“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” — Harold Wilson, former British prime minister
Successful businesses have always adapted readily to change, but at no time in living memory — and likely at no point in history — has adaptability been a more desirable business trait than it is today.
Given our recent economic difficulties, in combination with accelerating technological sophistication, change occurs almost daily — whether we want it to or not.
The greatest obstacle to necessary change is a reluctance to modify or abandon procedures that have become familiar and comforting. But a flexible, agile organization has no choice but to change in the face of reality. Read more…
Imagine coming home every day from school and there in the kitchen were fresh-baked cookies or home-made pies.
Every day there was something different. My mother was a baker who believed that everything had to be made from “scratch,” using no boxed items of any kind.
The only boxed cookies allowed in the house were Nilla Wafers — and that was temporarily because they were destined for banana pudding.
My mother was on my mind this week because when I started working for Martha Stewart Living, she would jokingly tell me that she could out bake Martha on a bad day. As a matter of fact, she said all that advice that Martha gives is what she already knew and that she had been doing it for years. Read more…
Good people resist change for lots of reasons.
Perhaps they’re comfortable with the way things are. Perhaps they feel threatened. Perhaps they think the new way won’t work.
As a leader, how do you respond? If you try to “sell” change, your people will feel, well, sold. And if you simply demand change, you get reluctant participation at best.
So what’s the right answer when it comes to getting employees on board when its time for your organization to make big changes? Read more…
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” — Booker T. Washington, educator and author.
In my upcoming book Execution IS the Strategy (Berrett-Koehler, March 2014), I emphasize the fact that, for all intents and purposes, leaders can no longer legislate strategic execution or plan too far into the future.
Rigid strategies quickly become stale in the current business arena, and binding our front-line team members to them may result in consistent failure.
A more effective solution? Empower individuals to take ownership of their jobs, so they can use whatever strategy works best in the moment to execute effectively and productively. Read more…
“A lot of our job candidates are from out of town, and we’ll pick them up from the airport in a Zappos shuttle, give them a tour, and then they’ll spend the rest of the day interviewing,” Tony Hsieh says. “At the end of the day of interviews, the recruiter will circle back to the shuttle driver and ask how he or she was treated. It doesn’t matter how well the day of interviews went; if our shuttle driver wasn’t treated well, then we won’t hire that person.”
There’s never an excuse for being impolite or rude to somebody just because they drive a shuttle.
Can I get an “Amen?”
I read this quote from an interview on Business Insider and this set the framework for my day. As I drove into work that morning, I could not help but think of a former CEO who was the model for me for what leadership was about. Read more…
OK, they’ve probably never met, but it strikes me as interesting how two “turnaround” leaders of embroiled organizations, took wildly different approaches, yielding very different results.
No one will deny that JCPenney and the Catholic Church have had a run of bad years.
JCPenney stock was down and market share was shrinking, losing ground to Kohl’s and T.J. Maxx. The Catholic Church had been trying to shrug off the weight of scandal for decades and unify an increasingly diverse flock.
Each organization brought in new leadership to effect radical change. Read more…
I get a ton of email from people who complain about their bosses.
And I have several readers who never feel supported enough. Some of you think your boss is incompetent. Still others complain that your boss isn’t your friend.
That’s too bad. I always send those readers over to Ask a Manager. She is such a great writer. There is no question she hasn’t been asked. You can search her archives for an answer to your problem.
I think we have a huge problem in the marketplace. Management gurus tell us that a) everyone is capable of greatness; and, b) leaders should make everyone feel capable of greatness even when that isn’t true. Read more…
“Employees are the most valuable asset that any organization has. In the past managers said ‘jump” and the employees said, ‘How high?’ Now, the managers are jumping with employees.” — Jacob Morgan, American business writer
During the past generation or so, something unusual has happened in business: managers have evolved from the boss to a team player.
Figuratively, they are still in charge, of course, but leaders realized they got farther by being in partnership with their employees. They act more like a visionary facilitator, rather than a strategy imposter. Read more…
Second of two parts
Editor’s note: If you missed Part 1, see New Study: 96% Think Culture Change is Needed in Their Organization
The bottom line from the Booz & Company culture study is this: 96 percent said culture change is needed.
The challenge is that leaders must go far beyond basic tips, keys, or “levers,” like Booz & Co. highlighted in their study, if there is hope for sustainable culture change.
There must be a better way to build pride, drive out fear, and support the purpose and strategy of an organization with effective culture work. We believe the answer is to build your unique culture foundation. Read more…
Humility may be a virtue, but it’s also a competitive advantage.
According to research from the University of Washington Foster School of Business, humble people are more likely to be high performers in individual and team settings and they also tend to make the most effective leaders. Yet the attribute of humility seems to be neglected in leadership development programs and it’s often misunderstood.
The research team defined humility as a three-part personality trait consisting of an accurate view of the self, teachability, and appreciation of others’ strengths.
“Humble leaders foster learning-oriented teams and engage employees. They also optimize job satisfaction and employee retention,” says study co-author Michael Johnson. Read more…