers and immediate supervisors
      4. Rigorous up-through-the-ranks policies such as promoting from within, and hiring young people and shaping their minds from the start.
      5. Exposure to pervasive myths of heroic deeds
      6. Corporate songs, cheers, etc.
      7. Tight screening practices; hiring and removal in first few years
      8. Incentives and advancement are closely linked to core ideology
      9. Awards, contests and public recognition are closely linked to core ideology
      10. Tolerance for honest mistakes, but severe penalties or termination for breaching core ideology
    5. These cult-like cultures succeed because they are balanced by mechanisms to stimulate progress, e.g., taking on challenging tasks (Big Hairy Audacious Goals or BHAGs).
    6. Adhering to a small set of core beliefs allows these companies to grant a good deal of operational autonomy.
    7. The authors conclude: “It means that companies seeking an ’empowered’ or decentralized work environment should first and foremost impose a tight ideology screen and indoctrinate people into that ideology, eject the viruses, and give those that remain the tremendous sense of responsibility that comes with being a member of an elite organization. It means getting the right actors on the stage, putting them in the right frame of mind, and then giving them the freedom to ad lib as they see fit.”
  1. The Last Word on Power: Executive Re-invention for Leaders Who Must Make the Impossible Happen. By Tracy Goss.
    1. The power to make the impossible happen.
      1. As a leader your source of success in the past is probably preventing you from making the impossible happen now. You must re-invent yourself, put past success at risk to make the impossible happen.
      2. “I define this advanced level of power as the ability to take something that you believe could never come to pass, declare it possible, and then move that possibility into a tangible reality.”
      3. She claims there is a set of theories and methods for learning to make the impossible happen, and that these can be taught.
      4. Reinventing yourself does not imply that something is wrong with you; it’s a process that takes you to a new place, to unfamiliar and unknown territory.
      5. Executive re-invention is primarily an ontological journey. Ontology is a branch of philosophy concerning the nature of reality and different ways of being.
      6. If you are going to re-invent your organization, then in order to succeed, you must first re-invent yourself. (Note: This is an alternate strategy to Kotter, where re-invention occurs when a different type leader takes over. None of Kotter’s success stories seems to have re-invented themselves.)
      7. Goss uses the analogy of a Navy SEAL and corporate leaders. The green recruit, despite being among the top 1% of officers in Navy, needs considerable training to take on the impossible missions assigned the SEALs. Similarly, the top 1% of leaders in organizations when they get to the top are not prepared to take on the impossible; they need training.
      8. Transformational change is an oxymoron. “Transformation” is a function of altering the way your being, to create something that is currently not possible in your reality. “Change” is a function of altering what you are doing, to improve something that is already possible in your reality.
        1. To transform yourself, you must transform your context, that is, the way you think, talk and act.
        2. “Language is the only leverage for changing the context of the world around you. This is because people apprehend and construct reality through the way they speak and listen.”
        3. “By learning to uncover the concealed aspects of your current conversations and learning to engage in different types of conversations, you can alter the way you are being, which, in turn, alters what’s possible.”
    2. The seven stages of leadership re-invention. First four have to do with freeing yourself from the past; last three, with building your capacity to make the impossible happen.
      1. Uncovering your winning strategy: learning to understand what has really created your current level of success.
      2. Experiencing the limits of the universal human paradigm at work in your actions. The universal human paradigm colors all choices, decisions and actions. Simply stated, it says: “There is a way that things should be, and when they are that way, things are right. When they’re not that way, there is something wrong with me, with them, or with it.” This paradigm is inherited simply by being brought into a group or culture.
      3. Learning to put everything at risk: becoming willing to operate with no guarantee you will succeed, with your eyes wide open to the high odds of failure and the accompanying consequences.
      4. Inventing a new master paradigm that provides you with a new source of power: making a series of declarations that constitute a new master paradigm (Similar to personal vision).
      5. Inventing an impossible game to play: making bold promises in a game you have chosen to play
