Change is Hard: Embrace it

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. ~Arnold Bennett

Change is hard. We all know that. Changing anything in an organization can seem like a daunting task; changing the culture of an organization can seem like an impossibility. Fear not. Others have done it and so can you. This week #TChat guest, Tim Kuppler, co-founder of The Culture Advantage and, shared his experience on the subject.

Changing an organization’s culture is one of the most difficult leadership challenges according to Steve Denning, author of The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace. Why is it so hard? Because an organization’s culture is made up of an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions. Changing the culture requires a combination of organization tools for changing minds.

A successful shift in organizational culture begins with leadership tools, including a vision or story of the future. It includes cementing the change in place with management tools, such as role definitions, measurement and control systems, and it requires the pure power tools of coercion and punishments as a last resort, when all else fails.

Consultant Brad Power advises, “If You’re Going to Change Your Culture, Do It Quickly.” Power describes the way Trane, an $8 billion subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand, changed their culture quickly by using a combination of a culture survey and an employee engagement survey. The results of their assessment are used to help determine if they have created their desired culture which includes three essential elements:

  • Vision: where the organization wants to go together
  • Mission: what they do together
  • Guiding behavioral principles: how they expect all associates to behave

By Implementing these changes, Trane North America grew year-over-year operating income by over 20 percent, without any new products or services and very limited market growth.

How does one lead change? Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter cites the following six success factors that are the keys to positive change.

  • Show up
  • Speak up
  • Look up
  • Team up
  • Never give up
  • Lift others up


This post first appeared on TalentCulture


Leaders With Authenticity Spark Company Electricity

business_ideasAuthentic leaders demonstrate a passion for their purpose, practice their values consistently, and lead with their hearts as well as their heads. They establish long-term, meaningful relationships and have the self-discipline to get results. They know who they are.

Discovering Your Authentic Leadership,” written by Bill George and a few colleagues for the Harvard Business Review in 2007, examines research conducted after the book was published on CEOs hoping to answer the question, “How can people become and remain authentic leaders?”

The research found that authentic leaders develop self-awareness from their experiences and they act on it by adhering to their values, sometimes at risk to themselves.  Authentic leaders recognize that leadership is not about their success or about getting loyal subordinates to follow them. They know the key to a successful organization is having empowered leaders at all levels, including those who have no direct reports. They not only inspire those around them, they empower those individuals to step up and lead.

Anthony Tjan,  co-author of Smarts, Guts, and Luck, also researched authentic leadership and found that self-awareness, more than another leadership quality,  is evident in every great entrepreneur, manager, and leader; self-awareness. Tran believes that without self-awareness, you can’t understand your strengths and weakness, your “super powers” versus your “kryptonite.” Management expert, Victor Lipman, agrees that self-awareness is the quality that enables “high-octane” leaders to work. Effective leaders assess their own abilities, their strengths and weaknesses, their effect on others, and the gaps that needed to be filled.

Self-awareness has both personal and professional benefits. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses as a leader can help you gain others trust and increase your credibility. Professionally, a self-aware leader knows they always have things to learn, modeling for their employees that you never have all the answers and that it is okay to ask for help. A self-aware leader creates an organization that is constantly learning, one that embraces innovation and agility, two of the hallmarks of high performing organizations.

I have to admit that after reading so much about the importance of self-awareness as a leadership trait I was pretty shocked when I saw the resuts of the 2013 Executive Coaching Survey. The survey of hundreds of CEOs found that nearly two-thirds of them do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches. In fact;

  • Almost 66% of CEOs get no coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants
  • A full 100% of bosses say they would be receptive to making changes based on feedback.
  • Nearly 80% of directors say their CEO would welcome coaching.

Ironically, almost all of the CEOs surveyed said they would like coaching to enhance their development.

This post first appeared on TalentCulture –

How Can We Use Big Data?

target If you haven’t already read, “Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification,” you should!

Cluster Analysis – a classification technique that partitions a diverse set of objects into smaller groups so that objects in the same cluster are more similar to each other than to objects in other clusters.

A/B Testing – a technique in which a control group (A) is compared with a test group (B) to determine what treatments (changes) will improve a given objective (typically referred to as the conversion rate.) Conversion can be any success condition. Multivariate testing is a variation of A/B Testing that lets a business run several A/B tests at the same time.

Crowdsourcing – outsourcing work to a distributed group of people who aren’t known ahead of time.

Predictive Modeling – refers to a set of mathematical model-techniques created to best predict an outcome. It goes farther than clustering by trying to predict what a group might do under certain circumstances based on current and historical facts and data.

Sentiment Analysis – applies natural-language processing and other analytic techniques to large quantities of source text material to identify and extract subjective information.

Stream Processing – the continuous and real-time analysis of data streams from a variety of sources.

Outlier detection and similarity search – outliers are deviations from the norm. Outliers can help identify problems, lend insight to your product-design process, and expose bad behavior.

