Let’s Talk Leadership for the Digital Age
Podcast Show with Des Walsh
Councillor Hermann Vorster represents Division 11 on the City Council of the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. He also chairs the Council’s Economic Development and Major Events Committee. He also serves on the City Planning and City Infrastructure committees.
Just before Christmas 2016 Cr Vorster was the guest speaker at the end of year event hosted by the IT Forum Gold Coast. I was very impressed with his vision of the economic development potential of this local region and seized the opportunity to invite him on to the Let’s Talk Leadership show. Happily, he agreed!
Click Here for More About Cr Vorster
With 38 kilometers of white, sandy beaches, ancient rainforest and hinterland, the city has great lifestyle appeal and on that basis has had extraordinary growth in a relatively short period: it’s now Australia’s 6th largest city and in area the second largest local government area in Australia.
Historically the economy has depended on construction and tourism, both subject – positively and negatively – to fluctuations in the economy.
The Council’s aim is to position the city to embrace the digital economy, in a way that adds value.
Download the Council’s Economic Development Strategy at this link.
We’re a city that has that entrepreneurial, “have a go” spirit.
Having gained experience in “the crucible of family business”, Cr Vorster became involved in public policy and the media.
Like a lot of people, I got a little bit frustrated with the decisions that were being made around me and decided – foolheartedly, I think – to enter public life.
Leadership and Balancing Interests
We talked about the Council’s decision to make a major investment in telecommunications infrastructure – historically in Australia the preserve of the Federal Government (with some partial involvement at times by State governments). So this was being done in the clear knowledge that there was an element of political risk involved.
Cr Vorster commented that when investment decisions are made for specific economic development projects, some may not see the benefit for them and may feel left out. It’s essential to communicate openly with them and, for instance, point to spillover benefits for other areas of the community.
Bringing the Community with You
To bring the community with you on big decisions, it’s necessary to:
- speak to people in their own language
- research what their priorities are
- respond to what that tells you
He gave the example of a street with schoolteacher residents but no broadband. People understand when the need to remedy that is explained in terms of enabling those teachers to prepare better to teach the community’s children.
The upcoming Commonwealth Games, to be held on the Gold Coast, is a major event, which, like an Olympic Games, is over in a short period of time. What people want is a legacy, so there are key decisions about how to achieve that.
There have been global success stories for businesses built on the Gold Coast.
Important to get those who have success to stick around and thus encourage others.
The Council’s role is to do what it can at a public policy level to create a supportive environment for that.
People do not like change and there is a challenge in how to talk to people about change.
A former Bond University Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar, he has degree qualifications in accounting, corporate strategy and business information systems.
Elected in 2016, Councillor Vorster became the City of Gold Coast’s youngest ever Councillor at age 30. He has had a number of leadership roles in community groups including Gold Coast District Neighbourhood Watch Incorporated and the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ) Regional Policy Board.
Phone (mobile/cell): In Australia – 0405 414 931 From outside Australia – 61 405414931
- Surfers at Snapper Rocks – Des Walsh
- Gold Coast view by night – Yupeng Wu via Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0
Dr Larry Cornett is a business advisor and career consultant and Founder of Brilliant Forge. He helps people redefine their career, regain their freedom, and reclaim their life.
Prior to founding Brilliant Forge, Larry was a product and design executive with over 18 years of experience designing, defining, and building consumer products at a number of technology and internet companies in Silicon Valley; including Apple Computer, Yahoo, eBay, and IBM. Most recently, he was the Vice President of Consumer Products for Yahoo! Search, leading a team of product managers, designers, and developers who were focused on creating world-class Search experiences to compete with Google and Bing.
Click Here for -> More About Larry
Different styles of leadership needed for different contexts
The style of leadership you need to use varies with the type of people that you’re managing.
Also with a global team there are different cultural considerations, with varying expectations about leadership and differences in the practice of leadership. And with different levels of seniority there are different issues to consider.
Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence
In 1993, some of the change we are looking at now was deemed “just around the corner”.
Now, with processing power and the miniaturization of components we have reached a point where what was dreamed of can now become a reality.
I think we’re right on the edge of a big transformation. It’s got some really good points, I think. There’s a lot of concern as well.
On the theme of concerns about impact, Larry mentioned the acquisition this year by Uber of the company Otto with its autonomous (“self-driving”) trucks.
So the fear is – I don’t know how long it’s going to take – that’s going to put over two and a half million people out of work. That’s kind of the flipside of the promise. Every time you do this – you automate something – somebody loses a job.
We Also Discussed
Education – we need to educate children to teach themselves: learn how to learn.
Leadership for global teams – a different style of leadership; requires practice; a whole new style people are going to have to learn.
Transaction-thinking vs Relationship-building and the lifetime value of a customer (LVC).
The increasing necessity for business leaders to become active on social media and deal with the challenge of committing the necessary time (some practical advice here).
What keeps startup founders awake at night?
The velocity required for execution and growth.
Hungry competitors – other startups.
Giant companies with deep pockets – uneven contest.
Larry’s Software Project
VoiceKick is a micropodcasting app for IOS. Their Pearl app combines voice with photos you have on your phone and allows you to make a 60 sec video with narration. Search for these on the App Store using VoiceKick for the search term.
As well as being part of those larger corporations, Larry has founded his own small businesses and tech startups.
He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Rice University with an emphasis on Human Factors and Human-Computer Interaction.
On Twitter, he is @cornett
On his Brilliant Forge website there is Contact page.
Annalie Killian’s passion is combining humans and machines in ways that maximise creativity and grow performance and engagement.
She is currently curating a “cloud of human creativity” for sparks & honey, a cultural insights and innovation agency in New York, experimenting with exponential organizational design and reciprocal networks.
From 2000-2015 she was SVP of Innovation & Communication at AMP – an iconic Australian Financial Services brand. She founded the Amplify Festival of Innovation & Thought Leadership and over 10 years grew it into a globally-recognized engine for systemic and culture change across a business eco-system, and a vehicle for accelerating learning and organizational agility.
Click Here for More About Annalie
What We Talked About
We discussed a range of topics, including:
- Innovation and what it means
- Leadership for the digital age
- Resisters and saboteurs
- Challenges of having responsibility for innovation
- Pay equity for women
- What keeps business owners awake at night
Plus a special invitation to people in or visiting New York
Innovation – Towards a Definition
Having researched the various formal definitions of innovation, Annalie found and liked this:
You’re innovative when other people say you’re innovative.
When people think you’re innovative, that’s when your brand has shifted.
Perceptions can change – example of Apple and Microsoft
Implicit in this part of the conversation was a shared surprise, as in, who would ever have thought we would be talking about Microsoft stealing a march on Apple in the innovation stakes?
(Microsoft) have sort of captured the imagination of the makers and the creators and those are the people at the edge.
Leadership for the Digital Age
It’s about leadership being open and curious and understanding that the context has shifted.
Leadership fundamentally starts with listening and not talking.
Resisters and Saboteurs
The biggest barriers to innovation in large corporations are leaders who are threatened by admitting that they don’t know the answers.
Iconic brands are brands that stay in tune with cultural shifts.
The biggest danger for leadership is not to be plugged into the edge.
We shared a memory of an exemplary moment of servant leadership by Peter Mason AM, former Chairman of AMP, who in a workshop Des led at an early Amplify festival was the first and only volunteer for an online experiment with a personal data aggregator. Annalie spoke very eloquently of his leadership and his support for innovation.
Challenges of Responsibility for Innovation
Don’t do it if you need popularity.
…if you’re going to be good at your job you’re going to get up people’s nose.
