Over the past years I’ve noticed a subtle change in how the organizations I work with function. Correlating all the observations, the hypothesis would be that there is a new phase coming – the one when major changes become critical. Without these changes of abilities and behaviors, things will drastically turn negative. This is also going to affect those leaders who have a real desire to attain success.
By practicing Coaching in Romania for so many years, I can say that the CEO has the biggest impact in this transformation. Meaning, the CEO has the power to whether transform the organization or to completely disturb a transformational, level-upgrading project. This is it, we live in a professional environment where people risk breaking their necks looking up to their leader.
You must already be wondering why am I saying all of this. Well, my goal is to tell you what is the detail that makes the difference, in Romania, between an organization that manages to transform and another one that doesn’t.
The detail is: the CEO’s behavior.
More and more, this “small” detail is becoming more relevant in companies. People are understanding the transformational process through what the CEO is showing them. The ways that he/she operates, behaves, delegates, gives directions and asks for something are observed and discussed by the managers and all of his/hers colleagues. He/she affects everyone through his/her importance, it’s like the CEO is continuously performing on a stage – everybody is looking. Therefore, when the CEO is making a change in his/her behavior, this change is not only observed and discussed, but also taken over by the majority of the managers – results: the organizational culture changes as well.
This year I worked with a company that wanted to transform its structure and competencies in order to deliver more value into the market by using less resources. The key – which they found in no time – was to increase dramatically the co-operation level (between departments, between departments directors) in attaining results. I repeat, co-operation. I wasn’t surprised when they figured this out: in our first meetings, almost all directors agreed that they don’t know each other’s business – they weren’t aware of the power of common results.
The success of the coaching program was clear from the moment when the CEO realized that without his intention, he contributed to the making of these small “islands”. He realized also how he made this happen and together we’ve defined a simple plan to break all barriers between departments and make them work together. Then, together with his team, he started looking for ways to encourage and support collegiality – emotionally in an informal way and operationally in a formal way. The next step was involving everybody in major company decisions. In this step, the CEO was personally sending invitations to regular meetings to various department representatives.
After a few months, the majority of the management team have copied this novum modus operandi and implemented it themselves. Then the entire organization was having short, focused meetings on the company’s “hottest” topics.
Of course, people can be positively touched through new trainings and last-minute information. But the simplest way is to impact them through a behavior and action change at the top. And if you run a company in these times that ask for drastic changes, please make time to see what you can do to show that this change is good for the company and your people.
Because every single one of them – no exceptions! – is looking at you.