Can Executives Change?

I came across this question on a web site blog for executives that focus on management practices. My first reaction was, “Sure.”  I read some of the responses to the question and found they all support the idea that executives can change, but I saw words like fortitude, will power, and vision come up repeatedly. Mind you, these are all appropriate words but the responses seemed glib when I consider how difficult change really is. The answer to this question is not so obvious. I’m seeing executives today who would rather give up and move on than reinvent themselves and their organization. A change of venue is not necessarily the same as changing yourself.

While I have found successful executives lead their organizations for the greater good, I believe that there must be a strong personal motivator for them to effect a change. Most executives, particularly those schooled in leading by example, feel vulnerable when learning new skills with an undeterminable learning curve. Change is easier to achieve when a valued life goal is at stake. When I ask executives why they have taken on significant change initiatives, I rarely get the Sir Edmund Hillary response, “Because it’s there.” They usually have something more specific in mind.

I believe there are three success factors involved in change: a clear set of life goals, a sense of awareness that lets one question if the familiar ways are still the best way, and formation of a circle of trusted supporters that can help guide the change. Ideally, this circle of supporters will include people both inside and outside the executive’s organization.  When it comes to change, I prefer the other Sir Edmund Hillary quote; “I am a lucky man. I have had a dream and it has come true, and that is not a thing that happens often to men.”

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One thought on “Can Executives Change?

  1. ….so hard to answer! Depends on circumstances. When money is the fuel and the fire is hot…..everything and anything is promised…..some delivered…..key aspects dwindle in direct corralation to temp of the fire….including power given, ….this becomes perceived ….and usually related to calender…..related to depth of pockets …at given time.

    Profits are directly related to customer satisfaction and companies devotion to preventing defects…..A company states there is no money to fund the prevention……it is quite ok to fund the results….like credit card debt/depth…..pay the interest and push off the principal……paying interest on interest…..yet not realizing damage this has on future……”make a few extra parts so next month we will have a new start….”

    True story…..$1.8mil inventory….six months worth of sales……..EXEC. complaints begin after acheiving stellar AS/ISO 9000 initial audit review….. 10 more perfect quality audits…..48% reduction in customer complaints….20% staff reduction ………..60-90 hours per week for eight months……..the complaints were about “fire extiguished” common challenges used as misplaced reasoning……… why there is no money to prevent the problems……plenty enough to make extra parts to build the “in case we need them” and make enough for the 10% quality fall-out…….”because we just got another contract and now we have a $2.1mil back-log……”

    “could we at least lease the equipment?”

    …….”Now let me hear it …No I don’t want to hear it!!!…I hate that comment!……”

    “if we lease it we are preventing all the schedule and quality restraints…….if we don’t get the equip we pay much more than the lease costs… and we still won’t have it !…..but we will have the impact of not …….never mind……

    ……somewhere they heard the message and doing better without me……actually quite well…..they bought a few more companies and last i managed to see, still using the basic quality systems…….

    ………yes, i was to blame for my communication problems and vigilant persistance……i love accomplishments among challenging circumstances……..they are not all appreciated and only you know (in that moment) the depth and breadth and seriouness of your actions or inactions……..being right is expensive……..more from the heart than the wallet!

    ……..differently?…….absolutely!…… technically not so much…….i grew personally……such an expensive break-up……wish we grew more as a team…… small boats can be tougher to turn around than oceanliners……more insulation personally

    Pick someone “known to all” as CHANGE AGENT……hired to change things for the better……everyone including …..especially executives need to prepare personally…..change is difficult……they know it technically….it is much more uncomfortable and difficult than you expected….even if you have done this before…….

    Best advise……technically: categorize by solution and make that solution generic ….example: dimensional problems with location of a variety of parts….try a 5 axis lazer ….use similar set-up techniques for a range of parts on same machine…..faster and better…..lease two…..don’t care for that one?.. lease different one…

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