I’m reading The Accidental Leader by Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley. They begin each chapter with a list of suggestions.
I found the one on “bringing an idea to completion” particularly interesting given my background in marketing and the evolution that is taking place with my employer.
Here are the six stages and how they apply to my current position:
- Catalyzing. Change starts with a single individual and then fans out, acquiring its own life in the organization. In my own firm, Bord na Mona (www.bnm.ie), a forward thinking CEO joined the firm and saw the unsustainability of the existing business model and created a much more sustainable direction for the company.
- Encoding. Communicating the necessity of the change. The CEO of my firm clearly showed the lack of sustainability of the 75 year-old company’s business model and presented a new, sustainable direction for the company. My understanding was this was very difficult for the board to accept given the long-term history and success of the firm; however, the wisdom of the CEO was ultimately recognized.
- Imagining. When the leader’s words form a picture in people’s minds. The first sign of success is when a critical mass of people share the vision and subscribe to it. In the case of Bord na Mona, this was with direction of a visionary CMO and the involvement of an excellent graphic design firm who understood the history of the company and the possibility of the rebranded company.
- Uniting. Other people fall in line behind the idea, giving it momentum. Leaders obtain commitment and support both formally and informally. Dissenting views are met halfway, heard, respected and responded to. In the case of my firm, this was a three-year process. However, the board had to agree to the change before it could take place.
- Fitting. All of the leader’s systems for measurement, hiring, training, communications, development, rewards and operations advance the idea rather than weighing it down. At the same time Bord na Mona is going through its rebranding, all SBUs are going through a thorough and rigorous strategic planning process to ensure that everyone is “on the same page” and all members of the firm are in complete alignment.
- Gelling. Not hardening! Leadership drives the change down through the team, challenging everyone to make it part of their thinking. The rebranding and the strategic planning process has definitely done this for our team. I can’t speak for others in the organization but it’s been a very thorough and impressive process.
I look forward to rolling out our new brand in the U.S. on June 18 and continuing to execute the strategic plan during the current fiscal year and beyond.
What other ways do you have for bringing an idea to fruition?