Significant Change Takes Lots Of Communication and Time


I spent the majority of my day with the CEO and COO of a privately held business that has grown to well over $100 million in revenue with a market that could afford them tremendous growth beyond that point. The business has a very successful past but as is the case with many fast growing businesses, they sometimes get there in spite of themselves. In fact, these two leaders have been placed in the business within the past year because many of the weaknesses that did not surface in an easier growth period are now becoming much too visible. It is a story that is much too familiar to me given my own business assignments. The multitude of challenges that face them include better strategic planning, stronger customer service focus, additional technology and most importantly significant leadership changes in the two levels below them. We talked at length about the various personnel issues, the structure (too many layers) in the organization and their market needs. What I want to share with all of you is the most important aspect of how to get started with all this change and have it succeed.

As I know you have figured out from the tittle of this blog, I spent most of my time talking about the need to SELL the changes that they knew needed to happen. It was clear that they have some really good people and some people who simply do not belong in leadership roles in the future of the business. With that said, it is also very clear that because of lack of progressive leadership they also have an organization that has little communication from the top to the bottom. So, while I suspect many in the organization want change, change is still hard when you are changing things dramatically. Therefore, we talked about the need to drive strong communication that is frequent, transparent and structured such that the organization not only senses that things are going to be different but is being sold on how different it will be from the top and through all layers of the business.

You see like it or not, change takes time to successfully implement and communication to create buy-in versus fear for the road ahead. I agree and have always acted quickly to change the leadership that had to be changed to facilitate the new future. However, I also spent more time on communication prior to the changes and continued with significant ongoing communication post changes to drive longer term buy-in and success. The stronger the constant focus on communication the stronger the odds of success with major change!


The Single Toughest Part of Leadership

I happened to be talking to a senior level executive recruiter today, as he was gathering data on a search for a CEO for a troubled business. As we discussed the business, its future, and the leadership challenges, he asked me a very simple question, “What will be the toughest thing for the new CEO to overcome in this position to achieve success?” I felt that he expected to receive a very complex answer to a question that he thought would be tough to answer with one specific thing to overcome.

With this in mind, I was still very clear on the answer despite the many issues that are confronting this business. The answer for me was that above all else this tough, underperforming business will need a real person who can communicate, listen effectively, lead and relate at all levels in the organization.

In my book, I speak often about the difficulty of mastering the human side of business leadership. Yet, I contend that if a strong culture and successful performance is to be achieved in any organization, it will be directly related to the leadership and influence of a real person at the leadership helm! It will be directly related to how clearly the entire organization is “sold on” and “believes in” the message, direction and vision from this leader at the top of the organization. I devote much of my book to these activities in three very good but underperforming organizations. I will continue to share more situational examples of this in coming blogs but to me the answer to that question has always been very clear. The toughest part of leadership at any leadership level is being a real, involved and accessible leader who understands that everything done on the human front of an organization has a direct impact on the business front, good or bad! The book is filled with both the successes and failures on the business front as I learned to do the right things on the human front. I hope these examples can help you overcome the toughest part of leadership!


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Motivational Leadership Speaking Motivational Leadership SpeakingRandy continues to be an exciting motivational leadership speaker, which has been his passion for over 25 years. He honed his skill as a motivational speaker and business coach working at GE under the tutelage of Jack Welch. From line supervisor to President & CEO, Randy has successfully lead individuals through his specific motivational methods that produce tangible results. Randy is personable, authentic, and driven. He has a speaking ability that motivates and energizes individuals to achieve beyond their potential.
Executive Leadership Mentoring Executive Mentoring & Leadership ConsultingRandy Dobbs is a proven CEO with strong operational/execution skills who has demonstrated success in fix-it situations. Randy has been a mentor for over 30 years helping individuals, senior leaders, to CEO’s at GE, Phillips Medical, USIS and wcasportfolio companies. Randy was trained in mentoring while at GE and subsequently pushed to train all the top leaders in Philips and USIS while implementing mentor programs at both organizations.Randy mentors/coaches CEO’s and some of their direct reports today in his current role.
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Sharing personal experience and practical business blueprints, Dobbs takes the reader on a journey through the transformational process. Leaders working in organizations of various sizes--and facing diverse challenges and opportunities--will find Dobbs' ideas transformative, personally as well as professionally. This is a book for persons who want to be change agents within their respective organizations. It is for all who want to make a difference for themselves and their coworkers.