- 30 years with major corporations to build cultures aligned with business vision and strategic direction.
- SVP Organizational Excellence at Symantec, SVP HR at Rackspace; SVP at Intuit.
- PhD in human and organizational development.
- All 7 Best Practices
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- Session Summary Report
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Building an Executive Team for Transformation into a High-Performance Organization
- Becoming digital is no longer an option. It's a necessity.
- The question is no longer whether or not a company should go digital but to what extent the company must go digital. Digital technology has become the standard. It's how companies gather, transmit and store information, and it's how their customers shop. In both the B2B and B2C markets, customers now do most of their research online before they even contact a potential supplier.
A company's digital presence is likewise critical. Customers demand an experience that exceeds their expectations. A company must be actively engaged with its customers online to gain insight into what they want and need, and how the company can better serve those needs and solve for those problems. In the digital realm, companies can create an ongoing two-way conversation that builds a lifelong relationship.
Concerns still persist, especially around cyber security, and many companies that came into being before the existence of the Internet and wifi are now staring out over the abyss, wondering how to bridge the chasm. While it's essential to join the 21st Century, it's also important to enter the digital realm in a way that make sense for the company and is in keeping with its vision.
- The workforce is both more dispersed and more collaborative.
- While the workforce is increasingly dispersed, collaboration is also on the rise. Companies can now create fast-cycle teams that come together from all over the world just to solve a specific problem. Teams often work across functions and businesses in order to solve problems with a greater breadth of perspective. They may get together in person or just use online meeting tools to work on a project or solve a specific problem together, and then go back to their ongoing work in their separate areas.
It requires a great deal of agility within the organization to be able to call audibles at the line of scrimmage, so to speak. But this is a very cost-effective way to build new products and solve problems with highly-customized teams. Companies are now realizing the benefit of a workforce strategy that has collaboration at its core.
- Incremental change can no longer drive the growth most companies need to achieve.
- Incremental change, which is more traditional and linear, cannot drive the sort of growth most companies are now seeking. Transformational change is really the only answer to the problems companies have today and the speed with which they need to solve them.
The economy is increasingly interconnected. The old "gatekeepers" are no longer in place. In this new digital age, technology is rapidly changing, and communication is a nonstop instantaneous two-way street. To compete, companies need to cultivate an agile, evolving, self-aware, collaborative approach to the ever-changing marketplace.
- Leaders must be transformational instead of incremental.
- There's a big difference between a great incremental leader and a great transformational leader. One can successfully maintain the status quo and the other is better at disrupting it and creating something entirely new. The two require very different skill sets.
Incremental leaders tend to be most comfortable working within well-established parameters and adhering to a rule book. Transformational leaders can formulate a vision and articulate it. Rather than defend a specific function or set of resources, however, they see the company as an integrated whole that's also part of an ever-changing larger world, and so they recognize the need to adapt and change as things evolve They promote an environment of inquiry and collaboration.
- External partnering and collaboration is on the rise.
- To obtain a new technology, or benefit from a close identification with a well-regarded brand, it's no longer necessary to go acquire the company that owns it. More companies are now finding it's faster, and ultimately more successful all around, to partner with each other, as opposed to having one acquire the other.
Channel partnerships and other co-ventures can accelerate the end game for both companies, allowing them to get a product or package of products out into the marketplace more quickly and efficiently. It eliminates the added expense and energy that would have had to go into a new production or an acquisition. Partnering is a far more elegant and agile solution.
- Employees are now seen as a capital investment.
- It was once popular for companies to refer to their employees as their most important asset. That doesn’t cut it anymore. To be competitive today, a company must see their human capital as an important investment that should increase in value over time. With people, this means really paying attention to who they are and how they’re doing. How can the company help them to be the best they can be? How can it help them feel more engaged and committed to the organization?
It’s like investing in a house. You don't buy property and then ignore it. You spend time and money on its upkeep. You bring an expert in to look at the roof. You don’t wait for it to start leaking. It’s the same with people. If you wait until your turnover rate is high and people are leaving, then you’ve already lost half the battle. Now, you’ve not only got to replace them but you’ve got to do so with a negative brand in the marketplace.
The companies that take care of their employees attract the best talent. When it comes to being competitive, this is a key factor. Fortune comes up with an "Employer of Choice" list every year, and every company is trying to be on it.
- Companies prosper by turning their customers into "promoters."
- Just as it's important for companies to think of their employees as an investment, it's crucial for them to see their customers the same way. Many companies are still very transaction-driven. They focus on the short term and often miss the opportunity for a far more valuable long-term partnership. The cost to acquire a customer is already significant and will only increase in the future. Providing customers with a positive experience is no longer merely a nice thing to do. It's an absolute must!
Companies must constantly monitor and work on improving customer satisfaction. The most profitable companies have high "net promoter scores," which means that their customers are not only loyal but willing to serve as promoters of the company, recommending its products and services to their friends and colleagues.
- Companies are moving from a linear to an integrated approach.
There's a growing general awareness that the world and everything in it is part of a complex integrated system. Before any company can transform, it must first be seen as an interconnected whole, and not as a collection of fragmented, competing pieces. The ability to do this is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a transformational leader. By taking a systemic approach, they stimulate inquiry and collaboration.
It's no longer about reinforcing what's already known. It’s about asking the broader questions. A transformational leader provides an environment that encourages its employees to look for patterns that are not being seen. What are the assumptions? Where is the "white noise?" Is anything obscuring the path to better efficiency and growth? Where are the possible holes in the information?
It's not about defending what's already been achieved, or rewarding those who find new ways to state the obvious. The focus is on looking at the entire operation with an open mind, and asking how it can be improved.