Sunday, December 14, 2014

Building Change

I have written about this before, but, if you want to build change in the organization, would you not use your managers to drive it? I mean, engage an external consultant by all means, but your managers have to lead the charge and your leaders have to be viscerally engaged in the change process.

That means it is not enough if your managers and leaders are certified in a (any) methodology and they regurgitate it. (See here on why that might not be enough.)

But it is an interesting question. On how does one build change? Change culture?

The answer is in the sustenance of the change. What happens at a session is an event. But culture change is not an event. It is a process. A long drawn out process. And it is necessarily led by the leaders. And their reportees. And their reportees. And so on.

A friend was talking about an Indian services company to me. This company sponsors major running events today (yes, go take a guess). In this company, from the top down, the company is into running. The C-suite is into running. They run. They sponsor running programs. Organize running coaching (I think). And their entire company is running. That is one example.

This could not have happened even if they got Milkha Singh or PT Usha (I mean, who is a better running example in India even today?) to give a hundred speeches.

(Aside: When Narendra Modi wields the broom impromptu, he lives the example. When he talks about not being personally being corrupt - he lives the example. Changing a country is a gargantuan task, but you got to give it to the guy - he is taking a stab at it.)

Back to the question. How does one build change?

A few years ago, I was asked this question. Why isn't our business knowledge increasing as a team? The answer was a simple one, really. If my manager discusses metrics, I focus on delivery of metrics. If my manager discusses, ideas, I focus on delivery of ideas. If my manager is not talking about business at all, why the hell will I ever focus on business?

So, you want change. It has to start at the top. You want fitness. Lead the way. A leader who I know and admire 'walks' the talk on fitness.

As you might imagine, I have not put an answer on exactly how. I wish I knew it that simply. But change is tough. And unless you as a leader roll up your sleeves and get into it, nothing will change. 

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