So You Want to be a Transformational Leader, Eh? Part II

Abundance Accountability Personal leadership Respect


Problem: Lots of people are so called transformation experts, yet have never intentionally led a real transformation. The academic models they espouse are often well founded and usually based on solid research. However, to actually lead in a transformative way, I believe you have to have felt and experienced the messiness of a major shift. In the previous blog, I shared three basic streams in framing up any big or more narrow transformation, moving from a current state to a more desired state. I also promised to outline four levers that integrate within the three work streams. Here they are:

  1. Lever the Learning and Unlearning Platform:

Have you seen this popular video of someone trying to ride a bike differently?

It’s hard. So when we want people to act differently, we obviously can’t just announce it. And this is NOT simply the organization’s learning group’s responsibility. It is both formal and informal. If you hear “what’s the training for this?” and stop there, you’re likely hooped.

  1. Lever the Recognition and Reward System:

You want to start highlighting and sharing stories about champions ASAP. The message is, “this is an example of what we want in the transformative state!” Celebrate people who have applied the new learning successfully. Acknowledge the process and results. Make it fun. And positively respond to screw ups too. Make it safe to try, fail and try again.

  1. Lever the Communication System:

Regardless of the size of the transformation or group, you have a process of telling people what’s going on. Hijack that communication process relative to the transformation. Remember the medium is the message. People want to know how the transformation is working well AND struggling. Be open and transparent. And do NOT rely on email. It has to be omnichannel. Everyone, all the time, everywhere. Personal emotional connections and great storytelling is vital.

  1. Lever the People Engagement System:

Involve ALL people impacted in some personal way. Think of any transformative process as a culture change. If it is technical, it must be more than IT that leads it. If it is customer obsession oriented, it must be more than sales or marketing. In the end, all people want to say and feel they actively and willingly participated.

If this was helpful, here’s what you can do:

  1. Be fearless and get messy. It is never a nice, neat, straight line. Be prepared to be tenacious and relentless. It takes grit.
  2. Apply the three streams, integrating the four levers, and you will bake your own unique, transformative cake!! Relish the process and be brave!

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now!!


One Millennial View: Now that the framework has been laid out, it would be interesting to hear how implementing the three elements and four levers into action goes for anyone running a transformation in their organization. 

– Garrett

Blog 973

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis