How to Lead Your Organization Through Change
There’s a piece of folksy, conventional wisdom everyone knows. It states: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
It’s a simple reminder not to change what you’re doing when everything is going great. And, well, it’s flat-out wrong.
When everything is going great is the best time to evaluate your processes and find out what it takes to level-up from great to awesome.
Because change is the only constant in life. And the world is going to change with or without you.
Marco and Steve supervised a massive transformation at Workday — overhauling its business model, revamping its tech stack, upgrading its prospecting methodology and restructuring its teams into verticals.
And they did all of this when the company was at the top of its game.
Marco and Steve joined me today to share the secrets to leveling up an already successful organization.
We talked about:
- Why you should make changes when you’re already successful
- Why culture eats strategy for breakfast
- Why leadership shouldn’t just be on board, it should drive the bus
Make changes when you are at the top
Change is a lovely word. It’s feared by many and experienced by all.
And it’s a constant challenge we all know is coming.
This is why it’s so important to look ahead and try to make out what’s coming at you over the horizon.
If you squint, you’ll be able to make out the shadowy army of change, which looms like some Lord of the Rings villian approaching you.
It might look menacing, but you don’t need bearded magicians or magic creatures to deal with it — you just need to think like a Boy Scout.
Always be prepared.
You can do this by thinking strategically. Strategizing from the beginning lets you take on monumental tasks and future-proof your organization before the future reaches you.
And doing this when everything is going great means you’ll have the resources and capacity to take on the future on your terms and not desperately reacting when it arrives.
“It’s important to change when you’re on top of your game because if you become complacent, then everyone else around you gets better. And you’re stuck behind in an old trick.”
MARCO CENTAURO at Workday
You may be killing it now, but there will come a point when the methodologies you’re implementing will no longer work so well. Plus, the only thing more awesome than winning is to keep winning.
Which you’ll do, if you can get everybody on board.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast
Even more remarkable than the breadth of change Marco and Steve presided over, is how everything they built rested on a strong cultural foundation.
And if you want to implement these types of massive changes, you’d do well to follow suit.
With so many moving parts when restructuring your organization, it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page — and getting culture right is the best way to make it happen.
A strong culture means everyone not only knows your mission — they live and breathe it.
And this is more than just a nice slogan, it has practical applications as you undergo massive change.
A good company culture ensures everyone is communicating with each other. And this is vital if you want to incorporate your changes smoothly.
“Everybody can have a perfect procedural idea of how to implement change, but if you don’t have the right culture to do it, inevitably it just becomes talk and nobody executes anything.”
STEVE FINCH at Workday
For people to execute, they need to know more than just what they’re doing. They need to know why they’re doing it.
If your values are shared throughout the company and everyone’s communicating, then they’ll get as excited about new approaches to achieving your organization’s mission.
Everyone should be on the bus together and they all want to reach the same destination.
Strong culture gets everyone on board, but knowing strong leaders are driving makes the ride even smoother.
Leadership should drive the bus
While navigating massive changes, it’s not enough for your organization’s leaders to passively be along for the ride — leadership needs to grab the wheel.
Think about it: If your employees are working hard to prepare for the future and they look to their leaders and don’t see the same dedication, how are they going to react?
Probably by becoming more passive themselves.
“We adopted that philosophy of not just being on the bus, but driving the bus.”
STEVE FINCH at Workday
Leading by example matters in all leadership, but it’s especially important when you’re stirring up massive changes in an organization.
So, if some leaders (or employees, for that matter) don’t care about reaching the destination, maybe they should get off the bus altogether.
It may sound harsh, but it’s best for everyone in the end. It’s OK for someone to say they aren’t happy coming along for the ride and finding something else to do.
If you approach change in this strategic way, it’s easy to get everyone on board. Once you do, change becomes something everyone will embrace, not fear.
Change is inevitable, but how you approach it is up to you.
This blogpost includes highlights of our podcast interview with Steve Finch, Senior Director of Corporate Sales Development North America and Marco Centauro, Director of Corporate Sales Development EMEA, at Workday.
For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.
If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.