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Why Transformations to Total Quality Do Not Persist?

Managers are not accountable to their people for the quality of their leadership/management

Michael Beer Harvard Business School & Center for Organizational Fitness

The Fallacy of Programmatic Change

A seed can only grow in fertile soil

Organizations are socio-technical systems

Most change efforts focus on the technical and ignore the social system attitudes, skills and behavior of management at all levels

One size does not fit all

Business challenges differ across units as does readiness

Training a large number of managers provides knowledge but does not change the quality of management within sub-units Top down programs go around sub-unit management teams
Create dependency on consultants and corporate staff Prevent thinking, ownership, passion and leadership to to be developed at the unit level By not demanding leadership of unit managers we are prevented from assessing sub-unit quality of management

Programs Often Arise From A Tacit Collusion Among Senior Executives, Staff Groups, and Consultants
Short term Benefits Long Term Costs

For executives: The appearance of quick, painless, measurable results

Lost time, energy & dollars Increased cynicism Change inoculation

For Internal Staff: Increased responsibility & visibility

For Consultants: A steady income stream

The Silent Killers

Undiscussible Barriers to Strategy Implementation

Unclear strategy and conflicting priorities Leadership style - tops down or laissez faire An Ineffective top team Poor coordination Closed vertical communication/low trust Inadequate leadership/management skills and development in organization

The Dynamics of Ineffective (Low Quality) Management

Ineffective Top Team Top Down or Laissez-faire Senior Management Style

Quality of Direction
Unclear Strategy, Values & Priorities

Quality of

Poor Vertical Communication


Poor Coordination Across Functions & Businesses

Quality of Implementation

Inadequate Down the Line Leadership Skills & Development

Transformation Depends on a a Top Management that Demands and Supports Change in the Quality of Management in each Sub-Unit
Top Management Orchestrates Diffusion Applies change to itself


Heads of Business Units

Unit top teams Must lead change In their unit

Adapted from the Beer et al. The Critical Path to Corporate Renewal

Top Managements Role

Articulate need for change and renewal
What are competitive realities? Develop corporate strategy, values and policies that support the new culture Create a phased plan for change

Encourage/demand that unit managers lead a change process

Create a risk free environment Focus on a small set of leading edge sub-units whose leaders develop a new way to work and a new culture/DNA that fits their strategy Spread through conferences, visits and transfer of leaders with the right DNA An ever larger circle of managers who can lead other organizations to greater effectiveness is developed

Lead Change in Corporate Unit Corporate renewal is a long march over time - not a quick fix
Do corporate and unit leaders fit the values and skills required for high quality management/leadership Replace those that dont meet the test Allow for units managers to redefine the meaning of quality and how to implement it

Quality of Management In Each Unit is the Key

A quality culture occurs when leaders have the will and skill to engage their organization in an inquiry process about how well their organization and leadership fits their espoused strategy and values.

An Honest Conversation is Needed!

1. Begin with a clear and compelling articulation of business & organizational directionEffective change integrates business and organizational goals Insist on ownership & active leadership by an aligned senior management team Change leadership cannot be delegatedIt must occur at all levels starting at the top Develop a broad partnership for learning and change across the organization based on valid data and a diagnosis that emerges from an open fact-based dialogue Get the right people talking about the right things in the right way Holistically address the business, technical, organizational, cultural and leadership issues Organizations are highly integrated and mutually reinforcing human systems Build new competencies & stay on track through disciplined & systemic organizational action, learning and reflection process.. There is no cookbook Use consultants as catalysts and to enhance capabilitiesnot as crutchesEmployees know about most of the problems and are the best source for ideas about how to solve them Create these same conditions in every organizational unit and sub-unit. Change and implementation is a play within a play