In this 2016 Business 901 podcast segment, we discuss the need for all 14 steps in the Path to Sustainable Excellence, the need for personal change, and setting an example. Here are a few additional thoughts and comments on the three main points in the video.
14 Steps – Do you have to do them all?
In this segment of the Business901 podcast, Joe Danger asked another great question. He asked if you have to do all 14 steps described in the Path to Sustainable Excellence. My response was, I don’t know if you have to do them all, but I do know that the organizations we studied that have achieved and sustained excellence did them all.
While there might be some organizations that don’t do them all or do some steps less well than others, the organizations that I am familiar with that have achieved and sustained high performance and value for multiple stakeholders do most of them well.
It is a framework, and we have organized the pieces into 14 steps. They are presented in a sequence, but you can enter and exit at any point in the framework. If you are just beginning to explore the framework, then the sequence may be helpful.
But, if you’re already in the middle of the transformation, and you’re already using these kinds of tools, you may say, ‘hey, I need help here,’ and then you jump to where ever you need help.
You don’t have to remember all 14 steps. Many steps become systematic activities you will write down and repeat. Other aspects of the framework will require the concept to be embedded into the culture and your leadership style.
Personal Reflection and Transformation
Learning is usually required to transform an organization. We learn from research. We learn from other organizations. And we learn from experience making organizational changes and testing those changes. As leaders, we also learn how best to lead the [re]design and transformation.
One of the things that all the leaders I’ve talked to the success led successful transformations experience was a personal learning experience they changed from the beginning to the end, and the grooves got deeper the gray matter got grayer they were different people at the end, and they continue to be different people.
Over the years of working with organization transformations, some leaders were surprised by the need to change personally, and some were reluctant to accept the need for their change. In the end, they all learned, developed, and changed in order to set an example and be credible.
It might seem a bit cliche, but Gandhi’s now-famous quote seems applicable here. “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him” (Gandhi in Morton, 2011). As one CEO asked after noticing that some senior executives were not fully “on board.” Why aren’t they doing this? They came back and said, ‘well, boss, the answer is they’ll change when the CEO changes.’
To his credit, he took a step back and reflected and decided that they were right. He would have to change and set an example. Once he did, the others engaged, and the organization started improving.
“Falser Words Were Never Spoken” by Brian Morton, August 29, 2011, New York Times