Join John Ullmen for an in-depth discussion in this video Lead large-scale change and shape culture, part of Executive Leadership.
- Studies show that only ten percent of people who had heart bypass surgery make the advised changes to their lifestyles and eating habits. This is after life and death surgery. Change is hard. Leading change is very hard. And executive leaders need to drive the most significant changes of all. Such as changes to the strategy or shaping the culture. Here's how to do it. One. Explain why change is necessary. Why do we have to change now. Woodrow Wilson said, "If you want to "make enemies, try to change something".
Change steers straight into your people's natural fear and resistance. So your case for the consequences for not changing, and for the opportunities for changing, must be overwhelmingly strong. In the hearts and minds of your people, change must be a must, or it won't happen. Two. Communicate a motivating change vision. What will be different and better because we changed? Amir Rubin, president and CEO of world renowned Stanford Hospital and Clinics, detailed for me in my research how they don't rest on their reputation, but have great ambitions for improvement.
Shaping the culture starts with their mission. Heal humanity through science and compassion one patient at a time. The vision he sees is exceptional care every day for every patient. Rubin explains that, when you really commit to the goal of every patient every day, everything matters. Each person, each job, every part of the facility, from the operating rooms to the parking lots. Everything and everybody. He points out, "Every action we take "to get from Monday to Tuesday, then Tuesday "to Wednesday, and so on, define the culture".
Three. Formulate the change plan. How will we get from here to there? Identify key stakeholders and gain their support. Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh in his change plan to solidify what became their unique world famous culture, enrolled the entire organization as stakeholders, twice. You'll see why in a moment. Identify roadblocks and prioritize action steps. To avoid the common roadblock of resistance from people not involved in creating the change, Hsieh, with whom I also spoke with as part of my research, invited input from everyone in the company, which led to an initial list of 37 potential company core values.
Which he sent out to everyone again for comment and then it was narrowed down to ten. As another action step, he compiled their inputs and contributions in their own words, without corporate editing, into a 450 page book anyone can read. Empower a core team of committed change agents to take charge of the implementation. In Hsieh's case, establishing the values was only part of the change process. Now they needed to implement those values in distinctive ways. In one of many examples, Zappos offers thousands of dollars for new hires to leave the company during their initial training.
Cash, with no questions asked. It shows whether they've hired the right people that fit their culture. And it's working. Fewer than one percent take the money. This leads to the fourth step. Implement and learn. Track progress and adjust as needed. Evidence of progress at Zappos, in one year 25,000 people applied for jobs and they hired only 250. Statistically, it's harder to get a job at Zappos, than it is to get admitted to Harvard. Here's another example.
I spoke with Chief Operating Officer, Cesar Bocanegra from Donorschoose.org, who helped lead their large scale change and growth. It's a non-profit that enables public school teachers in the U.S. to submit ideas for their classroom projects and needs. Then, individuals who visit the website can give money to whichever projects they choose. They have a variety of measures to track their progress. For example, customers rate them continuously on three key priorities. Timeliness, effectiveness, and courtesy. Celebrate the wins.
Even small wins, to keep momentum going. You want to show people evidence of progress. At Donors Choose, they implemented a practice of teachers and children posting their pictures using materials funded by the donors. For example, all of them smile and hold up a big colorful Thank You sign, drawn with the art materials they received. You can't look at that picture without feeling motivated. To make change stick, keep track of learnings and opportunities for further improvements. Donors Choose learned how important transparency was to add credibility and confidence for both donors and teachers.
So they published on their website for anyone to see an array of financial, tax, regulatory, and corporate governance documents. Their change has paid off. Their the first non-profit to make Fast Company magazine's, list of 50 most innovative companies. Even making the top ten. Bocanegra beams with pride about the impact of their changes for school kids, teachers, and their employees. Though he says their success only earns them the opportunity to make the next round of changes and improvements. Just like Bocanegra, and Rubin, and Hsieh too, my wish for you is the same pride, ambition, tenacity, and success in how you lead change.
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- Understanding the four disciplines of executive leadership
- Thinking strategically
- Creating shared purpose
- Inspiring confidence—even under pressure
- Motivating and communicating
- Establishing priorities and focus
- Leading change
- Developing yourself<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.