      6. Breaking the addiction to interpretation: every problem and dilemma is seen through the way it contributes to your invented future, rather than through filters from the past.
      7. Operating beyond the limits of your winning strategy: building the capacity to bring about your “impossible future.”
  2. “The Reinvention Roller Coaster: Risking the Present for a Powerful Future.”  By Tracy Goss, Richard Pascale and Anthony Athos.
    1. Incremental change is not enough for many companies today. These companies need to re-invent themselves. Re-invention is not changing what is, but creating what isn’t. A butterfly is not more or a better caterpillar, it is a completely different animal.
    2. “When a company reinvents itself, it must alter the underlying assumptions and invisible premises on which its decisions and actions are based.” In other words, it must change its context.
      1. The first step is for a company to uncover its hidden context. A company is only going to do this when it is threatened, losing momentum or eager to break new ground.
      2. “The journey to reinvent yourself and your company is not as scary as they say it is; it’s worse,” says Mort Meyerson, chairman of Perot Systems. You do it only out of the conviction that the only way to compete in the future is to be a totally different company.
      3. Shifts in context can only occur when there is a shift in being. Nordstrom’s is used as an example. Their way of being is summarized as “Respond to Unreasonable Customer Requests.” Those that have tried to copy Nordstrom’s have not understood their fundamental way of being and have failed.
      4. A declaration from a leader, like Sir Colin Marshall’s pronouncement that British Airways would be “the world’s favorite airline” (when, at the time, it was one of the worst), does a couple of things:
          1. Creates possibility
          2. Stimulates interest and commitment
      5. A declaration is different from a vision statement, which provides a more elaborate description of the desired state and the criteria against which success will be measured.
      6. Key to re-invention is the re-invention of the leader (see Goss notes).
    3. Managing the present from the future
      1. Assemble a critical mass of key stakeholders.
        1. Many more than just the top 8 to 10 leaders.
        2. Should include key technologists and leading process engineers.
        3. Group should be sufficiently diverse to ensure conflict, which will get issues on the table so they can be resolved.
        4. Have to decide how it’s going to happen.
      2. Do an organizational audit to generate a complete picture of how the organization really works.
        1. Understand the competitive situation.
        2. Reveal barriers to moving from “as is” to the future.
        3. Core values.
        4. Key systems.
        5. Strategic assumptions.
        6. Core competencies, etc.
      3. Create urgency. Discuss the undiscussable.
        1. A threat that everyone perceives, but no one is willing to talk about, is most debilitating to an organization
        2. Book of Five Rings Japanese guide for samurai warriors. Written four centuries ago, directs the samurai to visualize his own death in the most graphic detail before going into battle. Idea being, once you have experienced death, there is not a lot left to fear: one can then fight with abandon.
        3. This helps explain the value of discussion about not changing and the dire consequences to a company in a difficult business situation.
      4. Harnessing contention.
        1. Conflict jump-starts the creative process.
        2. Most companies suppress contention.
        3. Control kills invention, learning and commitment.
        4. Emotions often accompany creative tension, and they are often unpleasant.
        5. Intel plays rugby; your ability at Intel to take direct, hard-hitting disagreement is a sign of fitness.
        6. Many excellent companies build conflict into their designs.
      5. Engineering organizational breakdowns.
        1. Breakdowns should happen by design, not accident.
        2. In trying to manage back from the future, concrete tasks will have to be undertaken; continuing on the current path will not get you there. Often you don’t know how to make these tasks occur. This will generate breakdowns, which can generate out-of-the-box thinking and solutions, if the situation is managed/lead correctly. Continuous open dialogue is key to working through breakdowns.
        3. Setting impossible deadlines is another way to encourage breakdowns and out-of-the-box thinking.
  3. Organizational Culture. By Edgar Schein, MIT (He, Kotter and Heskett are in similar places.)
    1. “Let me begin bluntly there is no such thing as the “right” culture and culture can not be fostered or installed.”
    2. Success of the company creates organizational culture. If the founders had a wrong set of assumptions about how things are, they would have failed. The right set of assumptions is relative to the business environment. The longer the company is successful, the more stable the culture becomes.
