Transformation at Work – Part I, Courage

In my post Three Essential Ingredients of Transformation we talked about how sustainable transformation requires three essential ingredients operating at full capacity all the time. They are courage, conviction and leadership. What do they look like in real life? This is the first of three posts citing such examples. First up: Courage. We defined courage as choosing what needs to be done versus what can be done. Courage is plotting the right course even if it’s the unpopular one. Courage is realizing old ways aren’t working well enough to grow the business. Such was the situation in 1999...

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21 Books For Summer

My last blog Learning From Literature seems to have tapped a nerve about the power of the written word. I decided to ask those who commented to share their recommendations for summer reading. What follows is our first annual 21 Books for Summer from 21 Weeks. Thank you contributors. Enjoy. From Ed, a writer: “OK, I’m going late 20th-early 21st century.” The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.   It’s about early American comic book creators.  It describes the creative process and quite a lot about American society...

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Learning From Literature

You might have noticed the seemingly bizarre connection I have occasionally made between literature and business transformation. You’re probably wondering, “What’s up with that?” My last literary reference was to William Faulkner, that great American writer. It was in a comment I made to my post, Speeding Lessons. The reference was a phrase within – really the essence of – Faulkner’s wonderful acceptance speech upon receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Faulkner, normally a shy public figure, chose to mark the tenuous, post-war time of 1950 with his take on the...

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The Three Essential Ingredients of Transformation

Sustainable transformation – that powerful force of change that can lift your organization to a new, higher-value S-curve – requires three essential ingredients operating at full capacity all of the time. They are: Courage – choosing what needs to be done versus what can be done Conviction – staying true to the mission and not softening the edges Leadership – being the poster child of change by visibly and emotionally motivating, enticing and enrolling others in the quest Why are these ingredients essential to sustainable transformation? Courage is easy to talk about, but...

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Speeding Lessons

Whether you call it a recession, a depression, or an adjustment, a time of uncertainty is the time to accelerate – if you have the capital and the backbone. I understand this view may be counterintuitive, perhaps seen by some as reckless. Conventional wisdom would ask: How can you think of being aggressive at a time when deals are at risk, satisfied customers are coveted, and the market is jittery? History has shown that post-downturn winners are those who took a long view while others around them only focused inward. Take a look at this chart from Accenture. What do the winners have in...

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