Leading in an era of constant change.

How to go all-in with 5 steps to make organisational change energizing!

It’s Sunday morning and I’m flying home to Boston. A 9-hour flight via Frankfurt, it gives me the whole day on to read, listen, think about things and work. I’ve got some books with me, a few podcasts, and a few half written ideas and other things to keep me busy.

Settling in for the journey, I listened Ted Talk that I liked enough to share.

It’s called “5 ways to lead in an era of constant change” and given that we’ve just done an organisational change over at Reward Gateway recently, it caught my eye. It’s by a guy called Jim Hemerling who is billed as an organizational change expert.

Jim talks about how excited we often are when we’re involved in personal change, such as learning a new skill or setting out to achieve something. But conversely how negatively we often view organizational change. His 13 minute talk explores what can we do to change the way we transform organizations. His goals that rather than being exhausting, change could actually be empowering and energizing.

5 steps to making organizational change energizing.

Jim says we need to focus on five strategic imperatives, all of which have one thing in common: putting people first. He lists them as:

  1. Inspire people through Purpose
    Most transformations have financial or operational goals. But these aren’t motivating enough for enough people. He uses LEGO as an example of an organization that has successfully driven through huge change in the last decade, motivated by a strong purpose “Inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.”
  2. Go all in
    Too many transformations are dressed up head-count cutting exercises. To be successful, transformations need to be centered on initiatives that drive growth, fundamentally change the way the company operates or develop the leadership and the talent.
  3. Enable people with the capabilities that they need to succeed.
    Different skills may be needed during the transformation and after it. Successful projects give the people the skills and the tools they need along the way. Jim gives a useful example from the software firm Chronos.
  4. Instill a culture of continuous learning.
    Using Satya Nadella’s transformation of the culture at Microsoft as his example, Jim explains a vision for a living, learning culture where a leader’s role was is listen, to learn and to bring out the best in people
  5. Balancing directive with inclusive.
    “A leader needs to have a vision, a clear road map with milestones, and then you need to hold people accountable for results”, thats the directive part. But to capture hearts and minds, Jim reminds us to be inclusive. Inclusive leadership is critical to putting people first.

I enjoyed Jim’s talk and hope you do too. If you prefer reading to listening, you can find a full transcript here.

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