Like a bunch of headless chickens

Over at Anchor, Don gets the broad strokes right in this post:

As someone who has led corporate turnarounds for nearly 20 years and has read extensively on what it takes to lead successful change initiatives, it is appalling how little progress has been made to effect real change in the face of the current crisis here in RI. It's not like these structural problems are a new development!

One of my favorite authors on leadership and change is Harvard Business School professor John Kotter. He has been writing for years about the topic of leading change and is a world authority on the subject. More on his books can be found here.

For the last decade, Kotter has been writing extensively on what he calls the "Eight Step Process of Successful Change." Here is an excerpt from his "Iceberg" book, a book which uses a fable to describe what it takes to realize successful change. Easily accessible to the layperson, I recommend reading it.

Set the Stage

1. Create a sense of urgency: Help others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately.

2. Pull together the guiding team: Make sure there is a powerful group guiding the change - one with leadership skills, credibility, communications ability, authority, analytical skills, and a sense of urgency.

Decide What to Do

3. Develop the change vision and strategy: Clarify how the future will be different from the past, and how you can make that future a reality.

Make it Happen

4. Communicate for understanding: Make sure as many others as possible understand and accept the vision and strategy.

5. Empower others to act: Remove as many barriers as possible so that those who want to make the vision a reality can do so.

6. Produce short-term wins: Create some visible, unambiguous successes as soon as possible.

7. Don't let up: Press harder and faster after the first successes. Be relentless with initiating change after change until the vision is a reality.

Make It Stick

8. Create a new culture: Hold on to the new ways of behaving, and make sure they succeed, until they become strong enough to replace old traditions.

As we all reflect on the severe crisis here in RI, one of the most disconcerting conclusions is how RI is currently 0-for-8 in moving in the right direction.

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