Leading Factors: the Best Are “Hungry for Change”

A week ago I brought IBM’s The Enterprise of the Future to your attention and said I’d be discussing it in the future, but there’s so much material in the three studies that I decided to make it a Saturday staple for awhile. Additionally, if you or someone you know, would like to provide a guest post based on or related to any of the three IBM studies (CEO, CFO and HR) I would love to have them. In the Global CEO Study five critical traits needed for success were identified through conversations with more than 1000 CEOs around the world.

The first is that to be a powerhouse, no matter your size, you must be “hungry for change,” not scared, tolerant or even willing, but hungry for it. You must see “change within the organization as a permanent state” and build your culture accordingly. According to Masao Yamazaki, President and CEO, West Japan Railway Company, “The key to successful transformation is changing our mind-set…it is easy to be complacent…company culture must have a built-in change mechanism. ” While corporate culture is the reason that “employees are comfortable with unpredictability.

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In an environment in which products, markets, operations and business models are always in flux, values and goals provide alignment and cohesion,” it’s MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™) that provides the underpinnings for it all. And it’s not just organizational change that’s moving so quickly, but positions, including CXOs, are, too. In an insightful article in MIS Asia, Chris Potts says, “In less than five years’ time, the CIO role, according to CIOs themselves, is destined to become either an executive leader of business change or absorbed into another role,” and walks you through the reasoning and the changes that need to happen. There is a pressing need for integrated leadership of business and technology change. With enterprise architecture and investment portfolio management, CIOs have the two strategic tools onto which that leadership depends. The CIO’s cultural challenge is to explain that these tools are primarily about people and collaboration, not technology. ” Change requires talent and a paucity of talent was rated as the greatest barrier to growth, more so than even regulatory and budgetary considerations.

Moreover, the kind of talent needed has changed radically from the descriptions so often heard as has the ways to remunerate them. Now, it’s “people who question assumptions and suggest radical, and what some might initially consider impractical, alternatives” with the potential for “differentiated rewards, such as a stake in the business they helped create. ” Managing this kind of talent takes more than good people skills or charisma, it requires MAP that’s secure and willing to hire people smarter than itself, share a vision of the needed results, turn them loose and trust them to accomplish it.

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