Another fallacy of leadership – or maybe it is corporate culture –or maybe some theory of A Good Campaignchange – is believing that if an organization just informs the workforce of a change several times, using all the entire communications arsenal (social media, email, internal website, etc.) that everyone will be convinced and the transformation will occur.

BTW, this isn’t arewrite of the last blog – about including people in understanding what the value of a change for them….this is the next chapter in what’s required for true transformation.  How you make change stick.

A story of change delayed:  It was IBM in 2001.  The company had embarked on a massive cultural change (one the eventually saved the company).  Everyone knew about it – it was on the website, every kick off meeting had a presentation on it and your find a video of the CEO touting how “new and different” was happening.  In the sales division, a group of us was given the charter of teaching first and second line sales managers how to coach sellers using an updated, company-wide sales method.  They had learned the method and now they were learning performance-coaching skills.  The audiences were curious and delighted with the possibilities of coaching sellers to develop, change and improve performance.

After the early adopters were through the class, we noticed the questions begin:  “When are you going to teach the executives?”  “What was the exec’s class like?”  Well you can guess that the execs had not undergone any training.  The expectation was if you change the sellers – all else would change.  You know the drill, “If we can just get THEM to change.  After all, I’m doing it right – I don’t need to change.  We’ll just change the process, tout it in every communique and it will happen!”  What we learned, what slowed the transformation was the fallacy in that belief.

The truth:  Corporate culture doesn’t change until leaders talk about the change (like a drum beat), ask different questions (because “success” looks different in a transformed culture) and measure differently.  If you want to be a new kind of organization, leadership must lead the change while they are leading the business.  It’s a little like changing out the tires on the bus as it rolls down the road.

A leader must model a new way of being, celebrate new behaviors and reward the new kinds of success.

So the myth of ALL IT TAKES IS A  GOOD MARKETING CAMPAIGN is debunked.  People have to see that the organization is serious about transformation or many will stand on the sidelines to see if they can wait it out…because, my friends, change is uncomfortable!  So that thing we call ‘irresistible leadership’ means the leader must be in 100% and willing to lead the charge.  It’s an act of faith in the future you want to create.


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