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When Leaders Destroy Their Own Companies

As author Gary Hamel noted, “The bottleneck is at the head of the bottle.” That is where the potential of an organization is slowed. Where customer and employee promises are miscommunicated. Where meetings become hum drum “nobody raised their hands again.” Better yet, where managers and leaders adhere to positions by agreeing to whatever cadence the senior team marches to in honor of self-preservation.

My mother often said I am judged by my friends. A leader then is judged by the people he or she hangs out with. They are I assure you people who attended similar universities, clubs, backgrounds, and race. Their thoughts are genuinely the same. Innovation doesn’t have wow signed on it. Because those with divergent opinions aren’t hired by HR because of the muted directions of the people at the top. When teams are created they too represent this sameness. Forward thinkers are advertised as sought after but in quiet circles, they permeate chairs with tried and true assumptions without dissension and especially diverse opinions. That’s why you are losing market share. The competition is you. In other words, companies tend to self-immolate.


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The Woods Kovalova Group
The Woods Kovalova Grouphttps://woodskovalovagroup.com/
'We are a family-run, minority and woman-owned company ' Located in the Denver Tech Building in Denver, Colorado, we apply the best tools and methodologies of larger firms in today’s complex and uncertain environment and with the personalized attention of a smaller firm. The Woods Kovalova Group brings energy, initiative, and imagination to solve clients’ business problems in ways that deliver value beyond expectations. Our clients have ranged from Whirlpool Corporation to Homeland Security to start ups and churches. Leadership is what we do! With more than 36 years’ experience, we leveraged our power to transform individuals, teams, organizations, and societies to achieve what matters most to them with results that are measurable and lasting. We have a passion to help you and your business! Sincerely, Jim & Lucy'

5 COMMENTS

  1. This reminds me that a leader has a strong impact on an organization — especially its culture. But, if that leader is a bubble or a clique, the behaviors that the leader has cannot be emulated across the whole organization. I’ve seen these leadership cliques impede major business transformations because a lot of employees cannot relate to them or understand them.

    I’m always surprised that when a new CxO comes in, they will bring in their own people to fill the VP and Director ranks — people they know and understand. Then after 1 year things blow up because just too much “new” was brought in too quickly.

    • Chris, Thanks for taking time to reply. Sadly, I am compelled to agree. There is a great read by Art kleiner on the radicals that turn things on their head. Boston Consulting Group stated about 70% of change programs fail. You stated precisely who is to blame. Certainly not the frustrated line worker. Thank you again my friend. Jim

      • True. I feel 70% is very reserved for today. Wasn’t that 70% initially quoted before 2010? Can’t recall. I remember Kotter suggesting 70% as well.

        Either way, I crunched some numbers early this year from Gartner and found that the failure rate is about 94% for large scale initiatives that involve transformation. Gartner didn’t state that, but I was able to crunch it out based on the information they did provide.

        Anyway, 70% even if it is dated is way too high for a failure rate. These posts are making reconsider opening up the book on that “change calculus” I developed a few years back. It’s a syntactical approach that models how change can be planned and executed on. I think it’s worth another look.

  2. Very interesting point of view. I know it is always a balance of hiring innovator and people that are a cultural fit. To be honest I have had the best luck with people with great imaginations, are openly engaged in creativity and dynamic change.

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