    3. Pronouncements that we must change our culture either will be denied or cause levels of anxiety that trigger intense resistance to change. Therefore, you will fail if you take culture head on.
    4. If the present culture is dysfunctional, or out of line with current environmental realities, then take these steps:
      1. Start with what the business problem is. The issue is not about culture, but about the mission of the organization and whether it is being fulfilled.
      2. Figure out what needs to be done strategically and tactically to solve the business problem. What does the organization need to do concretely to solve its survival or growth problems?
      3. When there is clear consensus on what needs to be done, examine the existing culture to find out how present tacit assumptions would aid or hinder that. Some parts of the culture may be fine, or certain subcultures within the organization maybe fine.
      4. Focus on those cultural elements that will help you get to where you need to go. It is easier to build up the strengths of a culture than to change dysfunctional elements. The diversity of a culture and its subcultures almost always have strengths to leverage.
      5. Identify the culture carriers who see the new direction and feel comfortable moving in that direction. This helps create role models, these people are often found in subcultures or in marginal roles in the organization.
      6. Build change teams around the new culture carriers. Different parts of the organization, because of environmental needs, may have to go in a different directions to produce the desired changes in thinking and acting.
      7. Top management must adjust the reward, incentive and control systems to be aligned with the new strategy.
      8. Ultimately the structures and routine processes of the organization must also be brought into alignment with the desired new directions.
    5. All of this takes a great deal of time and energy across many layers of management and many task forces and change teams. It is fueled by the need for a solution to a clear business problem. Culture change occurs as a by-product of fixing fundamental problems.
    6. If the culture prevents correcting the business strategy, that culture will be broken by destroying the group that carries the culture. That means firing a lot of people, or the organization will die.
    7. Culture is not a suit of clothes to be changed at will. The residue of past success, it is the most stable element in an organization.
  4. “Organizational Change.” Consortium Benchmarking Study conducted by the American Productivity and Quality Center.
    1. Overview of findings.
      1. Successful organizations believe the organization’s culture must be changed.
      2. Organization change requires vision, tenacity and a long-term horizon.
      3. Organization change requires commitment from top management.
      4. Organization change requires extensive communication with all stakeholders. Employees must be empowered and educated so they can exploit their new power.
      5. It is necessary to systematically measure progress and results.
    2. Key elements of success.
      1. Leadership
      2. Culture change
      3. Work force involvement
      4. Communication and measurement
      5. Education
      6. Supportive Human Resource systems
      7. A shared sense of urgency for change
    3. Triggers for change.
      1. Organizations on the brink of disaster that had engaged in change efforts consistently rated triggers higher than organizations not currently in dire circumstances.
      2. Highest ranking triggers
        1. Changing regulatory or legal environment
        2. Competition
        3. Customer dissatisfaction
        4. Declining or increasing profits
      3. Second ranked triggers
        1. Declining or increasing market share
        2. Declining or increasing revenue
        3. Rising costs
        4. Technology change
      4. Third ranked triggers
        1. Employee morale
        2. Merger or acquisition
        3. Public Image
        4. Quality
      1. Organizational Development and Change. By Thomas Cummings and Christopher Worley.
        1. Definition: Examination of different definitions suggests that organizational culture is the pattern of basic assumptions, values, norms and artifacts shared by organizational members. These shared meanings help members to make sense out of the organization. The meanings signal how work is to be done and evaluated, and how employees are to relate to each other and to constituencies such as customers, suppliers and government agencies.
        2. Corporate culture is the product of long-term social learning and reflects what has worked in the past.
        3. Diagnosing organizational culture culture change efforts begin with diagnoses.
          1. Behavioral approach
            1. Assesses key work behaviors that can be observed.
