Thought Leadership

Seven Anchors For A Compelling Case For Change

Without a clear and compelling case for change, it is easy for major change initiatives to drift, hit the cliffs and sink. This article recommends setting seven anchors. If just one of these anchors is missing you can expect danger. We are not talking theory. The need for each of these anchors comes from real world experience guiding major high-stakes change initiatives including; business model turnarounds, post merger integrations and business culture overhauls. Read this article, apply these anchors and avoid failure.

Steve Jobs And Leadership Success

Rip Steve JobsWired Magazine just published this worthwhile read, The Story of Steve Jobs: An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale?. It asks whether Jobs' thorny, authoritarian approach to leadership should be emulated. It's a good article, but it misses a big point: Jobs success may not be due to his rude-boy style. It may be more attributable to his entrepreneurial vision and the historical moment in which he lived and created.

Henry Ford also built an incredible company. Like Jobs, he was uncompromising. He broke conventions. It was a bold, brilliant move to pay his workers more, buffeting the advice of his board. By all accounts, Ford demanded the performance of others that he demanded of himself. Yet he was also an infamous anti-semite and basically toxic human being...

Change Leadership, Defined

leading change

Because the world is changing fast, leading change is perhaps the critical leadership capability. Here are some useful distinctions and a simple, powerful exercise for your team.

John Kotter, at Harvard Business School, branded "change leadership" with his 1996 book, Leading Change (republished 2012). He's a lucid writer; it's worthwhile reading. He argues the facts: we are simply not that good at leading change.

The Unique Challenges of Family Owned Businesses

family owned business

The unique challenges of family owned businesses center on performance - low performance. If you have family owned businesses, there are two studies worth paying attention to, one just published, the other from 2007. Both place family owned businesses in last place in two critical categories. The first is business performance. The second is board performance.

The 2007 study, a pedigreed academic work  from the School’s of Economics at both Stanford and London, and McKinsey surveyed 4000 mid-sized companies. The upshot of that study is that a relatively small and sustained investment in leadership training results in a 25% increase in staff productivity and 65% increase in return on capital. Most organizations underplay such investments, often in favor...

Team X-Ray App: Cracking the Code on Higher Performance

Team X-Ray App

Approximately 70% of change initiatives underperform or fail (see Beyond Change Management, 2010). The numbers are similar for mergers and acquisitions.

Big numbers. So expensive. Why?

Because change leadership is a mission-critical capability, and most organizations don't have it. Most leaders simply are not on an explicitly conscious path to higher performance that cultivates their ability to lead change.

At Growth River, we've strived to crack the code - to establish an approach to raising team performance...


Leaders Create The Conditions For Emergence

Zippered Chrysalis

A client cancelled a meeting today. So I'm catching up on reading. Roger Trapp just posted on Forbes, Successful Organizations Need Leaders At All Levels.

Yes. Agreed. There is a dearth of qualified leaders, and for many reasons, as Trapp details.

I also read a pedigreed academic study from the School's of Economics at both Stanford and London, and McKinsey. The study surveyed 4000 mid-sized companies, observing that a relatively small and sustained investment in leadership training results in a 25% increase in staff productivity and 65% increase in return on capital. Not surprising. But it is nice to have the numbers. That a debate even exists...

CSR: Harvard Business Review Over-Simplifies The Point


arvard Business Review posts The Daily Stat. I recommend subscribing. Here's today's post - it's problematic:

Investors May React Emotionally to Corporate Responsibility (CSR)

In an experiment, graduate business students who studied a fictional retailer’s finances valued the company at $25.92 per share if they were told it had an above-average record on such corporate-responsibility issues as labor and the environment, and just $19.14 per share if its performance on those measures was said to be below average, according to a team led by Mark E. Peecher of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. But the valuation gap disappeared when the participants were encouraged to think carefully about the company’s CSR, suggesting that the high valuations in the above-average case were “unintentional” and based on emotions. “One wants to avoid being overly swayed by” CSR, the researchers say.

Here's my response: Oh boy. Context is everything...