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THE 6 Cs TO SUCCESSFUL CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Lessons From The American Revolution
In a recent survey of the most vital skill a...
Business Change Management comes under other labels – Reengineering,
Cultural Transformation, Restructuring, Reinvention, ...
1. Crisis – All revolutions start with a Crisis.

By this we do not refer to the garden-variety type of crisis, the one th...
The aspiring Change Leader must not only have the ability to shape and articulate
a long-term vision but also must have th...
passion and zeal to pursue and, if necessary, to die for what they believe is a just
and honest cause.

The American Revol...
influence on the execution and outcome of his change initiative. To be sure,
gaining support from powerful members of the ...
promise of an incandescent future that will sustain their hope and help them carry
on. We refer to this promise of a utopi...
Inspired by the audacity of their Chalice, and steeled by the realization that there is
nothing to fall back on in case th...
soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their
country; but he that stands it now...
the future. The company‟s new Chalice dubbed “TI 2000” became the slogan and
centerpiece of discussions at every meeting, ...
Long Island, and facing a bitterly cold winter had retreated to Pennsylvania. The
outlook for the continental army looked ...
Otherwise all the pain and suffering it engendered would have been for naught.
The history of the world is littered with r...
However, when founder Michael Dell left in 2004, the values which propelled his
company to the top seemed to have gone awa...
About the Author:

                   Driven by a personal mission to “take executives to the
                   edge and ...
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The 6 Cs To Successful Change Management Pub Ed

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In a recent survey of the most vital skill a leader must have to steer his organization in the foreseeable decade, Change Management was rated highest. In its very essence, Change Management is nothing short of a revolution of the classic kind: idealistic and monumental in its goal, radical if not violent in its pursuit. For this reason, perhaps one of the best models of successful Change Management for aspiring Change Leaders is the American Revolution itself. Reviewing the events leading to and during the Revolution, the Author distills six elements that were essential to its success. He believes that the same 6 elements are essential to the success of any Business Change endeavor, whether this be in a unit within a larger corporate body or in the entire corporation itself. Written more than a year before the start of the recession, the lessons this article draws are even more relevant in today’s tough economic environment.

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The 6 Cs To Successful Change Management Pub Ed