            2. Describes how specific relationships are managed and tasks performed (see example, pg. 483).
          2. Competing values approach
            1. Culture can be understood by how an organization handles dilemmas around four contradictory values. (see model, pg. 484).
            2. Four sets of competing values: Participation vs. goal achievement; internal focus vs. external focus; stability vs. creativity and innovation; organic processes vs. mechanistic processes.
          3. Deep assumptions approach
            1. Very difficult and time consuming to do.
            2. See pg. 485 for details.
        4. Culture change.
          1. There is considerable debate over whether it can be done or not.
          2. Given the problems with cultural change, most practitioners in this area suggest that changes in corporate culture should be considered only after other, less difficult and less costly solutions have either been applied or ruled out.
          3. Knowledge about culture change is in its formative stages; however, here is some practical advice if you embark on the journey:
            1. Start with a clear vision of the firm’s strategy and the shared values and behaviors needed to make it work.
            2. Have top management commitment, because culture change must be managed from the top.
            3. Symbolic leadership is critical: leaders must walk the talk. In successful cases of culture change, leaders almost always demonstrate a missionary zeal for new values and behaviors.
            4. Support organizational changes in structure, reward systems, HR systems, information systems and leadership style.
            5. Pay careful attention to the selection and socialization of new-comers, as well as the termination of deviants. This is particularly important for key leadership roles. Jan Carlzon of SAS replaced 13 of 15 top executives.
            6. Manage ethical and legal issues effectively. Don’t promise values for culture change that the organization can not deliver on.
      2. Corporate Culture: Removing the Hidden Barriers to Team Success. By Jacalyn Sherriton and James Stern.
        1. They believe that corporate culture change is needed for successful implementation of formal teams.
          1. Senior managers trying to implement teams continue to act individually: they are concerned about control over the teams and concerned that consensus decision making is too time consuming. They often set a very bad example, for example, by protecting their turf.
          2. Team members are typically not used to working in teams. They often are uncomfortable and lack the communication skills to make the teams work effectively.
          3. Introduction of teams while downsizing or facing threats of downsizing creates forces that are antithetical to teams.
        2. Corporate culture is defined by four elements.
          1. Ritualized patterns of beliefs, values and behaviors.
          2. Management environment created by management styles, philosophies, what is said, done and rewarded.
          3. Management environment created by systems and procedures.
          4. Written and unwritten norms and procedures.
        3. They believe that you can make a direct assault on culture change differing with Kotter, Heskett and Schein.
        4. Their book describes successful change in subcultures when top-level support was either absent or sporadic.
          1. They feel that each major functional organization such as marketing or R&D has its own subculture, as do divisions and other large units of the organization.
          2. Subcultures are influenced by the overall corporate culture, but subcultures are never the same as the overall culture.
          3. There is much more freedom to change a subculture than is commonly realized or acted upon
        5. “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” Niccolo Machiavelli
        6. How pervasive is the issue of culture and change? They did a survey of 100 companies and found that recently:
          1. 15% had been involved with a merger.
          2. 22% had been acquired.
          3. 41% had formed alliances.
          4. 78% were increasing the utilization of teams.
          5. 95% were involved in at least one of these initiatives that culture impacts significantly.
          6. Only 51% of respondents felt that their organization understood the need to address culture issues in making these changes.
          7. Only 31% of respondents felt their organization had the skills and knowledge to address organizational culture issues.
          8. Only 36% had assessed the culture and identified changes needed.
          9. But 56% (highest) had plans for training to address culture change.
        7. Gives a good detailed approach to what needs to be done to change culture. They also describe in some detail the culture needed to support teams. A lot of how-to’s. Very practical, particularly, if you need to work around some organizational constraints.
        8. Model does not put as much emphasis on the external environment, vision and strategy as other models.

