The childhood fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk leads us to believe that it is possible to toss out a handful of magic seeds and instantly garner overnight success. Leaders trying to implement a culture change within their organizations may mistakenly believe this same kind of “magic” is possible. Unfortunately, organizational change through cultivating a culture of engagement requires more deliberate actions over a longer period of time. Past cultural transformational efforts, such as six sigma practices, visionary transformations, or various other change efforts, proves the case. Depending on the research study, the success rate of these change efforts varies between 9% and 30%. Even the high end findings are not very encouraging. It is clear that wishing for change and implementing it are very different. Read More
Telling, Selling, Tracking and Engaging
It is fair to say that the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” does not apply to leadership. The trends in leadership practices has actually been shifting significantly; from leaders assuming the sole decision-making role based on the premise that front line workers lacked business acumen, to leaders relying on their talented workforce for innovation and insights. Given the number of theories, the amount of jargon, and marketplace challenges, this shift has been a rocky one. Read More
You do not have to have a lofty title, sizeable budget, or media coverage to be powerful. Growing power does not require a formal grant from the organization or having an “in-crowd” status. Power is not popularity or office size. Let’s rethink our assumptions about how confidence impacts power. Read More
Charles Morrow’s article, Myths of Management, recounts the “cobra effect” or how reward systems plans do not always produce the expected consequences. During India’s colonial period, Britain sought to rid the continent of cobras. A bounty for dead cobras was instituted with the expectation that the cobras could be either eliminated or substantially reduced. Instead, the opposite happened. Residents started to raise cobras so they could have a steady stream of reward income.
Business has undergone a sea of change in the past several decades. Competition, supply-chains, technology, and business models have shifted. Yet, many major corporations still rely on leadership theories from the 1950’s, causing leadership effectiveness to suffer. Certainly the tried and true frameworks remain valuable, but they are insufficient given the new challenges leaders confront today. Leaders need to know more than just about their leadership style. Read More
Innovation. The very word conjures breakthrough products, magazine covers, and celebrity status. But those associations are too good to be the whole story. It requires a closer, more balanced, look. Innovation comes at a cost to leaders, teams and the organization.
Organizational Culture and Policy Change
In my last post, “Which is More Detrimental: Power or Powerlessness?“, I redefined the term “power” to challenge common misconceptions and introduced the seven levers necessary to effectively wield power. This week, I will take an in-depth look at one power lever that is often dismissed out of sheer misunderstanding: system power.
You are probably familiar with the saying “there is no substitute for experience” and perhaps can even attest to its accuracy. Over the past several weeks we have redefined power and explored the new and popular Systems Power lever. As the title alludes, this week I am delving into Mastery Power. That is, the power stemming from experience, training and education. In a recent study on power practices, the power of expertise ranked high – it was the third most cited. Not surprising, as it is a key contributor to organization success, it warrants attention and support. Read More