Each of these companies has taken a different
path to achieve project success and to develop a culture of change.
All conceived an overall program with a foundation of challenging
the status quo and an objective to continue the innovative process
without an endpoint. We will use the analogy of war to describe
three key aspects of these successful programs as follows:
• Levers companies use to inspire and motivate change
• Energy and creative ideas that keep change going
• Balancing creation, reinforcement and holding of fronts
Most of the first companies to engage in this war
were threatened with extinction if they did not act quickly to
respond to competition who had changed the rules of the game. The
battle cry was simply that if any in the organization were to
survive then all must take the risk of dramatic change. In the
absence of an immediate threat, it is important to identify a future
risk or challenge that will offset the human response to resist
dramatic change. The most lasting motivational challenge for
American companies seems to be a focus on beating the competition.
Experience demonstrates the call to arms is
clearest and most effective if sounded by the Commander-In-Chief,
the CEO. There are many cases, however, of a unit or function leader
leading successful, radical change. More important than who calls or
why is the mission the troops are called to carry out. A clear
overall mission based on radical improvement, maintaining a dominant
position or creating a competitive advantage stirs the creative
instincts of the team. The customer value mission has the virtues of
linking actions directly to the marketplace; it can translate
through the "chain of customers" to each member and each
level of the organization; and it sets a flexible objective,
independent of specific directions from the leader.
Another powerful tool to prepare the troops for
battle is to bridge to the successful changes in the history of the
company. This is the time to get real value from the company
chronicles and history books. Many times these stories can be
related to the troops at a kick-off event orchestrated to
demonstrate the unity of purpose of company leaders. Since most of
these teams and efforts are cross-functional, following process
flows, the linking of arms of the leaders of those functional units
demonstrates the synergy the teams must bring to bear to achieve
The last aspect of the battle cry is the most
important; the commitment of resources. The armies that will win the
battle will be full-time participants who have the potential to be
the future leaders of the new order they will create. Each function
provide the best, most indispensable people and
by doing so demonstrate that the new order will become the future
and there will be no turning back.
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