Content Sponsor

Herminia Ibarra , Professor of Organizational Behavior, and Faculty Director of the INSEAD Leadership Initiative, contests that we learn to lead in relationship, by becoming a part of a community and network of leaders, but what we preach, however, is very different.

Let’s draw some inferences by considering a few schools of thought:

Situational leadership, — originally conceived as the antidote to the great man theories of leadership. The situational school brought us the notion of “fit:” person to situation and leader to follower. The original version said the situation makes the leader. The simpler version we retained says something else altogether, that good leaders choose among the leadership styles or change strategies in their repertoire the one that best matches their current situation.

Discover your strengths — another great example of a one-sided and static focus on personal attributes that make people effective leaders. According to this theory, we can categorize ourselves according to a number of themes and clusters of themes that describe our strengths; once identified, they help us make decisions about what situation best match us.

Practice — From Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers to Geoff Colvin’s Talent is Overrated we learn about the magic rule of 10,000 hours. Bill Gates, we are told, became a computer wiz because he had access to an early computer and was able to clock the requisite number of hours. Putting in the hours, not innate talent, makes the leader.

Prof. Ibarra’s research on how effective managers make the transition to bigger, broader leadership roles and cements their contribution to the growth and transformation of their organization, incorporates 4 key enablers:

o    Motivate the transition to leadership. When asked to do things that don’t come naturally, we implicitly ask ourselves “am I the sort of person who behaves this way?” “Do I want to be that sort of person?”. When managers’ identification is rooted in functional groups or expert communities, the answers are negative when it comes to leadership, and thus it is no surprise that they do not sustain the arduous practice it takes to develop as leaders. On the other hand, when they identify with recognized leaders, learning to lead is motivated by the desire to become a member of a valued group.

o    Make the “competencies” come alive. One of the difficult things about learning to lead is distinguishing between “what” (content knowledge) and “how to” (process knowledge). We may know, for example, that “sensing external trends” is a critical competency in forging a strategic direction, and we may also want to become more like the leaders we know who are very good at that. But, how does one actually learn to strategize? In a successful learning cycle, role models, peer groups and communities of practice motivate change by changing our reference point on what is desirable and possible, and then once motivated, providing tacit knowledge on how to do it.

o    Experiment from the outside in. Many aspiring leaders struggle to stretch their leadership within their current organization and roles. Caught in between delivery pressures and outdated views of their capacities, they more quickly or easily find roles outside the organization that allow them to lead. Their new activities, in professional organizations, clubs, informal advisory and so on, create external identities that they eventually internalize.

o    Build external support & networks to sustain change. Often it is hard to get support for change from old mentors, bosses or trusted colleagues. They may have good intentions but maintain of what we can and should do that are based in the past and not the future. People and groups, on the fringe of our existing networks help us push off in new directions while providing the secure base in which change can take hold, one of the reasons why learning methods like peer coaching are so powerful.

Extract from the MIT Sloan Management Review article Flat World, Hard Boundaries – How To Lead Across Them

…Technological innovations have revolutionized the workplace, bringing the competitive power of emerging economies’ fast-growth organizations into closer alignment with their developed-world counterparts. Paradoxically, at the same time that these developments have made doing business across borders easier, relational barriers — obstacles to productive human interactions — not only remain largely unchanged but in some cases have deepened. 

Consider the hurdles faced by those who lead functionally diverse teams across levels of management — often involving a variety of organizational partners who may be based in different countries. These leaders’ jobs are made easier by the technological advances that help to close gaps involving distance and knowledge. But the leaders also are confronted with entrenched boundaries such as residual bitterness between historical enemies, culture clashes, turf battles and generation gaps. Such boundaries invite conflict, impose limitations on performance and stifle innovation…

Technology has changed the way knowledge work gets done.
But have you changed your work habits enough to get the most from information technology?

MIT Sloan Professor Erik Brynjolfsson

MIT Sloan Professor

Erik Brynjolfsson

Researchers Sinan Aral, Erik Brynjolfsson and Marshall Van Alstyne have been studying information worker productivity for a number of years. (See, for example, “What Makes Information Workers Productive,”
In a new working paper, the three researchers highlight selected findings from their own work and that of others in order to offer practical tips to help information workers — and top managers — improve their own productivity and that of their organizations.
Here’s a quick summary of Aral, Brynolfsson and Van Alstyne’s four recommendations for improving individual productivity in information work:
1. Be an “information hub” in your network and maintain a diverse network of contacts.
Getting or sending a lot of e-mail is not, by itself, the best predictor of high productivity. But workers who are more central to information networks – who are well-connected and broker information between others – tend to be more productive, the researchers report.
2. Keep your e-mail messages brief and focused.
Research, the three authors observe, suggests that people who send short e-mails are likely to get responses more quickly than those who send longer, less focused ones. And getting faster responses to e-mail questions translates into better productivity.
3. Use technology such as e-mail to multitask more — within reason.
In one of their studies, Aral, Brynolfsson and Van Alstyne found that more productive employees used technology to enable them to multitask more and complete more projects. But that tip comes with an important caveat: The researchers also found that, if taken to extremes, excessive multiasking can actually decrease productivity.
4. Delegate routine information work to subordinates and use information-support systems.
The scholars found that the most productive information workers were more likely to allow lower-value information work to be handled by subordinates or IT-based tools. Those high-productivity information workers also were most likely to have knowledge of specialized information sources that gave them an advantage.