Pay Equity for Women
I paid tribute to the fact that Annalie had achieved so much in some very traditionally male dominated industries – mining, financial services and now, as she reminded me in terms of industry traditions, advertising. That led to a discussion about pay equity and a strong call by Annalie for those in a position to change the injustice of any current situation to take action to change that. I recalled that some 55 years ago my late mother had made a speech to a State conference of her political party on this very subject – such a long and unjustifiable time to fix what is wrong!
What Keeps Business Leaders Awake At Night?
Going back to our earlier conversation about leadership for the digital age, a big problem for some leaders is feeling they have to know everything, be in total command of everything, which is no longer feasible.
Annalie’s surefire remedy for leaderly sleeplessness:
Be a learner
And a related paraphrase of a comment by systems scientist Peter Senge:
The only sustainable advantage in the long run is to outlearn the competition.
Annalie is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s First Movers Programme and in 2013 the Hargraves Institute for Innovation recognized her contribution to the Innovation Agenda in Australia.
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Sheila Scarborough is a speaker and trainer specializing in tourism, travel, and social media. She’s written for many blogs and print publications and is also a certified Navy Master Training Specialist, with years of experience as an instructor.
Click Here for More About Sheila
Surprisingly, sometimes depth of knowledge is not as important as the ability to ask the right questions.
Does the experience of military leadership translate easily into the business world?
The greatest struggle can be in having been used to being on a team. As a solo entrepreneur “there’s no one to turn to, until you can hire someone you trust enough”. This is especially challenging for people who’ve been in very senior military positions.
It’s a constant learning process, as a leader. If you ever think you have it all figured out, that means you think you have human beings all figured out. And you’re wrong.
A key issue for leaders is keeping up with change – which means continuous learning
You’ve got to be educating yourself and letting yourself be foolish and letting yourself go and learn things and do things that maybe mean being a little uncomfortable and silly, but that’s how you learn.
Social Media and Tourism
Tourism Currents’ primary client group is the larger tourism organizations, but those organizations ask for help with social media training for tourism partners (hospitality, destinations…), so Tourism Currents have been doing quite a bit of partner training.
Some observations on that:
- People get too concerned about the technology
- Need to think of using social media as a different way to do what you’ve always done (in promoting your destination)
- People become frozen with the options available – have to get people to focus
You don’t have to be on every social channel. You need to be on the ones where your market is.
Key advice they provide for these tourism partners – two essential steps
- Claim your business on Google My Business. Fill out all the information, upload pictures, respond to reviews
- Maintain one really good Facebook page
Do those two things well and you’ll probably survive…
It’s a long game: needs patience.
Social Media in Different Countries and With Different Cultural Groups
A number of things are the same everywhere.
One of the challenges – everywhere – is in getting people to understand that using social media effectively has to go beyond “pumping out the updates”. There has to be interaction.
Some say they hadn’t been told there was an expectation for interaction.
The Impact of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality on Tourism
Are virtual reality/augmented reality a threat to tourism destinations? Sheila does not believe so. She used the example of experiencing a virtual tour of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, in Winnipeg. Far from feeling she had seen enough, the experience made her want to visit the actual museum.
People still want to go and visit the Grand Canyon in person.
Sheila is on the National Professional Development Committee for the AWC (Association for Women in Communications,) co-founded and still writes for the award-winning Perceptive Travel blog, helps run #tourismchat on Twitter, and serves on the Programming Committee for SXSWi, the South by Southwest Interactive tech conference.
You can contact Sheila via the Tourism Currents site, which includes a blog and various resources.
- On Twitter at @TourismCurrents
- On Facebook at the Tourism Currents page
- On LinkedIn, the Tourism Currents company page (more B2B content there)
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In this podcast episode I talk about how Business leaders need to be able to fit expectations and demands about social media into a strategic framework that is a good fit with their overall business strategy and I share a link to my Social Media Strategy Checklist.
