Leo Tolstoy, the Russian novelist, famously wrote, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
Tolstoy's dictum is a useful starting point for any executive engaged in organizational change. After years of collaborating in efforts to advance the practice of leadership and cultural transformation, we've become convinced that organizational change is inseparable from individual change. Simply put, change efforts often falter because individuals overlook the need to make fundamental changes in themselves.
Five or so years after the financial crisis, the pressure on boards and directors to raise their game remains acute. More than one in four of the directors surveyed assessed their impact as moderate or lower, while others reported having a high impact across board functions. So what marks the agenda of a high-performing board?
In the book, Innovator's DNA :Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators, the authors build on the idea of disruptive innovation to outline the five discovery skills that distinguish the Steve Jobses and Jeff Bezoses of the world from the run-of-the-mill corporate managers. Key concepts include:
- Academic and medical research supports the idea that innovative tendencies are not genetic. Rather, they can be developed.
- The authors identify five discovery skills that distinguish successful innovators: associating, questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting.
A classic read we find value in 35 years later. Timeless wisdom from Robert Townsend, CEO of Avis Rent-a Car who launched the “We Try Harder” campaign. ~ Carrie Stone
The head of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence explains how the social intelligence factor is critical for business success. What if you could measure the intelligence of a group? What if you could predict which committees, assigned to design a horse, would end up with a camel, versus which would develop a thoroughbred—or a racecar? The MIT Sloan School of Management’s Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI) was set up to accomplish just that sort of evaluation
Management thought leaders share their ideas on what future leaders can't live without. Featuring: Angel Cabrera, Bill George, Daisy Wademan Dowling, Andy Zelleke, Batia Mishan Wiesenfeld, Evan Wittenberg, Dr. Ellen Langer, and Scott Snook.
Bestselling author Seth Godin says that "Management and leadership are totally different things. You think you are being a leader, but you are probably being a manager." He goes on to say, "Managers figure out what they want done and get people to do it. Managers try to get people to do what they did yesterday, but a little faster and a little cheaper with a few less defects." But this is not leadership. What is leadership?
Forward-looking boards foster a culture of continuous improvement working offensively on strategy and risk management. Unfortunately many board agendas are focused on looking backward. Considering the dynamic nature of technology and other advances influencing corporate strategy, focusing on critical issues and opportunities crucial to the future direction of the business that may yield shareholder value and potentially mitigate risks. Many Directors are overly focused on their fiduciary responsibilities, details of compliance, regulatory issues and are often ill informed about the fundamentals of companies to truly add value. Senior executive leadership is often focused on the short-term view delivering the quarter-to-quarter results to meet investor and board expectations. As a result, boards need to find the balance with the senior management team to invest the time to play offense – looking ahead.
These time-honored tools and techniques can help companies transform quickly
Since the mid-2000s, organizational change management and transformation have become permanent features of the business landscape. Vast new markets and labor pools have opened up, innovative technologies have put once-powerful business models on the chopping block, and capital flows and investor demand have become less predictable. To meet these challenges, firms have become more sophisticated in the best practices for organizational change management.
It's a statistical truth: Most people are below average. As a result, it takes less than you might think to move into the top group of performers. Few succeed--perhaps because most give up before they even get started. Here are the seven key things that a small minority of people do to jump from meh to amazing:
"Failure isn't fatal, but failure to change might be." Those are the words of John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, who won 10 NCAA national championships in just 12 seasons because of his ability to constantly adapt—to new players, new rivals, and new styles of play.
In business, too, leaders are continually faced with complex changes: an aging population, the growth of the middle class in emerging economies, constant technological advancement. In a shifting environment, consistent business performance is not enough to perpetuate itself. To keep their organizations relevant, CEOs and other leaders must heed the reinvention imperative.
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