All posts by Steve Graham

Intrapreneurship is key to Organizational Development

Regardless of the ‘era’, change has generally proven to be a challenge.  Why?  It pushes one out of their comfort zone and requires ‘letting go’ of approaches that have historically proven to be successful.  We are at a stage in the organizational development process where we need to empower change agents to champion fresh perspectives.  This approach brings a significant dose of relevancy in a rapidly evolving market that necessitates a highly engaged workforce.  Intrapreneurship is a good starting point, where employees can initiate change without being asked and can come out from behind ‘skunk work projects’ to more transparently challenge existing models and undertake the new.

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Hierarchy will adapt to the tech. revolution or die!

We are in the throes of exponential change, underpinned by a technology revolution.  We live in a world that’s always on and always connected with inexhaustible computational power at our fingertips; the iPhone has far more processing power than the original supercomputer.  Technology based operating models (Uber, AirBnB, Netflix, etc.) are bringing established models to their knees, enabling the consumer to dictate the rules of the game that modern policy makers simply can’t adapt to.

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The key to life and leadership is vulnerability!

I was talking with a client, discussing key aspects to successful leadership when the conversation shifted from the routine themes of execution and ‘walking the floor’ to the topic of ‘vulnerability’.  It occurred to me that this is one of the most integral aspects to leadership and for that matter an essential quality of living. I know that’s a big statement, but give me four minutes to make my point.

According to Shelley Provost (http://www.inc.com/shelley-prevost/the-one-leadership-skill-that-will-set-you-apart.html) “Vulnerability is when you can give honest appraisals of a person or situation. Saying what you really think isn’t always easy. If fortified with compassion, however, it can be the quickest route to building trust with another person.”

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Change and the organizational subconscious!

It’s universally accepted that most of our lives are run by the subconscious mind, in other words we typically react to the stimuli around us without thinking. I hope this isn’t a surprise. If the conscious mind is not focused on a particular activity it is being run by the subconscious, old patterns that just run…run your life, run the organization. Despite our desire to change, the subconscious mind is constantly sabotaging us without us knowing, because the subconscious is in charge. When I think of the power of the subconscious, I’m amazed that we are able to change at all. Continue reading

Discipline of Market Leaders? Listening, but only if you can act!

In 1995 Michael Treacy wrote the book ‘The Discipline of Market Leaders’ – The crux of the book is based on five years of research into Intel, Home Depot, Dell, Sony and others. These companies are no longer market leaders like they once were. Why? In the 1990’s successful companies took a leadership position within their industry by focusing on one of three primary ‘value disciplines’ – operational excellence, product leadership or customer intimacy. According to Treacy’s research, successful companies became champions in one of these disciplines while performing at an acceptable industry standard in the other two, but today the corporate ‘tectonic plates’ have shifted and not many organizations have stabilized. Continue reading

People then profit!

When I peruse through the results of staff engagement surveys, it’s hard not to succumb to a throb of despair. There are way too many people disengaged. What’s happened to the workforce? Perhaps it’s one of Darwin’s theories influencing me, no not his ‘survival of the fittest’ views, but rather his view that sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. In Darwin’s, ‘Descent of man’ he mentioned survival of the fittest twice and mentioned the word love 95 times. Continue reading

Are you kidding? Moving too fast to develop strategy!

At work, every action we take or decision we make effectively supports strategy, whether it is the organizational direction or an individual’s personal agenda.

Dean and author, Roger Martin said, “When I ask business executives about their company’s strategy — or about an apparent lack thereof — they often respond that they can’t or won’t do strategy because their operating environment is changing so much. There isn’t enough certainty, they argue, to be able to do strategy effectively.” Continue reading