Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Back

My apologies! This blog has been devoid of news for almost four months now and the emptiness coincides with my personal work schedule in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia that covered 3.5 months of that void. I found it extremely difficult to write on the blog as I traveled to and fro. At the moment I am home in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with ample time to re-new my blogging efforts as well as plan how to maintain the blog as I travel. It’s all about self-discipline, Bill!
During my most recent journey I was able to work and interact with over one-hundred leaders as I either worked with their organizations or presented at conferences they attended. Every one of them had a passionate desire to lead change. In some places I saw and heard dramatic stories of progress and in others the artifacts of struggle and the sounds of despair.
As I studied my journal notes what were the recurring differences between those making progress and those who were not?
• Vision - all leaders in the organization had a passionate commitment to the shared vision. Even in the face of opposition, the leader pressed ahead and was unwavering in support of the shared vision.
• Power – leaders saw change as a political process. Politics is about power. The leader understood there are a variety of sources of power and knew how and when to use them contextually.
• People – leaders knew their only important job was to develop their people.
• Resistance to Change – leaders understood that there will always be resistance to change and never ignored it.
• Models – leaders understood that behavior in the trenches is a reflection of leadership at the top.
• Resources – leaders provided the resources to keep things moving.
• Mental Models – leaders understood that cultural change only happens when staff changes their values, beliefs and assumptions. They knew this can only happen from taking action and reflecting on that action supported by immediate coaching and feedback.
• Opinion Leaders – leaders know that some people’s opinions count more than others. They won these opinion leaders over and used them as leaders of cultural change. Leaders sought them out and involved them both informally and formally in the change process.
As I watched these leaders and thought about real change, change where you become very different from what you are at the moment; it helped crystallize for me what characterizes real change. Later this week I will chat with you about that. It is nice to be back.