When organizations need to change but believe they don’t have the expertise to do so successfully, they have three choices:
Bring in consultants
Take a closer look at their own top performers
When organizations hire experts, they must take into account that new employees generally require a long time to learn enough about their new environment to be effective at changing it. Consultants, too, take time to learn the culture and are often resented and mistrusted by employees. They can be quite expensive, too.
In sharp contrast, a company’s own top performers are immediately available, inexpensive, culturally aligned, and incredibly knowledgeable. They are admired by everyone and know how to get things done. They are already your go-to people when change is needed.
People are much more likely to embrace an idea, goal, or change if the organization’s top performers clarify its purpose and meaning, and then define the actions required to achieve it. This helps one discover the goldmine in your organization and the reasons why they maintain such success.
This is because the top performers:
Are admired by everyone. They are admired for their past successes and for their abilities to assess and deal with pressing issues. They have so much experience and have been succeeding for so long that they have developed a calm, confident manner that reassures others.
Reflect the best of the culture. They embody the organization’s values more completely and consistently than most others. This cultural alignment is often more admired and valuable than their expertise.
Enjoy a reputation for reliability. Because the organization has experienced their consistent success, organizations count on them to be there and perform. This creates tremendous stability for the organization.
When we did the underlying research for our book, “The Star Factor,” we were often surprised at how little organizations were leveraging their amazing internal resources. We have found that every organization—and even every role within an organization—has star performers who really know how to create great success. The stars are always heavily loaded, but are only rarely used to create broader impact. Organizations have a great opportunity to improve their performance by better utilizing their stars.
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William Seidman is the CEO of Cerebyte, Inc., a company focusing on creating high performing organizational cultures. He has worked as a manager or consultant with many large and small organizations including Hewlett-Packard, Jack in the Box, Intel, Tektronix, CVS Pharmacies, and Sears. As a recognized thought leader and expert on leadership in high-performing organizations, he contributes an in-depth understanding of the processes required to discover and use expert wisdom to create extraordinary organizational performance.
Dr. Seidman earned his doctorate at Stanford University. He is co-founder and chief executive officer of Cerebyte, Inc., co-author of Strategy to Action in Ten Days and co-author (with Rick Grbavac) of The Star Factor, published by AMACOM in the Fall of 2013. The Star Factor presents Affirmative Leadership, a methodology for discovering what your top performers do differently - and inspiring a new level of greatness in all.
Dr. Seidman lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon with his wife. He enjoys traveling, golf and spending time with his three kids.