Change Whisperer – Gail Severini's Blog


Building your leadership legacy—the organization that thrives for generations. Interview with Daryl Conner, Chairman, Conner Partners on the “nimble organization.” Post 3 of 3

“If I have done any deed worthy of remembrance, that deed will be my monument. If not, no monument can preserve my memory.”—Agesilaus II

Legacy - fingerprint with citation.jpgLeaders at the very top of organizations—and by this I mean board members, CEOs, EVPs, and SVPs—have a very rare opportunity. They shape the destinies of their organizations and those of the people working for them, not to mention people in the communities they serve and the economies in which they operate.

Through their corporate strategies, they leave their fingerprints on the future of their organizations in the short term (which is always under scrutiny by Wall Street), but also in the long term.

Can leaders build organizations that outperform the market over 18 years or longer? Where should they start? continue reading here



What is leadership’s responsibility for driving and sustaining a nimble organization? Interview with Daryl Conner, Chairman, Conner Partners. Post 2 of 3

Daryl Conner’s extensive thought leadership on creating nimble organizations has the potential to breathe new life into the dinosaurs of the Fortune 1000 and S&P 500.

As a preface, let’s just level-set. Why should leaders and boards care about an organization’s ability to change? Is it a real issue?

Tenure on S&P500The statistics are not kind.

The Innosight study, “Creative Destruction Whips through Corporate America,” indicates that:

“the 61-year tenure for the average firm in 1958 narrowed to 25 years in 1980—and to 18 years now.” (2012) continue reading here



The strategic imperative of the “nimble organization” and why it seems to be a mirage. Interview with Daryl Conner, Chairman, Conner Partners. Post 1 of 3

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daryl photo After the “Evolution of Change Management” series with Jennifer Frahm (where we landed with “Will ‘Change Management’ become extinct?”), and with Zappos announcing its move to holacracy, it just seemed like it was time to talk to Daryl Conner about the nimble organization.

In this post, I interview Daryl about what “nimble” means, why it is a strategic imperative, and why it seems to be so difficult for organizations to get traction with it. continue reading here



What is the Board’s Role in Strategy and Strategy Execution? Post 3 of 3

ICD growing moneyThis post concludes my notes and my observations and comments (indicated by italics) from the panel discussion, “Growth Strategy—the Board’s Role,” run by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).

The panel was stellar, with names well known to board and strategy watchers: Thomas O’Neill, Krystyna Hoeg, Stephen Bear, and Ken Smith (bios in Post 1). Overall, I found it a great overview of the most obvious answers to the seven questions, peppered with relevant examples and a few deeply insightful remarks.

The bottom line for me? The board members totally “get” the need to be engaged in strategy formulation; however, there was not much conversation about execution. Granted, it was not specifically called out in the abstract but I had hoped it would get more mention. The jury is out for me on what to make of the fact that it didn’t. continue reading here



What is the Board’s Role in Strategy and Strategy Execution? Post 2 of 3

Institute of Corporate DirectorsThis post is a continuation of notes from a fantastic panel discussion, “Growth Strategy—the Board’s Role,” run by the Institute of Corporate Directors.

On stage, board members represented major public- and private-sector organizations such as BCE, Bell Canada, Scotiabank, Loblaw, Shoppers Drug Mart, St. Michael’s Hospital, Sun Life Financial, Canadian Pacific Railway, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, and Imperial Oil. Bios are provided in Post 1. My own comments are indicated in italics. continue reading here



What is the Board’s Role in Strategy and Strategy Execution? Post 1 of 3

Institute of Corporate DirectorsSOLD OUT! I signed up for this panel presentation, “Growth Strategy—the Board’s Role,” as soon as the fall season schedule from the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) came out.

Good thing I did—many, it seems, are interested in “practical tips to help boards apply their time and expertise effectively on strategy issues.” continue reading here



What are the real costs of “muscling through” change? The evolution of Change Management. Post 1 of 3

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”—Lao Tzu

crowbar There is a back-room mindset in times of change: “Change the people or change the people.”  It means either convince (or coerce) the existing staff to adapt to the new way of working or fire them and hire someone else.  This phrase has always irked me.

Looking for some objectivity and additional insight for this series, I partnered up with senior change practitioner, Jennifer Frahm. You may know Jennifer from her terrific blog “Conversations of Change.”

We applied ourselves to articulating why this mindset is a fallacy, to considering what leaders are doing instead, and then finally to whether advancements will actually make Change Management, as we know it, extinct.  continue reading here



Is Strategy Execution the “new black”?

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” —Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Strategy ExecutionAs the economy picks up again and as more growth and innovation strategies begin taking root again, the term “Strategy Execution” seems to be picking up steam, and formality.

What is this all about? Is this an approach whose time has come? Are organizations actually approaching execution in a systematic way? Or are consultants just promoting the next fad? continue reading here



Time to kill the phantom 70% failure rate quoted on transformational strategy?

Time to kill the 70 failure rate

The “70% failure rate” has been exploited enough already. It’s time to stop beating this dead horse and give it a decent burial.

I get why it resonates with most of us. Strategy execution is hard. Some falls short of objectives and some fails outright. The more transformational the change the more likely that it will fail in some way.

We all abhor failure. Any failure feels like too much. It feels like 70%. continue reading here



Strategy and Strategy Execution Conferences 2013

Strategy conferencesStrategy and strategy execution are two sides of the same coin―they are different and related. Leaders need to excel at both to succeed.

Where does one go to explore this intersection, learn more about integration, and probe more deeply into what “strategy execution” is all about? This post lists conferences in the US and Canada in 2013 that may be of interest.

Will you attend? Do let me know…perhaps we will be there and can meet in person, or maybe you can let the rest of us know what you thought of it. continue reading here




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