CEOs Leading Transformation: Why What You Do Matters!
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Free Leadership Article
There are periods in the lifecycle of an organisation where major change or transformation is critical. When I say critical, it is critical to the future success of the organisation and equally critical for the future success of the CEO.
CEOs have a significant impact on transformation – they will either enable it or derail it. The purpose of this article is not to list a range of skills that CEOs need to call on when leading major change but rather to focus on one key area that is guaranteed to make an impact.
That area is CEO behaviour and ensuring that this models the desired organisational change that is required. The way CEOs operate and behave is noticed, talked about and is important to managers, staff and key stakeholders. When CEOs make an adjustment in terms of their behaviour or modus operandi, this often has a quick and significant impact on others and on the wider company culture.
I have worked with an organisation over the past 18 months where the transformation has been about delivering more value with less resource. This required a significant improvement in teamwork and accountability around key strategies and goals. A key roadblock to this was silo behaviours where internal departments competed and relationships were compromised by a lack of trust.
The CEO became aware of how they had unwittingly contributed to the silo behaviour and how they could make an impact in breaking it down. They looked for opportunities to encourage and build emotional and operational collegiality with their leadership team by involving appropriate stakeholders in discussions and decisions and being open and candid where possible to ensure they modelled transparency. This had a significant and positive impact on people and team performance. The improved teamwork and transparency was noticed and early on some senior team members picked up on these changes and adopted them. This in turn had a flow on effect with others in the organisation.
People will be impacted to some extent by training initiatives; they will be impacted more significantly by what is being demonstrated by the leader in their workplace. If you are leading an organisation during a period where achieving major change is mandatory, ensure you take the time to identify what will enable that change from a leadership perspective and do what you can to model that behaviour.
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