Whether you are a beginner in using social media for business, or an active or even advanced user, this checklist is for you. You can use it to guide your own thinking and as a basis for a strategy review session with your team.
The checklist is based on my Simple Social Media Strategy Template, which has been used effectively for a range of organizations, from small business through to a very large organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It’s scaleable!
Get Your Copy of the Checklist
To download your free copy of the checklist, just click here to go to the Home Page on this site, drop your name and email address into the box there, confirm that when requested and you will get an email with the link to download the checklist.
There are nine key areas requiring our attention for a comprehensive strategy:
(Each of these is explained in detail on the podcast.)
Tools to help research your market’s activity in social media and learn more about your customers’ and prospects’ concerns
- Create a survey with Google Forms or SurveyMonkey.
- Create lists on Twitter, either with Twitter itself or a dashboard application such as Hootsuite
- Join relevant LinkedIn groups and listen
- For the USA check out the Pew Internet research site and search on social media
- For Australia, study the annual Sensis report on social media – here is the link to the 2016 report
Planning, Scheduling, Analytics and other Social Media Management Tools
(Note: the pricing structures of these services vary – the figures I quoted on the podcast and the figures here are as good as I can work out – open to correction/improvement)
- Hubspot Marketing Platform – US$200 a month (paid annually) with $600 onboarding, up to enterprise level at $2,400 a month and $5,000 onboarding: there is a 30 day free trial
- Buffer – free then $10 a month
- Hootsuite – free then $9.99 a month up to $99.99 a month per user, then custom pricing – check addons
- SproutSocial – $59 per month per user up to $500 per month for 3 users: 30 day free trial on any plan
- Edgar – $49 a month basic (expected to rise soon to around $79: 14 day free trial
Other services that seem worth checking out
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Becky McCray is a small town business owner; she and her husband Joe own a retail liquor store and a cattle ranch in the United States. She shares insights from this real-world experience at her highly-ranked website, Small Biz Survival, and in her award-winning book, Small Town Rules.
As always when Becky and I have a good old chat, we both find ourselves surprised and delighted at how much the concerns of small communities are not dissimilar, even thousands of miles apart across the wide Pacific.
Click Here for More About Becky
An Emerging Style of Collaborative Leadership
There has been a sea change in how leadership works in small towns.
The time when a group of just a few people could sit in a room and run your town are over. The center of power has shifted.
More collaborative now, more project-focused.
Becky illustrated with the story of a playground in her town that was in serious need of restoration and upgrading of equipment.
The entire project was driven by people getting involved and not by a few people telling everyone what to do.
Coffee and Calendars – Getting Groups to Work Together
The Coffee and Calendars process – simple and effective.
There are still small towns where various groups operate independently of one another – a kind of silo effect.
Becky shows them how to deal with this by encouraging them to just start by getting together, a couple of people at a time. Two people, each from a different group or organization, bring their group’s calendar, meet for coffee and compare calendars. Then they meet others and repeat the process. People gradually find ways to collaborate.
We also talked about the importance of being proactive if you want to engage groups who are not usually involved and may actually feel uncomfortable at events, even where the existing group wants them involved. Ask about their concerns, about ways the existing group might be able to support them.
Engaging Young People
A big problem in trying to get young people involved in volunteer activity is the old committee structures.
If the community is interested in bringing young people in, the first thing is to abolish your existing formal structures and leadership roles. Make it much more informal, much more project-based, with shorter timeframes.
And then listen to them.
Social Media Key to Information Sharing
Social media is extremely important in small communities. It’s the new informal center of information dissemination and actually faster than the old town gossip was at getting the information out.
It’s crucial for people to use the social media tools to get good stories about their community shared.
Do not wait until the most negative, hateful person in town decides to start using online tools, such as a blog, to run your community into the ground, … Start by setting up ways to share positive information about your community.
Knowing that Becky is a fund of information and ideas about how to develop and promote tourism for local communities and knowing how important that is for some communities’ very survival, I asked her for some thoughts on this.
