KingChapman Blog

Fingerprints of Organizational Transformation

Posted by Bob Chapman on May 29, 2018 8:00:00 AM

I frequently hear the question, “How do I know that we are doing the right things to execute our growth strategies and transform our organization?” What a great question! To have the insight to craft such a question, one has to be aware that executing strategies and transforming organizations requires something “out of the ordinary”. Success in creating value through growth strategies and transformation requires an exceptional approach. Simply doing more of the same is unlikely to be successful, so something out of the ordinary is required. This level of change requires strong leadership. It will not happen simply through good management. Strong leadership must be actively involved.

This brings us to the question of “how do I know we are doing the right things?”

The answers center around:

* “Are you being a leader?”

* “Can your leadership fingerprints be seen on the execution actions and change efforts?”

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Topics: Organizational Culture, Leadership Accountability

How the Tangram Became Our Metaphor for Transformation

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Mar 20, 2018 5:44:41 PM

We were blown away – so simple and yet so . . . perfect!

When we began working with Neos Marketing, we posed a simple request – is there a way to demonstrate “transformation”, either visually or physically? Neos took up the challenge. And the result was brilliant!

First – a brief definition for transformation (from Webster’s Dictionary):

transform, v.

Etymology: < Latin transformāre, < trans- prefix + formāre to form, < forma form. Compare French transformer (14th cent. in Godefroy Compl.), also Old French tresformer

1. a. trans. To change the form of; to change into another shape or form; to metamorphose. 

b.transf. To change in character or condition; to alter in function or nature.

2. intr. To undergo a change of form or nature; to change.

1. The action of transforming or fact of being transformed.

a. The action of changing in form, shape, or appearance; metamorphosis.

b. A changed form; a person or thing transformed.

2. transf. A complete change in character, condition, etc.

 So how we can show people a visual representation of that? By using a metaphor.

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Topics: Organizational Culture, Leadership Accountability

Change Leadership: Why is Change So Hard, Even When You Want to?

Posted by Larry Hoelscher on Mar 28, 2017 7:02:00 AM


Quite a few years ago, I was hitting golf balls with my 5-iron, when Kelly, my golf instructor, asked “Larry, what do you want to get out of your lesson today?” I told him of my frustration of hitting a short 150 yard slice (ugly) and I want to hit a 175 yard shot with a slight draw (beautiful!). 
After hitting a few balls, Kelly showed me a “strong grip” – which is not about how firm to hold the club, but rather the location of the hands on the club.

I tried hitting the ball using this new grip, and I swear, I could hardly get the club face on the ball. After a number of tries, I turned and looked at Kelly and said in frustration, “Kelly, I can’t hit the ball this way. It just feels too strange. Let me go back to my old grip and show me something else!”

I will never forget the look on Kelly’s face. He said, “But Larry, it is SUPPOSED TO FEEL STRANGE! If it doesn’t feel strange, then there is no change, and if you don’t change, you will never hit a 5-iron 175 yards with a slight draw!”

What a lesson! Yes, I can still hit that shot, but that’s really not the point. The biggest lesson for me was, how change can be so difficult, even when I wanted to result of the change! Here I was, a relatively inexperienced golfer, wanting to become a much better golfer, and yet, making the change was so challenging.

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Topics: Organizational Culture, Leadership Accountability

Leadership Team Development When 'Not a Strategic Bone in the Body'

Posted by Bob Chapman on Mar 21, 2017 7:07:00 AM

This colorful phrase came from a CEO. I don’t know if he invented it or borrowed it from someone else. I worked with this new CEO to create new strategies for several of the large businesses in his portfolio. This CEO had been promoted up from one of the business units and had little experience with the other larger business units. These businesses were in the down part of the cycle, which created a challenging period for his company. Our challenge was to learn as much as we could, as quickly as possible to support the business unit executives in dramatically improving their businesses. We spent endless hours in strategic review sessions as well as a lot of time on the airplane moving between locations. Often at the end of a grueling day of leadership team development and business review, we would pile onto the plane to reflect on the day. It was at this time the assessment “not a strategic bone in the body” could be used when describing the management team.

It’s wasn't that these executives were not intelligent - they were. Nor was it that they didn't know their businesses - they did. Unfortunately though, all they knew was the operational side of the business. For quite some time there had been a lack of organizational accountability for strategic thinking. Consequently, these executives did not recognize that operations and strategy were different. They were “out of balance”, in that they were strong on operations and weak on strategy. The lack of balance between operations and strategy was an issue for the previous CEO, which was part of the reason my client was hired to replace him. This body was in definite need of leadership team development, particularly in the area of strategic thinking.

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Topics: Organizational Culture, Strategic Execution

10 'Easy Pieces' for Strategic Execution Initiatives

Posted by Bob Chapman on Feb 23, 2017 8:10:00 AM

I was looking on line for design ideas for my home and came across an interesting site called Gardenista. They call themselves a 'Sourcebook for Cultivated Living'. On their site, they have some great resources from 'Garden Design 101' to finding a firm that can help you execute your dream. In addition, they have a great section called '10 Easy Pieces', which catalogs the best product choices for your garden and outdoor spaces from perrenial plants to patio furniture. If you're a gardener, it is worth a visit.

While looking at the site, I wondered what would be the 'Ten Easy Pieces' equivalent strategic execution initiatives? It may seem like a stretch to go from gardening to strategy, but the leap is shorter than you may think. Both involve thought, planning, expertise, significant time and people investments, and the right conditions.

Just as the garden site did not capture the entire story, this post will not either. It might, however, be a catalyst for some interesting ideas.

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Topics: Organizational Culture

Lack of Leadership Commitment to Culture Stunts Growth

Posted by Bob Chapman on Jan 31, 2017 7:01:00 AM

If you are a North American, you may be unfamiliar with the term parapet. The expression ‘put your head over the parapet’ is used to describe being brave enough to state an opinion that might upset someone. I learned a different version of this expression while conducting interviews about changing the organizational culture in a UK-based multinational company. The phase was: ‘Do not raise your head above the parapet’.

This reference to a parapet - a low protective wall at the edge of a balcony, roof, or bridge - is relevant because it alludes to how a company's culture can either provide support and encouragement for growth, or hold it back. For this company, the perception of the employees was that the leadership commitment to culture was holding them back.

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Topics: Organizational Culture