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Vive la Revolution

Optimize Blog - January 25, 2016 - 0 comments

More and more companies are recognizing the need for radical transformation rather than incremental change, whether this is due to market conditions, increased competition or game changing technological advancements.
Revolution rather than evolution requires much more focused leadership than evolutionary change and whilst there are a myriad of documents and papers aimed at addressing corporate change, perhaps there are fewer specifically concerned with the role of the CEO in leading that change.
The exact nature of the CEO’s role will be influenced by the scale, urgency, and nature of the transformation, the capabilities and failings of the organization and the personal style of the leader. Because of this complexity there is not one single answer to the role that the person at the top has to play but what is consistent is that the role is pivotal to ensuring success – or not.
Organizational energy—collective motivation, enthusiasm, and intense commitment—is a crucial ingredient of a successful transformation. There is no substitute for a CEO directing his or her personal energy toward ensuring that the company’s efforts have an impact and the role of the senior leader is to be relentless in the pursuit of that goal.
So the key element is the relentless pursuit of results. The CEO should chair a steering committee for the transformation to compare the results of the transformation program with the original plan, to identify the root causes of any deviations, celebrate successes, help fix problems, and hold leaders accountable for keeping the transformation on track, both in activities (are people doing what they said they would?) and impact (will the program create the value that was anticipated?).
In undertaking the relentless pursuit of the goals the person at the top must ensure that decision making stays grounded in the facts and deliver an appropriate balance between near-term profit initiatives (those that deliver performance today) and organizational-health initiatives (those that build the capacity to deliver tomorrow’s results).
Consideration might be given to holding separate review meetings for short and long-term objectives to ensure that the organization maintains the balance between operational improvement (resource management, productivity, and portfolio management) and long-term growth (revenue and volume growth through market share, new products, channels and marketing, M&A, talent management, succession planning and capability management).
Change is something that needs to be lead very carefully and the CEO of the organization plays a fundamental role in achieving any successful transformation – the role cannot be passive. The role cannot be delegated or outsourced – there is specific accountability with the CEO for the success of the change program.
Any successful change needs to engagement of the whole team but direction, reinforcement, energy and direction all need to come directly from the top.

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