- If people think it’s a nice place to visit, they’ll think it’s a nice place to live
- There is a trend for travellers to seek out sites off the beaten track, with local cultural experiences – think local artists and artisans
- Regional and quirky are in
I shared an experience of visiting a very poor village in Java years ago and the way they had been helped to use the resources they had to create objects for tourists – my clay elephant story.
What keeps local leaders in this new world awake at night? Resistance to new ideas. Through their SaveYour.town initiative, Becky and her colleague Deb Brown have developed the “Idea Friendly” concept to help people deal with that resistance.
Becky’s practical perspective is often featured in a wide range of media, from The New York Times to The High Plains Journal. She makes her home base in Hopeton, Oklahoma, a community of 30 people. Her goal is to deliver practical steps you can put into action right away to shape the future of your town.
Contact details for Becky
On Twitter at @BeckyMcCray
Project with Deb Brown for small towns – SaveYour.town
Lots of good reading in Becky’s articles at SmallBizSurvival.com
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Non Profit – the Economic Dimension
According to a World Bank report, if the global nonprofit sector were a country, it would have the sixteenth largest economy in the world. In 2012 alone, the nonprofit sector contributed $878 billion to the US economy, about 5.4 percent of the nation’s GDP.
With stakes that high, we could be forgiven for thinking there would be some serious research and discussion about leadership for nonprofit organizations. But evidently the research is quite limited at best: most of the research on leadership is in the for-profit and government sectors.
“Non Profit” or “Not for Profit”? There is a message in the use of the term “not for profit” rather than “non profit”, namely that organizations in that sector often make profits and at times quite substantially, but the profits are not distributed to shareholders, owners, or founders. Or should not be! Profits are used to maintain and grow the organization or maybe contributed to the sector in some way. From my reading, in practice the terms are used interchangeably.
- Social and human services
- Health care
- Community development
- Arts and culture
Measures of success
- Forprofit – profit-focused leadership
- Notforprofit – more relationship-based, priority on democratic decision-making and execution
Skills, Qualities, Behaviors
Various qualities/skills/behaviors common to leadership for both sectors.
Some attitudes/skills/behaviors characterizing nonprofit:
- Decision-making more democratic
- Collaboration very important
- Vision making and vision communication crucial
- High demand for skill in complex communications
Ideal skill/competence set: combine private sector business acumen with competence in traditional nonprofit culture (For this insight/formulation, acknowledging the paper Understanding leadership in successful non-profit organizations).
Includes financial competence, mission-definition, strategic thinking/planning, ability to scale, environment awareness, technological capacity, entrepreneurship, social media literacy and competency, attention to governance (transparency and accountability).
Traditional nonprofit culture
Democratic decision-making, respect for organization’s history, founders, respect for volunteers.
vision-making and vision-communicating, special demand on communication skills – team, board, partners, sponsors (government, business, community).
Also – listening, patience, valuing diversity – including age
Ability to work with boards of diverse backgrounds, including business people who are often not taking the role seriously enough and/or are less than rigorous in their service. There for the kudos or to do a favor. (“Give, get or get off”)
The Volunteer Sector
Many but not all nonprofits are volunteer based or rely extensively on volunteers (e.g. animal rescue organizations, sporting clubs, public galleries and museums).
Need to understand volunteers – why they join, why they stay, how to engage, how to reward, how to respect and engage skillsets and enthusiasm, what annoys or disappoints, how to recruit more.
Creative Industry Sector
Theatre directors, actors, dancers, musicians pride themselves on not being money-driven. Leader has to champion and represent their passion and at the same time balance the books.
Support, communication, attentive listening, and to others effective lobbying and acknowledgement.
Story of Arts Council of Great Britain’s man’s comment about what makes a good arts administrator – have “bowels of compassion for the artist” and be a good administrator. You need to listen to get the full dimensions of this. Reference is biblical – ? 1 John 17 in the King James Version.
