Construction Company Rebuilds Executive Team to Shape the FutureToday’s decisions are driven not so much by historic data as much as real time data and perception of the future.
How do you help an organization that has been in business for over 90 years make a shift from past and present to the future? Some sound business practices don’t change with time. But everything eventually changes. Technology, demographics, and globalization are changing the way competition is defined. They have changed consumer buying preferences and the mode of buying. Building relationships and brand positioning in the world of social media is a different ball game. Today’s decisions are driven not so much by historic data as much as real time data and perception of the future. Many organizational leaders recognize this but are stymied in their decision to move forward by the fear of the unknown. Where does one start?
Start with people. “First who, then what” was the mantra in Jim Collins’s book, Good to Great. He claims that when you have the right people on the bus, synergy happens. This concept was especially true with this particular client.
It started with the CEO claiming that he had the right people all he needed was a good strategy for future growth. The company had been profitable, but stagnant for a long time. The current leadership team had been in control of decision-making and execution of strategy for the previous ten to fifteen years. As we started the process the CEO changed his position from, “I have the right people in leadership” to questioning, “Do I have the right people for the growth into the future?”
This started the process of rebuilding the executive team to one that could not only manage the present, but could also shape the future. The process further extended to building the bench strength.
The CEO had to make his own shifts. At one of our facilitated sessions, the CEO had an honest aha moment, “I am stuck in the present; am I not?” It was absolute humility for a leader, a rare quality, but an essential one for leading change.
This realization led to forming two future focus groups. The focus of one group was “attracting and retaining talent” while the other group focused on doing research on the “state of their markets, threats and opportunities.” These groups presented their findings to the management team. There was energy and excitement at all levels. These groups dedicated their time over and above their regular work. This had never happened in that organization in all their 90 years.
Many of their recommendations are now integrated into the organizational strategy. There is renewed energy and future focus.
Change means different things to different organizations. Change for the sake of change is not a good idea. While changes in the environment make it essential to adapt, innovate and reinvent, it is necessary to stay true to your values. Any change will require a shift in the established culture. Not everything from the past needs to be changed. Leading change is a deliberate, slow process. It requires patience, grit, discipline and commitment.