Cohort Analysis – by dividing users into cohorts, businesses can compare the relative value of each cohort. Example – source – where did they come from or date of acquisition – when did they join

How are Businesses Using Big Data?

Microsegmentation – big data takes existing data that can be collected and inferred about a consumer and then supplements it with online browsing behavior, shopping patterns, social-networking activity, mobile access, and more data based on actual user behavior to create microsegments.

Targeted advertising and cross-selling – microsegmentation enables businesses to craft the perfect cross-sell/upsell offer to close or expand a sale in real time.

In-store behavior analysis – real-time navigation analysis can provide insight into customer behavior.

Real-time pricing optimization – retailers can change their prices dynamically to reflect demand.

Social-media monitoring – social customer relationship management (SCRM).

Recommendation Engines – predict things that customers might be interested in.

How are YOU using Big Data in your organization?

Intrapreneurs: Creating Value INSIDE the Organization

influenceAccording to David Armano, executive VP, Global Innovation & Integration at Edelman, an intrapreneur is someone who has an entrepreneurial streak in his or her DNA, but chooses to align his or her talents with a large organization in place of creating his or her own.

Smart organizations will seek out individuals who like to invent, innovate and want to be on the front lines of change. These individuals can work independently but even more important can work seamlessly as part of an integrated team structure and also effectively embrace and embody the culture of the intrapreneur’s host organization. Intrapreneurs are most successful when management/leadership empowers and supports them and in turn the intrapreneurs represent the best interests of their organizations while earning the respect of corporate peers.

Intrapreneurs, are becoming increasingly important in a global society that continues to evolve and advance with technology faster than ever. More firms are implementing intrepreneurial projects within departments to test and launch new products, services and systems. Intrapreneurs are in charge of a project within a firm where they are given autonomy to work on a project with freedom and resources, taking ownership of the success and failure of an endeavor. Implementing the changes you propose as an intrapreneur is a sales process. This role is challenging in that you have to have enough support from senior management to buy into your ideas and concepts.

Making a Community Work

One of my favorite talks on the topic of community is Jono Bacon’s “The Engines of Community.”

The Art of Community can be downloaded for free here –


Key Point –  for an economy to work, every participant needs to believe in the economy. Belief is a critical component in how any group of people or animals functions. This can be belief in God, belief in values, or belief in a new future. Whatever the core belief is, the economy and the community can be successful only if everyone has faith in it.

  • A sense of belonging is what keeps people in communities. This belonging is the goal of community building. The hallmark of a strong community is when its members feel that they belong.
  • Belonging is the measure of a strong social economy. This economy’s currency is not the money that you find in your wallet or down the back of your couch, but is social capital
  • For an economy and community to be successful, the participants need to believe in it. If no one believes in the community that brings them together, it fails.
  • Like any other economy, a social economy is a collection of processes that describe how something works and is shared between those who participate.
  • These processes, and the generation of social capital, which in turn generates belonging, needs to be effectively communicated.

Digital Habitats is another favorite of mine on the topic of community.

Digital Habitats : stewarding technology for communities – South Africa, May 2010

#TChat: The Impact of Social Media on the “World or Work”

Last night’s #TChat and Tuesday night’s #TChat radio provided opportunities for us to look back at the “World of Work” in 2012 and make some predictions for what will be in 2013. Needless to say, SOCIAL was front and center.

One of the questions last night was particularly interesting to me,  “How did technology and social media affect world of work trends of 2012?” I was so interested in what people thought that I went back this morning and curated some of the responses that were meaningful to me.

@ReCenterMoment You can’t look anywhere without seeing #Hashtags  #tchat

ValaAfshar Companies that are social – listening and learning culture – appear to have flatter org hierarchies. #tchat

TerriKlass Social media totally changed the way we do business today. We have greater resources and reach. #tchat

@ThinDifference Innovation empowered. RT @Cream_HR: @tamcdonald the expediency of information delivery & crowd sourcing have definitely increased #TChat

@MillennialTweet: The concepts of SM driven “accessibility” affects work, especially gen perspectives on culture + authority #TChat

@AngelaMaiers In 2012, social media helped co-workers realize how far reaching their work and ideas can spread, for good+for bad! #tchat

@BarbBuckner Businesses became more aware of their branding & reputation with comments/postings/reviews now everywhere #TChat

@DrJanice: Social media means you are always on stage! #tchat

@CyndyTrivella Technology has helped to connect employees from different countries and opened up more diverse thinking. #Tchat

@VeronicaLudwig New ways of sourcing for talent. Keeping track of current employees. Stalking. Online stalking was huge this year… #Tchat

@tamcdonald The reach of connections is greater and faster than before. Leadership needs to show same trust as with phone and email. #TChat

If you have never joined #TChat, please do! It is one of the most interesting, vibrant conversations and community on the web. I know I am looking forward to connecting with more of the wonderful people in the #TChat community in 2013!