The Productivity Paradox

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology. So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the Productivity Paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques,” he wrote in his conclusion.

How Do We Measure Productivity, Anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How is exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications, such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”

In other words, this method weights productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible Causes of the Productivity Paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox.

▪ Mismeasurement: the gains are real, but our current measures miss them;
▪ Redistribution: there are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain;
▪ Time lags: the gains take a long time to show up; and
▪ Mismanagement: there are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

Buddhist trained HR executive, Michael Carroll, author of the Mindful Leader: Awakening Your Natural Management Skills Through Mindfulness Meditation applies the key principles of mindfulness and how they could apply to leaders of organizations. He argues that mindfulness in leaders and their organizations can:

  • Heal toxic workplace cultures where anxiety and stress inhibit creativity and performance;
  • Cultivate confidence;
  • Pursue organizational goals without promptness;
  • Lead with wisdom, not only with ambition, relentless drive and power;
  • Develop innate leadership strengths.

seo data . ip info .

The ability to ‘think ahead’ and plan a strategy, implies keeping in touch with employee opinions, technological advances and market trends that will help shape your vision – to be shared. Leaders, by definition, must have followers that aspire to the leader’s vision. Once you’ve  ‘thought ahead’ into the future, you need to communicate your vision with conviction and confidence, as to inspire, energize and unite your team.A leader must be capable of shaping internal politics that will support performance improvement initiatives. During times of change, uncertainty and fear reign supreme. ip info As a result, leaders confronting strategic and organizational change, have to manage communication effectively. seo data As a leader, you have to portray a compelling vision for the future, while implementing change.  Processes that build a shared vision of the future, create positive coalitions, and allow open expression of competing views will prepare people for the change.

Motivating people to peak performance is a must of  leadership. But how can you unleash the full individual emotional commitment and collective potential of your people so that they achieve higher levels of performance?

Generating emotional energy and commitment takes time and effort, as to ensure that the right balance between achieving the task, building the team and  sustaining morale.

Organizations have some form of program designed to nurture high-potential employees. However a recent study by the Corporate Executive Board revealed that 40% of “high-potential” job moves  produce disappointing results.

Disengagement of employees also is remarkable: One in three emerging stars reported feeling disengaged from his or her company.
Even more striking, 12% of all the high potentials in the study said they were actively searching for a new job.Why do companies have so much difficulty in their succession planning?

The Corporate Executive Board’s research revealed that senior managers make misguided assumptions about these employees and take actions on their behalf that actually hinder their development. When dealing with high-potential employees, firms tend to make six common errors: assuming that all of them are highly engaged, equating current performance with future potential, delegating the management of high potentials down in the organization, shielding promising employees from early derailment, expecting stars to share the pain of organization-wide cutbacks, and failing to link high potentials and their careers to corporate strategy.
In other words “tune into their brains”.

Having knowledge of how our brain functions facilitates enhanced performance.

Key points to take into account are:

  • Learning should be broken down into “bite-size” to increase itsne absorbency and effectiveness.
  • Allow time for your people to integrate learning into long-term memory.
  • Fairness and respect gives brain a chemical boost.
  • Stress inhibits clear thinking.
  • Uncertainty arouses fear that decreases the ability to make decisions.
  • Employees need some ownership over situations to better accept change.
  • Engaging people in more active learning techniques improves retention.
And here are some things you should do to keep your top talent on track:

  • don’t just assume they are engaged – give them stimulating work, a chance to prosper, and recognition or they will walk
  • don’t mistake current high performance for future potential – test candidates for ability, engagement, and aspiration
  • don’t delegate talent development to line managers – this will limit the talents access to senior members
  • don’t shield talent – place talent in live fire roles
  • don’t assume top talent will take one for the team – compensate top talent differently and creatively
  • don’t keep young leaders in the dark – share strategy with them

Part of successful leadership is adapting your leadership style or behaviors to address the qualities and needs of the followers – a component of the highly-effective transformational leadership. The emerging group of workers – who most are calling the “Millennial Generation” – born between 1980 and 2000, are a different breed than the generation before them (Generation X) and the Baby Boomers before them.

