You cannot lead what you do not understand

CORPORATE CULTURE emerges in how and organisation conducts business ,treats employees,customers,stakeholders and the wider community.It also shows in aspects such as the extent there is  freedom in decision-making, focus on  innovation and new ideas, scope for personal expression and how power flows . An existing culture is based on shared philosophies,ideologies,values.assumptions,beliefs and attitudes. Transforming,sustaining and allowing for evolution of  a  culture is a complex process requiring a clearly  articulated strategic aim , underpinning objectives and long term programme coordination and mobilisation of resources.

 1. Define what you are going to do, why you will do it, what the benefits of change are, and what the dangers of not changing are.

“Our only security is our ability to change” – John Lily

  • Is a clarifying vision of the future articulated and widely accepted?
  • Is the rationale for change sensible and clear and sound? Are benefits well-defined?
  • Does the case for change balance crisis and opportunity?
  • Are the vision and rationale easy to communicate in less than  3 minutes AND easy to get a reaction from AND of interest to others besides those in the executive meetings?
  • Has a clear roadmap forward been developed and shopped around to gain support?

2. Create a sense of urgency and sustain it

“If you do not change direction you may end up where you are heading” – Lao Tzu

  • Is there a change champion calling others to action at very top?
  • Is the Guiding Coalition actively involved (not just hoping for wins) in generating legitimate short-term wins?
  • Are reward & recognition for wins happily made AND do they go beyond money?
  • Are leaders leveraging the positive energy created by short-term wins to go after bigger opportunities?

3.Put governance and management in place; Form a powerful guiding coalition for success

“Slowness to change usually means fear of the new”- Philip Crosby

  • Is a Change Sponsor selected and has a Governance Body/Guiding Coalition been established to oversee and refine execution of the transformation roadmap and to maintain urgency throughout the enterprise?
  • Is the effort inclusive of diverse, influential leaders throughout the organization, or are the ‘usual suspects’ once again involved in this effort?
  • Is a day-to-day leader in place to coordinate the program’s various work streams, manage the roadmap, identify needs, remove barriers and drive execution?
  • Are there sufficient resources with the right skills dedicated to the effort?

4. Engage key stakeholders – particularly managers – in making change happen

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence -it is to act with yesterdays logic” – Peter Drucker

  • Have stakeholders who are critical to transformation success been identified and their personal value drivers learned?
  • Is it clear how stakeholders will be proactively involved in making the transformation happen over time to build their support and maintain their engagement?
  • Has a cadre of top change agents been identified and rallied to be actively involved in all aspects of executing the transformation – planning, communications, engagement, execution, monitoring, training, local level readiness, piloting solutions, etc.? Is this cadre treated like the pioneering group of change agents and first-followers they are?

5. Over-communicate the vision & key messages 

“Paralyse resistance with persistence”  – Woody Hayes

  • Are executives across the impacted enterprise incorporating messages into their hour-by-hour activities?
  • Are ALL channels and roles being leveraged to deliver the right message ,to the right people , at the right time?
  • Are visible & influential leaders and managers walking the talk? Are change leadership coaching & 360 feedback tools being applied to change their behavior when needed?

Do the communications about this change strive for candid, cascading, interactive, face-to-face messaging?

6. Remove obstacles to transformation success, especially during implementation

“The path of least resistance is the path of the loser” – H.G.Wells

  • Have those impacted by the changes been asked about barriers to success?
  • Has fairness been included as a design principle in workforce reduction plans to avoid creating sense of injustice and disengagement?
  • Have local level change agents/leaders been identified and prepared to be involved?
  • Have rapid action barrier removal groups been formed on the ground to swiftly remove the biggest obstacles during implementation? Is feedback on barriers shared regularly with the Guiding Coalition to facilitate problem solving?

7. Enable real transformation by cultivating a new organisational culture and individual behaviours
“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!”— Peter Senge

  • Are you actively and thoughtfully identifying and cultivating a desired culture that supports, not hinders, the new business strategy or change vision?
  • Are you actively and thoughtfully shifting underlying mindsets along with delivering new skills training?
  • Is there a focus on leaders modeling the desired behaviors as a key way to cultivate a new culture?

8. Realign operations and organisation to enable the new vision and support the transformation

“Those who resist change are the architects of decay’ – Harold Wilson

  • Have competencies and skills been assessed and upgraded across the impacted enterprise?
  • Are processes being assessed and modified to enable a new way of working?
  • Are you hiring for the future or for yesterday? Do new hires reflect desired or old culture?

9. Upgrade executives’ and leaders’ skills in change leadership

“Change before you have to” – Jack Welch

  • Is your leadership prepared to effectively lead people through change, or do they simply do things the same way they’ve been doing them in relatively stable times?
  • Are there key leaders and senior managers involved with the effort who are experienced in change or is there an assumption that it ‘can be figured out?’ Can you afford to assume that given what’s at stake for the company?

If you find yourself in charge of a highly visible, strategically critical change program, it is appealing to think of a list like this as a checklist – “if I do these things, we will succeed.” The power of understanding these success factors cannot be underestimated. The real power in this framework, however, is in its’ effective execution. And that’s where experience with big change comes into play – make sure you’ve got people supporting you who have done it before and who understand the nuances involved in each of these factors. While it won’t be as easy as clearing a checklist, understanding the framework and having the right change experience on board will get you far closer to the financial, business and customer outcomes your company must achieve




PETER COBBE – NOW ACCEPTING NEW CLIENTS : Coaching and Consulting  via Skype / Facetime / 1 to 1 meetings

My career experience includes HR Director and senior executive roles in Barclays plc and Tesco plc leading major transformation and complex change programmes reporting at Board level .I have an MBA, BA and I am a member of the CIPD and Association for Coaching. I am an accredited coach with over 12 years of private client coaching experience and as an associate consultant with Penna (UK) dealing with career, life,executive and business coaching and counselling. I work in mentoring and coaching partnerships with executives to help achieve gains of importance to them.I help people of all ages, different cultures and job levels to understand more about themselves, their impact on others and how to develop across major dimensions in life.
I respect the integrity and confidentiality of my clients building on their existing great skills and abilities and evolving enhanced self guidance : ” No one in the world was ever you before, with your particular gifts and abilities and possibilities.”

Specialties: Holistic / systemic approach to coaching

Business/HR Strategy ,Change Leadership
Communications strategy

Remote coaching via Skype and Apple Facetime
Coaching for Executive performance /High Potential including C level
First 100 days
Career Coaching/portfolio lifestyle
Coaching for powerful presentations
Life Coaching
Executive advice on staff insight surveys
Facilitating key meetings and C- level strategic retreats engaging around people decisions that flow from business choices

Psychometrics,NLP,Emotional Intelligence
Confidence&Self Esteem
Creativity coaching
Independent Consulting propositions coaching
Non Executive director coaching
Business Report/White Paper writing
Graduate career coaching
Just a thought :

Five frogs are sitting on a log.
Four decide to jump off. How many are left?

Answer: five. Why? Because there’s a difference between deciding and doing.

Mark Feldman




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