Change Has to Start At the Top!

I was asked recently by two organizations to participate in a video roundtable with their leadership team about transforming their culture. As is often the case, I was contacted by someone on their team that I’d worked with in the past regarding Organizational Development.

They were both struggling with how their companies had been affected by COVID and were having difficulty answering a question that leaders get daily in some shape, form or fashion:

What’s next, why is it important and what are we going to do about it?

These two organizations were similar in that both were in the same marketplace sector. They were very dissimilar with respect to what I call the RC Factor, which is Resistance to Change.

One leadership team was clearly eager to engage in the discussion. Every member of the team had input, feedback and many questions. The discussion wasn’t being dominated by the CEO, rather they were facilitating where necessary, and being still when necessary to allow others to contribute. Additionally, the individual that contacted me was being allowed to ‘lead’ the discussion.

It was clear this team had a low RC Factor. It was also clear that this organization wasn’t in need of a complete Culture Transformation. They just needed to more clearly articulate their mission and core values, align those with the characteristics, behaviors and traits of their culture that were already in place, and then teach and integrate that culture across their business model to all stakeholders.

The other leadership team was quite the opposite. The discussion was dominated by the CEO with very little being contributed by the rest of the team. The questions being asked were coming more from a place of ego and micro-leadership, coupled with an unhealthy lack of tolerance for disagreement. Every answer I provided was countered with a resistant and argumentative tone. The individual that contacted me was being neutralized, making it clear that this wasn’t the CEO’s idea. The most distressing part of the entire discussion was the body language and non-verbal cues from the rest of the team.

It was clear that this CEO had a very high RC Factor and that the rest of the team desperately needed and wanted a change in culture. This organization was clearly in need of a Culture Transformation.

At my request, prior to the discussions, I’d sent a template of what a culture transformation might look like. The template does one of two things:

  1. It excites a healthy leadership culture with the potential for positive change and growth represented by the breadth and depth of the process.
  2. It overwhelms a dysfunctional leadership culture with the breadth and depth of the process. In short, it’s a lot of work, doesn’t happen overnight and discourages weak leaders more focused on the bottom line than on their people.

As you can see, it accomplished it’s purpose. I’m working with the first organization now. Despite the dysfunctional CEO in the second organization, I was asked to submit a proposal. I declined.

You might ask why? I knew this individual’s ego and personality profile would demand to know the answer to that question. We had another video call for that purpose. It gave me the opportunity to share all of the observations noted herein with that CEO regarding their leadership style.

Did it make a difference? Maybe that will be a post for another day. 🙂

Change has to start at the top!

Weekly Leadership Insight

When faced with challenges, lean into your team to gain valuable insights.  

As the Leader, you will find yourself facing a personal or professional situation that requires a mid-course correction or a specific decision. This is when seeking the advice of others is of the most value.        

Action Step:
Begin to identify key individuals in that can be in a sense your personal advisory group. Make a list of the kinds of qualities you would like on your team and be sure to select people with diversified strengths and talents that can help in all critical areas.              

Quote of the Week:
Leverage the wisdom and experience of others.

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