Here are the ways in which Millennials differ from their predecessors:

They are Technologically Savvy. Obviously. They grew up with PCs, the Internet, and i-phones. They embrace, rather than resist, new technology (as opposed to Boomers). AND, they are interconnected. Bully an employee and you will end up on eBosswatch, Rate My Boss, or another on-line “evaluation system” – and their 840 facebook friends will instantly know all about it, too.

They Play Well With Others. (Good in teams). Millennials are so networked that they are never truly alone. They can collaborate and aren’t afraid to ask others for assistance (as opposed to the do-it-alone, Gen Xers).

They Want the World (and They Want it Now). Millennials are hopeful, and cautiously optimistic. seo data . They are “civic-minded” and want to change the world and make it a better place, but they are impatient about it. Millennials grew up volunteering in school and elsewhere, so they are committed to social causes and to righting the world’s ills.

They Want Recognition and to Be Taken Seriously. Doted on and empowered by their parents, Millennials want their ideas to be heard. They want to participate in decisionmaking, and they don’t believe much in the authority hierarchy or in the idea of having to have “put in time” or “earn your stripes.”

They Want Employee-Centered and “Fun” Workplaces. With the tough job market, Millennials are realizing that they need to be creative, flexible, and innovative to support themselves. But, the thought of spending their lives in a traditional corporate environment is seen as a fate worse than death. Google and other cutting-edge organizations realize this and have developed creative, fun, and employee-centered environments to attract and retain the most talented Millennials.

So, how do you manage and lead Millennials?

Take into account their needs. Realize that they are creative and good at multi-tasking, but they need structure. In their creative hubbub, they might get lost without it. Take advantage of their tech-savviness and their ability to work together well.

Importantly, Millennials are idealistic and have a strong sense of what they want their leaders to be. In short, they want their leaders to be heroes (superhero movies are box-office winners with Millennials), who have integrity, and a sense of fairness and concern for employees. Leading the Millennial Generation successfully is going to be the key to success in the near future.

There are a variety of resources and an emerging body of research on Millennials. There is a great deal of attention to Millennials from colleges, libraries, and in the career and recruitment literature because most Millennials are still in school or just emerging into the workplace.

Post published by Ronald E Riggio Ph.D. in Cutting-Edge Leadership

Sujansky & Ferri-Reed  “Keeping the Millennials (link is external) (link is external)

Our modern world has become unbalanced, with little time allocated for just “being” and reflection.  Mindfulness can restore that balance to leaders and workplaces. Mindfulness, practiced  in organizations, can be a powerful antidote to the fear and aggression build-ups.
High-performance organizations, such as  Apple, Procter and Gamble, Unilever, Raytheon, Microsoft, SAP, NortelNetworks, Comcast, Yahoo, Google, eBay are offering employees classes in mindful meditation and senior executives such as Bill Ford Jr., Michael Stephen, Robert Shapiro and Michael Rennie practice regular mindful mediation as part of their leadership-enhancement routines.


Mindfulness can restore balance to leaders and workplaces

Research contests that  mindfulness-enhanced traits include the capacity to suspend judgments, to act in awareness of our moment-to-moment experience, to attain emotional equilibrium.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, describes mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” Other definitions are: “bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis,” and  “it includes a quality of compassion, acceptance and loving-kindness.”

David Rock, writing in Psychology Today argues that “busy people who run our companies and institutions …tend to spend little time thinking about themselves and other people, but a lot of time thinking about strategy, data and systems. As a result the circuits involved in thinking about oneself and other people, the medial prefrontal cortex, tend to be not too well developed.” Rock says “speaking to an executive about mindfulness can be a bit like speaking to a classical musician about jazz.”

The three fundamental elements of mindfulness are:

  • objectivity,
  • openness, and
  • observation

All together, create a threefold that enable the mind to become conscious of its mechanics and liberate it from its preoccupations of indecisiveness.