Leading change in a company in distress means many things have to happen quickly. That usually means culture is put on the back burner as a “nice to have.” As a serial CEO, I’ve led six companies through transformational change throughout 20 years, and I’ve found that authentic leadership—and the culture that results—is a multiplier of productivity and a driver of success. The fast-paced, dynamic world of rapid change that used to be confined to distressed organizations is now everyone’s world.
Lack of engagement in the workplace and failure to get the most from our people isn’t a result of lack of awareness. Various surveys and polls indicate that 80 – 90% of organizational leaders recognize that lack of engagement is preventing them from getting the most from their people. This failure to maximize human potential is costing businesses money and productivity.
As a leader, you probably look to other leaders for tips on how to think and behave in order to be effective and successful in your role. Some leadership skills may come naturally to you while others may be outside of your comfort zone. While it’s important to push yourself to grow and learn, you might not want to stray too far from your authentic self. Research has shown that an employee’s perception of authentic leadership is the strongest predictor of his or her job satisfaction, commitment to the organization, and overall happiness at work. According to professor and Discover Your True North author Bill George, it takes more than just showing up to work to come across as authentic.
When you wake up in the morning, are you filled with excitement about the prospect of a new day at work, or do you dread the thought of having to make it through yet another day of drudgery? If you’re like much of the population, you fall into the latter category and distain going to work. Surveys have found that only 13% of people around the world actually like going to work–an astoundingly low number.
If a micro-manager is the term to describe an overbearing helicopter boss, I would have to call this guy a nano-manager. So much so that I honestly lost all confidence in my ability to make a work-based decision of any kind on my own. Needless to say, I was not there very long. This is a story about wolves!
When people hear the title of CEO, those three letters that command respect, they tend to imagine a relentless titan on a quest for entrepreneurial greatness. What comes to mind is the fiery temperament of a visionary like Steve Jobs, or the competitive drive of a leader like Travis Kalanick. Instead, they shared more traditional qualities, such as a strong sense of self-awareness, prioritization skills and, most of all, a willingness to listen and hear new ideas from their fellow leaders.
Ten-year CEO studies conducted by a team of psychologists, economists, statisticians, and data scientists don’t come along every day It turns out that being decisive is more important than you ever imagined for unlocking peak performance.
Change is hard. Leading change is even harder. Don’t let culture be an afterthought. Use it!
Though well-intentioned, that’s why over half of major transformation efforts fail. Why? Many reasons can include but aren’t limited to a bad strategy, a weak culture lacking trust and accountability, poor communication, low levels of buy-in, change fatigue and competing priorities. But one area where many company leaders fail regularly is learning how to leverage the company culture to drive change.
Our collective consciousness is defined by great leaders. Think about some of today’s most recognizable household names: Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson. All have ascended to the top of business and achieved quasai-celebrity status, forging new ideas and products that shape the way we live today. Here Bryan Adams, no, the other one, is writing for Inc exploring what these great leaders have in common.
It’s the combination of mental, business, and measurement models that enables real transformation. The airline industry is a cautionary tale of what happens when companies emulate new business models without bringing over the associated mental models.