Harvard Business School professor and a world renowned expert in leadership and change (pictured right).
The General Managers
A study of 15 successful American managers who did not formally plan, organize, motivate and control, because of
their large, informal networks of co-operative relationships with people inside and outside
Managers' conversations with people were short and disjointed with very little
Each manager’s success depended on detailed knowledge of the industry, technology, product, markets and
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General management jobs... put a person in a position where he is held responsible for a complex system which he
cannot directly control and cannot entirely understand.
Corporate Culture and Performance
A strong corporate culture (strongly shared values and beliefs within an organization) can
significantly increase long-term profits, if it emphasizes the continual satisfaction of
customers, employees and shareholders.
But effective visionary leadership is vital to overcome any resistance to change that
arises particularly when organizations are:
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Cultures can be very stable over time, but they are never static... New challenges can lead to the creation of
new ways of doing things.
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When employees...begin to interact with customers and their problems and needs, they often begin to value the
interests of customers more highly.
The eight steps in transforming an organization are:
1.Establish a sense of
Kill complacency through:
challenging performance targets.
creating a crisis.
an open, honest and confrontational debate about how to beat competitors and satisfy
customers (based upon an evaluation of competitors’ strengths and feedback from customers, employees and
2. Assemble a leadership group
(with the position power, expertise, credibility, management and leadership skills)
Leaders and managers must lead by example and inspire:
change, enthusiasm and trust.
the achievement of common goals.
3. Create an inspiring vision
This must be:
imaginable and desirable.
feasible and clear.
adaptable to change.
easily communicated (if you can’t describe it in five minutes, forget it!)
4. Communicate clearly and succinctly
keep it simple.
use many communication methods (meetings, informal talks etc.).
keep on repeating the message.
explicitly address inconsistencies in the message.
listen and be listened to.
people to act creatively on the vision
remove obstacles in people’s paths (e.g. poor structure and systems),
give people training and any information they require.
employ empowering managers.
encourage risk taking and new
ways of thinking and acting.
6. Plan for and create short-term, visible performance improvements
People need encouragement because real transformation takes time.
So reward employees who make improvements possible.
7. Consolidate improvements and produce still more
don’t declare victory too soon.
recruit and develop quality people.
re-invigorate the change process with new projects, themes and change agents (leaders
8. Inculcate change in the corporate culture and
Change will be effective and permanent only when it becomes:
a way of life.
linked to the pursuit of customer satisfaction.
Don’t skip any of these steps and resist pressure for quick results.
Be patient – the whole process can take years, particularly making change
a way of life.
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By far the biggest mistake people make when trying to change organizations is to plunge ahead without
establishing a high enough sense of urgency in fellow managers and employees.
Transformations always fail to achieve their objectives when complacency levels are high.
What Leaders Really Do
(1999)– a collection of six Harvard Business Review
Leaders and managers are vital to
Managerial work involves:
adapting to the requirements of each situation
developing a complex web of relationships with people inside and outside the organization.
To cope with increasing change, managers need leadership skills:
formulating and implementing strategy.
inspiring and empowering others.
So leadership is different from management (that makes the organization’s systems work through
“planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling and problem
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Effective leaders help others to understand the necessity of change and to accept a common vision of the desired
More change requires more leadership.
Leadership works through leadership and culture...Management works through hierarchy and systems.