What would happen if one of your senior leaders stepped down tomorrow? Is your organization prepared to fill his or her shoes quickly and efficiently? Do you have qualified, knowledgeable leadership talent on your bench, ready to take the reins?
If this isn’t a concern for your organization now, it soon will be. Research suggests an average employee tenure of five years these days, regardless of age or position within an organization. Baby Boomers are ready for retirement and the next generation of Gen X and Millennial leaders are poised to take their place, but only if you know where to find them.
I recently came across an excellent article in The New York Times from economist Adam Davidson (co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money). In it, he describes his experience working as a technical adviser on the film The Big Short and the unique group dynamics he saw while working on set (this is further expanded on in an interview with Russ Roberts on the podcast EconTalk).
It’s 2017, and your boss walks into your office and says, “We need to restructure four key departments: Finance, HR, Internal Communications and Information Technology into a centralized function to serve all the core business lines globally. The result of the restructuring is vital for our organization because it’s projected to increase our operating margins by as much as 5-6 percent over two years. I need you to lead this effort.”
It sounds like a good idea until you realize the change will involve 5,000 employees in those departments. Oy! Now that’s some way to bring in the New Year! In addition to a solid organization design strategy (hint-hint, stay tuned for my next article), you will also need a change management strategy and plan in order to transition the entire organization to a shared services model.
Jim Ludema, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Values-Driven Leadership and a Professor of Global Leadership at Benedictine University. He’s also an expert in organizational culture and values, and a globally-recognized pioneer in the field of Appreciative Inquiry. Here, we ask him about leading culture change.
A CEO’s departure is like a captain leaving his ship. A smooth, amicable transition lets the company weather the storm; anything less destroys the boat.
“With the CEO gone, who will steadfastly guide us through choppy waters?” employees wonder. Will the fresh CEO be an adept navigator, adjudicator, and leader? Those closest to the outgoing leader might even jump ship with her, meaning new crew will have to be hired, too.
With proper planning, even the snowiest of CEO storms won’t knock the craft off course.
Whether you’re a human resources director, learning and development manager, or vice president of talent development, chances are you’re reading this article because you believe in making your organization a better place to work. But, there’s a common challenge that internal practitioners face.
For example, you just left a meeting with your C-Suite discussing their concern with employee engagement survey results. The C-Suite thinks they don’t have the right talent on board. You think it’s an opportunity to establish a learning culture and a robust professional development program. What do you do?
In a previous article for the Transform series, I wrote about the work that is ongoing within the University of Michigan Health System to empower a group of Cardiology Fellows to build the program, training experience, and culture that they want, a concept the Program’s Director, Dr. Peter Hagan, has described as a “culture of builders.”
As most any business leader will tell you, change can be tough. Leading change in large, established organizations can be downright painful.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Well-established organizations have developed a certain level of cultural “inertia”—a certain way of doing things that have served them well for many years. And this may be all the more true in heavily regulated industries, like banking and finance.
The Government Accountability Office recently reported that the pilot program for the DATA Act, passed in 2014 to increase savings and transparency in federal spending, is still not up and running.
The pilot program had not yet specified a methodology or data to be collected, and its outcomes are unlikely to be scalable. To avoid missteps like these, federal agencies need a change management strategy that involves gathering evidence, meticulously outlining goals, and testing iteratively.
A global expansion can be a company’s greatest triumph or its most difficult period. Moving into new markets can mean increased reach and revenue. But if you focus too much on the big changes to your bottom line, you may end up with disgruntled employees working hard just to keep pace with this rapid growth.