Most leading organizations invest in growing some of their people, via supports outside the flow of the normal workday—e.g., executive coaching, high-potential programs, mentoring, and leadership development. A new breed of company, however, is committed to development for all, creating immersive cultures for continuous individual growth as the necessary means of achieving superior business results.
High-performing companies recognize that their success hinges on the capabilities of their people. For some firms, that means an energetic, sometimes even desperate, focus on “getting the right people on the bus” or “winning the war for talent”. From this viewpoint, the search for talent is a zero-sum game. The class of people with the requisite abilities to drive and sustain growth is small, and one firm’s talent gain is another’s loss.
Meg Wheatley & Deborah Frieze
In spite of current ads and slogans, the world doesn’t change one person at a time. It changes as networks of relationships form among people who discover they share a common cause and vision of what’s possible. This is good news for those of us intent on changing the world and creating a positive future. Rather than worry about critical mass, our work is to foster critical connections. We don’t need to convince large numbers of people to change; instead, we need to connect with kindred spirits. Through these relationships, we will develop the new knowledge, practices, courage, and commitment that lead to broad-based change.
Marcia Daszko & Shelila Sheinberg, Ph.D.
Transformation has become a popular, overused and misunderstood word in organizations in the twenty-first century. Hundreds of organizations hear the mandate for transformation. The mandate comes from Congress, the Pentagon, government agencies, the senior military, corporate executives or school Superintendents. Leaders and their organizations are compelled to respond to the mandate. They attempt to “talk the language” and take action in pursuit of transformation. Often the response, however, is a reaction, actions and mere incremental changes that are neither sustainable nor systematic. Unfortunately, few individuals understand transformation or why there is an imperative for transformation, not merely incremental or transitional change. Often, people confuse transformation with any kind of change, technology breakthrough, innovation, process improvement or transition. However, few changes are truly transformational.
Attempting to bring about organizational change through the internal transformation of individuals is di!cult, yet it may be the most effective way.
The belief that people do their best according to their mental models (compassion), the acceptance that our models are only partial maps of an infinite territory (humility), and the radical respect for another being (love) are fundamental elements of a learning organization. But these virtues cannot be “rolled out” from the top; they must come from the heart of individuals. Once these qualities are developed within an individual, he or she is then able to create an atmosphere conducive to learning that can extend from the individual to the team, from that team to other teams, and eventually to the whole organization. This is the strategy we adopted in the Leading Learning Communities (LLC) program as a way to bring about sustainable organizational change.