Slow Flow: Ignore it at Your Peril

"Once we get our new Marketing VP in place and fold the regional Customer Service units under that executive at headquarters, things will finally be settled and everything will be OK." But things in any organization are never really "in place," are they? Our organization charts with a date stamped in the corner fool us. They insidiously pander to our deep human desire for things in life to STOP CHANGING! I think a healthy attitude for managers and leaders is to see the workplace not as … [Read more...]

Using a “Listening Tour”

One of our associates at Fulcrum Associates, Rick Maurer, is an expert in how to bring about change in an organization. Rick just written an insightful article that I think every manager would benefit from. Here is his piece, our first guest post on the Build Best Bosses blog. "How to Use a Listening Tour to Communicate, Learn What’s Going on, and Earn People’s Trust" Every executive knows that massive changes are often extremely difficult. Although you need to be adept at all aspects … [Read more...]

Book Review – Immunity to Change

By Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey Harvard Business Press, 2009 ISBN #978-1-4221-1736-1 Subtitle: How to Overcome it and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization The exciting work being done these days in leadership development is not around the skills of leadership. It goes much deeper, tackling the core assumptions and habits of thought that stop OK leaders from becoming great ones. It maps a leader’s journey of growth alongside the route of natural adult … [Read more...]

This Leader’s Lesson–Culture and Collaboration

In a recent piece in Newsweek Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers was asked, "How are you a different CEO today than you were in 1995, when you first moved into the corner office?"   His answer is worth sharing with you: When I started, I viewed my job as three main areas: vision and strategy of the company, development and recruitment of the team to implement that vision and strategy, and the need to communicate all of the above. Within about four or five years I realized there was … [Read more...]

Book Review – The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World

  by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, & Marty Linsky Harvard Business Press, 2009 ISBN #978-1-4421-0576-4 Dealing with change and problem solving–these tasks are at the core of what leader/managers do. But there are two distinctly different types of challenges that precipitate change and bring on problems for managers. The authors of this enlightening book lay these out right at the beginning: Technical challenges – problems that can be pretty clearly defined and can be … [Read more...]

TW 2010 Global Workforce Study-Comment #1

  It's that time of year again when TowersWatson (formerly TowersPerrin) publishes its always informative Global Workforce Study. The 2010 report, conducted between November/09 and January/10, covered 20,000 full time employees of large and midsize organizations in 22 markets around the globe. Over the next several blog posts I want to highlight and comment on some of their main findings. As always, my focus will be on what the learnings are for managers and leaders. Three main themes … [Read more...]

Stepping into the Lion’s Den

Last week President Barack Obama stood before the Republican House of Representatives caucus and took direct questions. This is a group that, from the President's perspective, has been opposing his agenda adamantly at every turn. This fascinating event is the closest thing I've ever seen to what people with parliamentary systems know as Question Period (Canada) or Question Time (England). Leaving aside the political issues and possible motives ascribed to each side for engaging in the event, … [Read more...]

Six Lessons from Public Sector Change Leaders

In July, 2009, Booz Allen Hamilton published an interesting study of leaders in the U.S. Federal Government, entitled "What It Takes to Change Government." The goal was to determine how key strategies are most effectively led and implemented. It goes without saying that leaders in the federal sector are encumbered by all sorts of forces, bureaucratic, political and constitutional. Nevertheless, I think the conclusions the researchers reached offer valid lessons for managers in other sectors … [Read more...]

Support for Your Headaches around Change

One of our associates in Fulcrum Associates, Rick Maurer, does cutting edge work around change and resistance. Recently he launched an exciting new initiative to bring together a wide range of concepts, practical ideas for the management of change and people who are interested in change. The vehicle for this project is a website called the Change Management Open Source Project. The site is inspired by the "open source" concept made famous by Linux operating system and Wikipedia, among others. … [Read more...]

Resistance is Not a Bad Thing (No, really!)

The American essayist Hamilton Mabie once said about resistance: "Don't be afraid of opposition.  Remember, a kite rises against–not with–the wind." So often in my management training sessions, participants are stymied by people who resist, whether it is an employee resisting a performance directive, a boss rejecting a suggestion, or a peer not willing to cooperate on a work issue. The best salespeople are energized, not demoralized or defeated, by objections from their prospects. They … [Read more...]