A Quote That Sums it Up
“A strong nonprofit leader drives a sense of mission down through the organization, upward into the board and outward in to the community. He or she is willing to do whatever it takes to enable the organization to follow their mission effectively.”
Paul Light. 2002. Grasping for the Ring: Defining Strong Nonprofit Leadership
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Krishna Kumar is a pioneer in the field of Leadership & Executive Coaching in Asia. A Master Coach and Trainer, he has coached Executives, Entrepreneurs and CEOs and works closely with some of the most renowned organisations in India and abroad. In a career spanning 30 years, Krishna Kumar has donned several hats as a a corporate executive, entrepreneur, independent director, management consultant, B-school faculty and Tennis coach.
He is the founder-director of (ISEC) Intrad School of Executive Coaching, which runs programs for certifying individuals as coaches.
Click Here for More About Krishna
Awareness, Tennis and Leadership
The opening (and, as it turned out, recurring) topic for our conversation was “Being Aware – the Secret to Powerful Leadership”.
Krishna quoted the legendary tennis champion Billie-Jean King (39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 singles, 16 women’s double and 11 mixed doubles) as saying that self awareness is the secret of being a champion.
Connection between tennis and the corporate world. The sports field is like a laboratory, with lessons that can be learnt on the tennis court and transported into the corporate world.
He has long been inspired by the insights and work of Timothy Gallwey, especially in his modern classic The Inner Game of Work.
Many leaders come to their position without experience of serious failure. Even the greatest sports champions experience failure: they learn how to cope with wins and losses, as long as they have more wins than losses. In the corporate world many work not-to-fail rather than to succeed.
Importance of having awareness of the environment in which the business operates.
Scaling Up and Major Change
Challenges for young developers who become CEOs of fast-growing startups. Investors want rapid growth. Krishna’s advice – you as leader are always going to be the visionary and you need to be ok about handing over management to others.
CEO challenge with major change is to create and share a strong story of a bright future – a strategic story of success.
Four areas of awareness for a CEO initiating a change process
- self awareness
- awareness of others (company wide)
- systems (and broader environment) awareness
- strategy (left and right brain in sync)
We talked also about:
- warning signs that a leader needs to do something about self-awareness
- what keeps business leaders awake at night
Active in the coaching community, Krishna is the President of the International Association of Coaching (IAC) and a Member on the IAC’s global Board of Governors. A Board Certified Coach (BCC) by the Center For Credentialing and Education (CCE), USA, he is also a Founding Fellow of the Institute of Coaching Professional Association (ICPA), a Harvard Medical School affiliate.
Krishna is a USPTR certified tennis coaching professional and also the recipient of the USPTR India Coach of the Year award in 2011 and the USPTR President’s 2002 award for contribution to the field of tennis coaching. His passion for the game of tennis led to the establishment of Kinesis Sports, which is rated as India’s premier tennis academy. Kinesis, India’s first and only ISO 9001 – 2008 certifed tennis training institution is supported by a top-notch team of coaches who train around 300+ students every year.
Krishna Kumar is a visiting faculty at the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and his articles are regularly published in leading business magazines.
ISEC India website – ISEC India
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Sharon Hunneybell is the Community Manager for Opmantek, a leading provider of Open Source Network Management and IT Audit software, and has been an active contributor to the Gold Coast startup community for several years.
She has a passion for technology, innovation and collaboration and a keen interest in promoting and increasing youth participation in startups and technology.
Community Manager at Opmantek
In Sharon’s 18 months as Community Leader at Opmantek, the user base has doubled to 100,000 organisations, which could include hundreds of individuals in organisations, with the user base in terms of people being more like 1 million. In around 130 countries, of which some 30% are in the USA. Strong in Latin America.
