As reviewed in my last post, Beyond Performance is an excellent new book chockfull of solid research on the key elements to successful leadership and organization development. Here are a few of highlights of Keller and Price’s findings:
Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage

“What we might think of as the usual suspects — inadequate resources, poor planning, bad ideas, unpredictable external events — turn out to account for less than a third of change program failures. In fact, more than 70 percent of failures are driven by what we would categorize as poor organizational health, as manifested in such symptoms as negative employee attitudes and unproductive management behavior.”

“Taking deliberate steps to move the needle on the soft stuff is a vital element in organizational transformations, though it’s often overlooked.”

“Programs that mobilize frontline employees to feel ownership of the change are four times more likely to succeed, programs that empower employees to use their own initiative to achieve aspirations for change are five times more likely to succeed, and programs that make the organization feel engaged and energized through communications and involvement are four times more likely to succeed than programs that don’t do these things.”

“… programs that communicate an emotionally compelling narrative about the transformationare 3.7 times more likely to succeed… (The Influence Model) identifies four major levers that leaders can use to shift employee mindsets on a wide scale:

    • A compelling story  — content, the way it’s communicated, and embedding messages through rituals
    • Reinforcement mechanisms — links with rewards and consequence, leverage nonfinancial incentives, and adjust
      processes, structures, and systems
    • Skills required for change — ‘field and forum’ approach, relational as well as technical skills, and refreshing the talent pool
    • Role modeling — having top team undergo visible transformation, symbolic actions, and selecting and nurturing influence leaders.”

“Programs in which leaders model the desired changes are four times more likely to be successful.”

“Our research shows that change programs that explicitly address leadership competencies are 3.2 times more likely to succeed than those that don’t. But
that’s not an easy thing to do well. In a recent survey of CEOs and senior executives, 76 percent cited leadership development as important, yet only 7 percent thought their organization was doing it effectively.”

“… organizations that explicitly assess current capabilities against those required to fulfill their performance aspirations are 6.6 times more likely to succeed in their transformation.”

“… the single more important aspect of the senior leader’s role in a transformation… is shifting the culture… the leader should seek 360-degree feedback on how their behavior ties in with the objectives of the broader program; have their diary analyzed to reveal how much time they actually spend on transformation priorities; commit to a short list of personal objectives; and get professional coaching on how to achieve them.”

“… when a caterpillar becomes a butter-fly, or a tadpole a frog, it goes through transformation, not a change… when something goes through a transformation, it can’t go back to what it was before… it has been fundamentally altered, taking on a new form that gives it more freedom and a better chance to survive and thrive in its environment.”