Middle Management: The Secret Agents for Culture Change

How many times have you heard people in an organization say, we can’t change until Senior Management makes the change? And, of course, this means everyone is paralyzed with a good excuse for inaction.

The most common belief about culture change is that executives must lead and model the change in order for the rest of the organization to follow. Senior management needed to define the culture change and values, demonstrate those new behaviors, and then implement it down the organization in descending order. It makes perfect sense, since they are the leaders and they must lead the organization to its new culture. But, this way of thinking leaves everyone else “victim” to senior management and powerless to create change.

Senior management has a clear role in culture change. They are to define the organization’s strategy for business success in the near future and determine some of the essential attributes of leadership competencies necessary for achieving those business outcomes. They must not only be aligned, but they must Read more

Why I Didn’t Believe in Culture Change Part 2 of 2

The Shocking Discovery of a True Culture Change

In 1988, I was hired to facilitate a leadership development series for a group of middle managers. However, instead of providing a set of isolated skills such as planning, time management, conflict resolution, and performance management, I approached the development similar to my projects involving changing the culture of a team. We started with the output of the team, determined the mindset and beliefs of the middle managers to accomplish their outputs and goals, and defined specific behaviors (habits) that would optimize their effectiveness together in achieving those outputs and goals.

Within six months, this group of middle managers was completely Read more

Why I Didn’t Believe in Culture Change Part 1 of 2

Completing my graduate work in Organization Development back in 1978, I came away with the belief that “true” culture change couldn’t be changed deliberately. While I heard of many organizations that experienced change, most cases reported reverting back to their old culture within a relatively short period of time. And, then it was a mystery to determine what qualified as a “true” culture change.

Before answering the question of culture change it was necessary to define the culture of an organization. Is an organization’s culture represented by its Read more

Being You Instead of Being All Things to All People

Despite the fact we enroll in leadership development and training programs, or as an athlete or performer enlist the assistance of skills-focused coaches, it is very important to not lose sight of who we are.  Be wary of measuring your worth against Read more

Healing the Three Organizational Diseases – Judgment, Fear and Rumor

During times of internal and external organizational change leaders need to be on the watch to prevent the viral spread of the cancerous diseases of judgment, fear and rumor. Once we form an opinion against another person that they are not doing enough, we tend to want to prove Read more

Dealing with Turbulent Transitions Confidently

Quite often when organizations step into the challenges of downsizing, relocating operations to a new city, or merging with another firm, they do not sufficiently address the human side of things.  It isn’t really the Read more

Leading Urgent Business Transformation

Leaders are expected to take ownership for new levels of performance, cost savings and responsiveness, often in an environment of rising demands and limited resources.  The rapid implementation of new solutions and Read more

Taking Action – Are You Stuck in Your Past or Free to Manifest Your Desired Results?

Are you thinking small, even though you have big dreams?  Being able to show up in our strength depends upon an ability to be open to a bigger and better future with the help of a new picture of success – not just Read more

Dealing with Life When It Gets in the Way of Living

Despite our best of intentions and diligence in constructing plans, life shows up.  An unexpected incident can feel like an interruption or an annoying-to-threatening disruption, when in truth even the best-of-intentioned plans are temporary!  Recovery plans include Read more

You Really Can Walk Up an Escalator, Play Big by Keeping the Big Picture

Sometimes our history can really get in our way and keep us playing small.  We get caught up in worry and fear, or our “old” selves show us getting us caught up in the situation.  This prevents us from Read more