Ready, Set, Transform!

by Melissa Banuchi on January 13, 2010

Part 1 – Synchronized Swimming

Whether you are welcoming a new leader or strategic partner, implementing cutting-edge technology, or a different organizational structure, taking your company in a new direction, or adding a new product or service, transformations can be arduous. Please join me over the next few weeks to discuss what leaders should put/have in place in order to avoid the regrets that Robert H. Miles shared in his article, Accelerating Corporate Transformations (Don’t Lose Your Nerve!) appearing in this month’s Harvard Business Review.

When leaders looked back at their corporate transformations, Miles states:

“They wish they had unified the leadership team right away. They wish they had engaged employees sooner and quickly drummed up support for the new vision. They wish they hadn’t waited so long to test their assumptions and refine their key initiatives. And they wish they had generated some visible returns early on, to accelerate the commitments and reinforce the expectations of employees, customers, suppliers, and investors.”

Unify Your Leadership Team

Honestly, I am bewildered by leaders who dive in the deep end of planning and executing their corporate strategy with complete disregard as to whether or not their team can ‘swim’. For synchronized swimming, like strategy creation and implementation, demands advanced (water) skills, and requires great strength (of character), endurance, flexibility, grace, artistry and precise timing, as well as exceptional (breath) control when upside down underwater. Trust me, you want the members of your team to demonstrate exceptional control if you find yourselves upside down underwater!

Some leaders wrongly assume that their team is healthy because it is comprised of seasoned, accomplished, senior executives. These leaders believe that each of their team members came equipped with the right information and attitude and share an interest in and willingness to learn, explore and create together. They also believe that all of their leaders will easily set aside their department’s needs in order to do what is best for the business and will leave the meeting speaking and acting in a manner that supports the newly agreed upon direction and priorities of the company. For ego-ruling or apathetic leaders, the foundation, working relationship and well-being of their team is simply not considered.

They Are Looking To You To Do So

Unfortunately on more than one occasion years ago, while working with individual leadership teams to design their strategic direction and objectives, I was pulled aside during breaks, even approached in the ladies room by participants who NEEDED to share their concerns with me. These stealthy informants would whisper a similar alarming message in my ear, “This will never work. We’ll never make these things happen”. Upon further discussion they would share that their team was dysfunctional, toxic, protective, and/or fragmented. I would hear about the team’s lack of a strong leader or foundation, the absence of trust, respect, unity and follow-through. This coupled with tales of poor communication, favoritism, no accountability and uncertain job responsibilities/reporting structures made my head spin. It also made me aware of the need to assess and increase a leadership team’s ability to swim before we dove in the deep end together. No drowning on my watch – please!

Taking the time to complete a team-synthesizing program will empower your team with the facts and foundation necessary for optimal proficiency. Providing team members with something as simple as a proper introduction to each other, so that they can come to know and trust their fellow team members, will enable and motivate them to create, communicate and successfully implement a strategy that is ‘best for the business’. That’s not just swimming, that’s synchronized swimming! To learn more about Optimity’s Teams That Excel™ program, click here.

Don’t miss next week! Part 2 – The Drumline


Changing the World

by Melissa Banuchi on January 5, 2010

Eat healthier?  Check.  Spend more time with my kids?  Yep.   Change the world?  Wait-huh?  Perhaps there’s no better time to feel up to the task than now, the first week of January, when people believe that anything is possible.  As timing is everything, an interesting quote landed in my email this morning from Tom Peters, “Every project, small or large, this year will have to answer the question, “Does this change the world?”

Now, if I was in Mr. Peters’ presence when he came up with this, I would have respectfully asked him to consider what I believe is a better question, “HOW MIGHT this change the world?”

This is the season of New Year’s resolutions, fresh starts, and clean slates.  Welcome to 2010! Isn’t it something that people see the beginning of each year as just what they needed, the right time to make changes to become the very best they can be?  No judgment here, I’m all for whatever it takes to bring about positive change.  Me?  I am a firm believer that writing down your goals and objectives (that include appropriate measurements) is a great and necessary step in reaching them, no matter what time of year it is.

Please notice that I didn’t say FIRST step.  Nope.  Whenever you are setting the direction and goals for your life, job, team, or business, the first step should always be imagining the ideal ‘world’ you want to live in.  That ‘world’ could be your family, team, department, company, industry, etc.  Each of the entities listed above contain other individuals; important people, who not only care that you reach your goals, but will be either positively or negatively affected by whether or not you reach them.  Part of imagining the ideal is finding out what would thrill them beyond their wildest dreams.  Take the time to explore and understand what they’re looking for from you, your team and your business and set your direction and goals accordingly.   You may not thrill everyone beyond their wildest dreams or change the world, but you will have earned extra points with ‘your people’ for caring enough to ask, created a common language which will increase accountability between you and those that matter, and your compass will be set in a direction that you and others can trust.  Interested in learning more?  Great! Please click here.