Qualities of a community leader
- Communication skills
- Genuine desire to build relationships with customers
- Good at customer service
- Good level of marketing/PR skills
Co-Founder, Startup Apprentice
Startup Apprentice delivers award winning, action based entrepreneurial education programs that teach the ‘Silicon Valley’ lean approach to starting a business to high-school students.
Our experience based learning helps bridge the gap between book-smarts and street-smarts, with a fully immersive, hands-on, experienced based program where students actually launch a new business or social enterprise.
Startup Apprentice grew out of Gold Coast startup weekends, towards the end of 2013. Started with a pilot at Varsity College, Gold Coast, in June 2014. Have now involved some 600 high school students.
The leadership style they promote in the program is very collaborative. The students embrace that really well: accountability plus working better and faster together.
Leadership and Transition from Innovator to CEO
Two different roles. Leader of a startup needs very different skillset from someone leading an established business. Great metaphor of “safari leader” vs bus driver or train driver. Founder-developers need to decide early on whether they really want to become “bus drivers”.
A New Style of Leadership Needed for the Digital Age?
Basic principles of good business will always be the same – still need common sense and good ethics. Business now more social.
Sharon is well known, well liked and highly respected in the local tech and startup community as the co-founder of Startup Apprentice.
At the 2014 Westpac Bank’s Community Leaders Awards, Sharon was one of three finalists in the Start-up Leader category. She was also named by the Queensland Government as an ‘Innovation Champion’ under the Innovation and Science Champions program.
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Dr Steve Barlow is a change fitness and change readiness specialist, trainer and change management consultant and has a fascinating career history.
Steve began his career as a teacher of French and English and later ran a high school English department and managed the senior grades. He has managed charter boats on Sydney Harbour, which included running a cruising restaurant and bar and managing cruises. He later served as publicity officer for public schools in the state of New South Wales, Australia.
Maximum Security and Insights About Change
Working with inmates in maximum security in New South Wales correctional facilities gave Steve insights about change that were to feed into his PhD work and later career and business.
Many prison inmates came to programs with no great deal of hope. Some proved able to make good use of change. What made the difference was not the programs themselves so much as what was going onside the individual prisoners’ heads.
Change Fitness and Change Readiness
If a change is really difficult it can push us to the limits of our change fitness – just as with physical fitness.
Just because someone has change fitness doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready for change.
Applying This to the Organization
Organizations capable of dealing with change have these four characteristics:
- the individual members are change fit
- the individual members are change ready
- the organizational culture supports the change
- leadership/management change readiness
Dr Achilles Arminakis identified five factors for what people need to agree and believe to get on board with organizational change. People need to:
- agree there’s a problem that needs solving
- believe that what’s being proposed is the right solution and is going to work
- believe they can do it
- believe that the leaders are committed
- see some value in it for themselves, in person or for the team
Attitudes of Leaders
We talked about one area which calls on capabilities for change – mergers and acquisitions.
A tendency of managers to focus on areas they can control – for example legal, contractual, financial issues. Other areas, about people, are more challenging and management is often unaware and/or don’t want to know about these aspects. It’s difficult to have that conversation with leadership.
Steve’s company, The Change Gym, works with coaches so they can help leaders in industry. They have programs and tools specifically focused on change readiness and change fitness. Most of their work is done online, with people all around the globe,
The change fit person has the capacity to be their own primary agent of change in their own life.
It’s a complex world and leaders live with this – leaders need to be more like explorers than experts.
Steve has run anger management and conflict resolution groups for maximum security inmates in the New South Wales correctional system and insights he gained there were to inform his PhD research and later career.
He has authored or co-authored four books on the importance of change readiness for organizational change, one of which is now a text for three Masters degree programs at the University of Tasmania.
Steve’s company, The Change Gym, works in the field of organization change and specializes in the psychology of change.
You can find out more about The Change Gym and its services at the website at this link.
Steve’s LinkedIn profile. Email address is provided at the end of the podcast.