Posts

Taking the right first step to future proof your organisation

At our recent invitation-only round table event, Future proof your organisation with 21st century leadership, we discussed many aspects of the current business environment and the challenge it poses. Some of the key points included:

  1. No one person has all of the answers. Adaptive and shared leadership is the only sustainable way forward
  2. Developing a culture which supports enterprise contribution will result in exponentially improved performance
  3. VUCA environments are a threat, but can become an opportunity if you have the skills and techniques to overcome them
  4. Creating the right level of attachment in your culture will set every one of your employees free to thrive and perform at their best, which in turn improves organisational performance
  5. If you’re a leader, change and culture start with you

But if you are leading an organisation which needs to transform, what is the single most important thing for you to do now to future proof your organisation?

A new perspective on the failure of change programmes

The failure of change programmes is usually attributed to poor execution, but based on a four-year study of 62 corporate transformations, an article in the Harvard Business Review, What Everyone Gets Wrong About Change Management, says something different.

The research team cites what might sound like an obvious, but previously overlooked, cause – organisations often pursue the wrong changes. They advocate that, before worrying about how to change, executive teams need to figure out what to change and in particular, what to change first.

What vs how

For decades senior leadership teams have worried about how to undertake change programmes. Various techniques have been in vogue at different points, and many hours have been spent debating one approach versus another at board tables around the world.

But this analysis paralysis took focus away from the most important aspect of change – what exactly is it that needs to be changed? What changes will have the biggest impact on the organisation’s success? And, crucially, what changes will have the biggest benefit to its stakeholders – both its customers and its team?

Understanding your organisation’s answer to what to change first requires a detailed and thoughtful look at a multitude of factors and metrics. An outside perspective is often helpful in uncovering key insight which can guide successful change programmes.

Transformation done poorly can be very painful. All transformation requires some form of disruption, but negative disruption can have disastrous effects on your business. It can, and often does, lead to confusion, wasted energy, time, effort, and money.

However, transformation can also be, well, for lack of a better term, transformational. Done right, it can position your company to take advantage of the challenges it faces, turning what were once challenges into opportunities.

So, what will your next step be? And how do you know it will be the right one?

What does 21st century leadership look like and why does it matter?

They say the only constant is change, consequently, 21st century leadership has never been more relevant than in today’s dynamic business environment.

We’re not yet a quarter of the way into the 21st century, but the difference between 20th and 21st century organisations is already marked by those which are thriving, and those which are merely surviving.

Many organisations are still using the leadership styles and management processes developed for the Industrial Revolution, when the imperatives were about streamlining to create maximum efficiency.

But nearly 200 years later, efficiency doesn’t win the match, it merely buys you a ticket into the game.

Does leadership really matter?

Leaders create the culture for success: 50-70% of the variance in organisation culture can be explained by differences in leadership style.

And according to research by Dave Ulrich, around 30% of the judgments investors make about the intangible value of an organisation rely on their views about the quality of its leadership.

Even if you place no other significance on great leadership (and if you don’t, we really need to talk!), when its quality can directly impact an organisation’s financial value, there’s no escaping its critical role in success.

What is 21st century leadership?

If it isn’t about creating a more efficient organisation, exactly what is 21st century leadership about?

We’ve run 10 round table events on this topic, as well as working with more than 170 organisations to make transformation smoother and more successful. For us, the key to successful 21st century leadership comes down to a fundamental shift.

Leaders can no longer have all of the answers.

The environment is too complex. The challenges are too extensive. The people you are leading are more diverse than ever.

So while individual leaders cannot have all of the answers, collectively your people do. Adaptive leadership – where you set direction and ground rules, but then allow your team to dictate how to reach the end point – allows problem solving at the pace you need. That agility is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Leaders need to be facilitators, not commanders.

As we say in our manifesto: Leadership is not a set of characteristics. Leadership is a responsibility.

We explore these concepts and many more at our round-table events. We look forward to meeting you and hearing your perspective on 21st century leadership.

 

13 Mindblowing Organisational Transformation Stats

No doubt many of us have heard the oft-quoted statistic that 70% of all organisational transformation and change initiatives fail. But how many of us can recall some of the lesser known (and yet equally eye-opening!) facts and figures that paint a picture of the true impact of transformation, whether at an individual, team or organisational level?Leading Transformation

So hold on to your hats because we’ve got 13 awe-inspiring statistics on organisational transformation listed below. Feel free to add your own in the comments section!

  1. Company-wide change efforts are 12.4 times more likely to be successful when senior managers communicate continually. (McKinsey)
  2. 92 percent of change practitioners name top management sponsorship as the most important factor for successful change. (IBM)
  3. Nearly 60 percent of projects aimed at achieving business change do not fully meet their objectives. (IBM)
  4. When senior leaders role model the behaviour changes they’re asking employees to make, transformations are 5.3 times more likely to be successful. (McKinsey)
  5. Leaders create the climate for success – 50-70% of variance in organisational climate can be explained by differences in leadership styles. (Hay Group)
  6. Up to 30% of variance in financial results (profits and revenue) can be explained by differences in organisational climate. (Hay Group)
  7. 86% of C suite executives and 84% of all managers and employees say culture is critical to their organisations’ success. 60% see it as a bigger success factor than either their strategy or their operating model. (PWC)
  8. Less than 10% of leaders have the right capabilities and experiences required to successfully lead transformations. (PWC)
  9. Frontline employees taking the initiative to drive change elevates the success of transformations to a whopping 71%. (McKinsey)
  10. 12% of people don’t believe their companies are keeping up with the changing landscape of business (Mitch Joel, Ctrl Alt Delete)
  11. 31% of CEOs are fired for not managing organisational change well enough. (Forbes)
  12. 25% of change management initiatives are successful over the long term (Towers Watson)
  13. 95% of leaders using stakeholder centred coaching improved their effectiveness (Marshall Goldsmith)

So there you have it: the good, the bad and the ugly! All business change requires some form of disruption from the norm, which, as you can see from some of the above stats, means that transformation done poorly can be very painful. However, it’s not all bad news – transformation can also be, well, for lack of a better term, transformational. Done right, it can position you, your team and your company to take advantage of challenges, turning what were once issues into opportunities.

For our lessons learned on what it takes for organisational transformation to be successful, enter your details below and download our top ten tips.

Enter your details to download "10 Tips for Painless Transformation"