How to engineer corporate change
Mother Theresa once happened to address a group of business
management class executives participating in conference
on change. She asked the gathering: If you want to bring change
among people, you should know them first. You should love them
from the depth of your heart".
She then continued on by elaborating on the subject of change
that if we dont know our people as they are, there will be no
mutual trust; and when there is no trust, bringing change becomes
impossible. And if we dont love our people down the line, there
will be no power; when there is no power, nobody wants to take
any risks. And if no one want to take any risk, there will be
The greatest challenge that many of the organisations face is connected to the execution of strategy. Turbulent times often results in an atmosphere of fear and stress.
In the process, trust is usually the first casualty, says Mr. Brian Bacon, international management consultant, founder of Oxford Leadership Academy, UK.. In these conditions, adds he, people rarely say what they mean to the superior. People dont do what they say and therefore what the superior thinks is going to happen, doesnt happen. Executives always have their plans, but few strategies ever survive contact with the enemy. The hardest part of strategy is its execution. This is outside the comfort zone of most executives whose experience is built on rational processes with the emphasis on logic and reason.
Rational intelligence (IQ) is obviously essential in an executives
ability to plan and strategize. Reason also helps to understand
the cause/effect consequences of actions, and it can assist
in harnessing unruly feelings. However, the less tangible and
practical aspects of execution involves forming and cultivating
relationships, and this requires a different kind of intelligence.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is necessary for an executive to
discern, understand and business management class his/her own
and others feelings and emotions. EQ is nothing but acquiring
a capability of self-control and the power to respond to situations
with sensitivity and empathy. And at the deepest level of consciousness
is spiritual intelligence what is called as SQ in short. This
is hard for an executive to deal with and is very often confused
with mysticism or religion.
Spiritual Intelligence is what a successful executive uses to discern meaning, intuit purpose, create vision and identify core values from which actions will spring. These are the foundations of both personal empowerment and the leadership of others, especially during turbulent times according to Mr. Brian.
One should be cautions about certain corporate behaviour which lead to organisational disaster. Examples of corporate behaviours that lead to disaster can be found everywhere. Most common example of corporate mistakes is the assumption that people are motivated by the companys targets and goals, strategies and plans. For most employees these are like Frisbees flung at them by management. Scorecards and other forms of performance metrics are useful in the same way that a dashboard provides important information to the driver of a car, but if you only look at the dashboard youll crash says Mr Brian.
A good corporate culture is one where people have a sense of meaning and direction and take personal responsibility for results because they feel part of something they are proud of. Unity comes when there is a common purpose, vision and values. People reveal their best when they feel they belong in the team and their contributions are genuinely valued by the team and its leader.
The most perfectly aligned team of personalities will fail to deliver unless these factors are clearly communicated and demonstrated by the leader. On the other hand, it was often seen, divisions or departments that everyone has dismissed as impossibly dysfunctional be completely transformed by an executive who can provide authentic and inspirational leadership. Everyone has the potential to perform beyond what they have done in the past. A successful leader will look beyond personality profiles and seek to understand the character of a person - what makes a person tick from the inside-out. A great leader will be interested to find out what a potential team member values, what he or she is truly passionate about and what they really love to do. To know this about a person is the first step in aligning the purpose, values and vision of the individual with that of the company, and this is what a great leader does.
How about getting people to think for themselves and
learn to be responsible
Most people do think for themselves and are highly responsible when it comes to their livelihood and things which touch their hearts. The question is where does work fit In great organizations people go to work to do the maximum possible.
And, a toolkit for engineering corporate change :
It is never advisable to make an attempt to engineer corporate
change says Mr. Brian, the western corporate guru. The term
implies that you can manipulate people and rework them in the
same way you can fashion a piece of steel. One can engineer
processes, systems and structures but dont kid yourself that
this is going to change the people, culture or trajectory the
organization. According to the American Institute of Quality,
4 out 5 core process re-engineering attempts business
management class in the past 10 years failed to achieve
their goals. The reasons most often sited for failure relate
to people and culture. Corporate change requires mastery two
key subjects - focus and execution.
The most ubiquitous tools used for focus are visions, missions, strategic
of processes and structures. These are the currents of culture,
traditions, beliefs, fears, feelings and emotions. If the wind
and the currents are moving in opposite directions, which way
will the ice-berg move To change the trajectory of an organisation
(execution of strategy) a manager needs to move the currents.
The tools for this include focused and authentic dialogue around the purpose and values of the organisation. This doesnt mean sitting around in little circles discussing the pious principles of life. It means:
* Managers engaging their people in frank and honest discussions about what is really happening in the organisation, what the management is trying to do and earnestly seeking input from people in how to make it happen.
* Devolving responsibility and accountability to the lowest level possible and giving them the authority, resources and tools to do the do the right thing at the right time.
* Getting the right people into place and the wrong people out of the place.
* Allowing people to take personal responsibility for focusing on the few things that will make the biggest difference in their own workplace.
Successful corporate change comes not only from what you do, but also what you agree NOT to do. Besides the ubiquitous to-do lists everyone in the organisation needs to develop an active not-to-list. Failure to effectively execute plans is largely the fault of trying to do too much. People become overloaded and lost in a blizzard of (often conflicting) priorities. It is much harder to agree what has to be given up. This requires courage and determination, as it often means abandoning pet projects, cherished products, customers, markets and old friends. The organisation has to be prepared to give up anything and everything that isnt in line with its focus. This requires decisiveness and humility on the part of the leaders.
A word of caution about the leaders obsession with doing rather than becoming.
One need to take time necessary to get your focus back on whats
important .and enjoy the ride. To be able to focus and succeed
in business management
class, vision and goals are must, but we should not to
too obsessed with these aspects that everyone undergo pressure
in the process.
The speed of life in todays world of work makes each of these very difficult to achieve We need to understand more about the role of work in a persons life. Most people are creative and seek meaning beyond the paycheck. Work is one of those places. So what is the lesson for all those who want to be a leader is to Know oneself and love the life.
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