Renewal happens when individuals, inspired by a life experience or an impactful learning journey, acquire new lenses through which to see the world.
70 percent of corporate change initiatives fail. This statistic was established nearly two decades ago
, but the failure rate has not improved
The most important reason for this failure rate is that changing the way a company does what it has been doing for a long time, requires a change in culture and its hard to change culture. Even in technical areas like digital transformation, 63% of CMOs, CEOs and CIOs in the Altimeter Group's recent Digital Transformation Survey
said cultural change was extremely important to the success of their digital transformation strategies.
Peter Drucker says not only is it hard to change culture but company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try instead to work with what you've got
. We disagree with Drucker. Country cultures do change, slowly; and organizational leaders have tools of change that national leaders do not. The reason that it is so hard to change a company's culture and therefore hard to succeed with any significant change initiative is because of a rather simple secret about culture seems to elude most change managers. I will share it with you.
The secret is that culture is an outcome -- not an input -- of change. You can change a culture either by replacing old leaders with new ones or by renewing the existing leaders. If leaders change (renew) the way they act and behave, a different culture is the result. Leadership behavior is the lever; culture is the outcome.
Now you might think that by leadership renewal I mean sending your leadership team to a spa, a team-building exercise or on a long vacation. This is not what I am suggesting at all. Renewal takes work and commitment; it certainly is no vacation. Renewal happens when individuals, inspired by a life experience or an impactful learning journey, acquire new lenses through which to see the world. They develop new worldviews that shape the way they respond to situations differently from the way they used to before.
On the journey to renewal, leaders confront questions they never previously have, and they answer them with clarity. Here are seven questions that leaders who take our Lapin International renewal journeys grapple with and resolve:
- What is the purpose of my life? What was I put here to do that no one else can do quite as well as I can?
- How does my work serve as a springboard for the activation of my purpose?
- What are the non-negotiable principles (value-drivers) that have governed the hard my choices of my life and how do they differ from the ways other leaders make choices?
- How can I remain true to my value-drivers even when I am being triggered into defensive behavior by the words or actions of others?
- How can I inspire others to stretch themselves beyond the limits they believe restrict them, without using fear and intimidation?
- How can I quickly build trust with people of different cultures, backgrounds and generations?
- How can I help individuals to powerfully question their own and others' assumptions so as to innovate new ways to approach things?
When leaders resolve these questions they lead in a different way. Instead of directing and managing their teams, they inspire and empower them. They unlock new energy and innovation and facilitate a new culture of selflessness and accountability. Investment in carefully crafted Leadership Renewal results in unimagined cultural renewal and change. In this rare instance, Peter Drucker was wrong. Organizational culture can be changed if leadership behavior is overhauled and renewed.