  1. 1. THE 6 Cs TO SUCCESSFUL CHANGE MANAGEMENT Lessons From The American Revolution In a recent survey of the most vital skill a leader must have to steer his organization in the foreseeable decade, Change Management was rated highest. In its very essence, Change Management is nothing short of a revolution of the classic kind: idealistic and monumental in its goal, radical if not violent in its pursuit. For this reason, perhaps one of the best models of successful Change Management for aspiring Change Leaders is the American Revolution itself. Reviewing the events leading to and during the Revolution, the Author distills six elements that were essential to its success. He believes that the same 6 elements are essential to the success of any Business Change endeavor, whether this be in a unit within a larger corporate body or in the entire corporation itself. Written more than a year before the start of the recession, the lessons this article draws are even more relevant in today‟s tough economic environment. TRISTAN B DE LA ROSA Founder & Principal Coach www.thebanyanway.com ©2007 Banyan Way Page 1
  2. 2. Business Change Management comes under other labels – Reengineering, Cultural Transformation, Restructuring, Reinvention, Streamlining – but essentially boils down to this: instituting relatively swift yet fundamental changes in the way business is run in order to overcome immediate and serious threats posed by competitive, economic, technological, regulatory, and other external stimuli. With globalization, rapid technological change, and vastly increased customer knowledge and sophistication, no company can remain standing still yet expect to survive. In a recent survey of the most vital skill a leader must have to steer his organization in the foreseeable decade, Change Management was rated highest. In its very essence, Change Management is nothing short of a revolution of the classic kind: idealistic and monumental in its goal, radical if not violent in its pursuit. For this reason, perhaps one of the best models of successful Change Management for aspiring Change Leaders is the American Revolution itself. Reviewing the events leading to and during the Revolution, we have distilled 6 elements that were essential to its success. We believe that the same 6 elements are essential to the success of any Business Change endeavor, whether this be in a unit within a larger corporate body or in the entire corporation itself. Here are the 6 Cs to Successful Business Change Management: ©2007 Banyan Way Page 2
  3. 3. 1. Crisis – All revolutions start with a Crisis. By this we do not refer to the garden-variety type of crisis, the one that can be ignored as it will eventually go away, or the other which inflicts very little pain and can thus be tolerated to numbness in case it remains. We refer to a Crisis of such a magnitude that it has the potential to destroy one‟s way of life, if not life itself. Having fled political and religious persecution in England, the American colonists were in little mood to tolerate interference from King George III and the English Parliament. While a number of measures passed by the Parliament until then were already a source of consternation, none perhaps created as much ill will among the colonists and sparked the embers of revolt as the tax measures of 1764 (Sugar Act) and 1765 (Stamp Act). The 1765 Quartering Act passed the same year which required colonists to house and feed British troops did little to suppress rising tensions. “No taxation without representation” became a rallying cry, colonists boycotted English goods, and the colonies passed a petition demanding that the King repeal these measures. While at least the Stamp Act was repealed in 1766, a succession of laws and measures since passed only convinced the colonists that the King had little desire to leave them alone; and, through the Quartering Act, had no qualms enforcing his rule by force. The Townshend Revenue Acts of 1767 imposed new taxes and triggered mob protests and riots, including one that killed several colonists in the infamous Boston Massacre of 1770. The Tea Act of 1773 imposed a tax on tea and, in what has become known as the Boston Tea Party, drove protestors dressed as Mohawk Indians to dump an English ship‟s cargo of tea into the harbor. Angered and even more intent on imposing his will, George III through Parliament issued a series of what is now referred to as the Coercive Acts. Instead of dampening it, these Acts – which included one that dictated that all key positions in the Massachusetts colonial government were to be appointed by the King – intensified the crisis to the point that colonists began to believe that the only way out of the Crisis was through revolution. As in a revolution the first essential element in a successful Business Change Management is the recognition of a Crisis with proportions so profound that, if not urgently attended to, could threaten the very business itself. The point in time at which the Crisis is recognized is crucial. For too many companies, the case for Change Management is made only when it is already too late to act, when the wolf is not only at the door but already within and beyond the threshold. The ill health of GM and other American automobile makers today is a ringing indictment on an industry that belatedly woke up one day to find Toyota and other Japanese companies already in the dining room eating their lunch. ©2007 Banyan Way Page 3
  4. 4. The aspiring Change Leader must not only have the ability to shape and articulate a long-term vision but also must have the prescience to see – before anybody else in the organization – a potentially crippling Crisis. He then uses this portent as the goad or motive for change towards the attainment of his vision. There may be worrisome symptoms, ominous signs that suggest an oncoming serious Crisis – declining market share, missed revenue and profit forecasts, spiraling costs, high employee turnover, disruptive technology with the potential of rendering the company‟s offering obsolete, a short innovation pipeline, legislation under consideration – something that, if unattended to, could develop into a major business threat. The Change Leader must then be able to frame the Crisis in terms that his organization will not only grasp but will also shock them enough that they are willing to act with courage and a decided sense of urgency. To achieve the desired effect, creativity is often necessary in framing the Crisis. The former police commissioner of New York City, William Bratton, is often cited as one of the most successful change management leaders of our time. With crime out of control, political turf wars, and a bankrupt city unable to provide adequate resources, Bratton turned the Big Apple around into one of the safest large cities in the nation. One of his most important first steps was to make his senior officers recognize that the security situation was in crisis and that the city was far from being a safe place to live. To create a “shock and awe” effect, he did not rely on presentations crammed with charts and statistics. Instead, he ordered his officers to take the subway to and from work every day, forcing them out of the relative comfort and safety of their cars. This way, his key people came face-to- face with and experienced first-hand the fear that gripped the hearts of the citizens they were meant to protect. In another instance of creativity Jan Timmer who took over as CEO of Philips in the early „90s following the company‟s biggest operating loss in history, had a mock business newspaper printed and dated a few years into the future declaring in bold headlines that the company was financially bankrupt. Making a potentially disastrous future state palpably real effectively jolted the organization out of its complacency and forced it to address its problems with a sense of urgency not possible without such a dramatic wake-up call. After floundering for a number of years, Philips recovered strongly doubling its stock price towards the mid‟90s. 2. Crusaders – For a revolution to succeed, a critical mass of Crusaders dedicated to replacing the status quo is needed. While even just one person with his vision and courage may inspire a revolution, for all practical purposes it will fail if there are not enough people fired with the ©2007 Banyan Way Page 4
  5. 5. passion and zeal to pursue and, if necessary, to die for what they believe is a just and honest cause. The American Revolution produced bigger-than-life characters: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and other towering luminaries and heroes. Yet in early America with an estimated population of 3 million scattered over a wide area, a handful of men and women – no matter how pure their motives – would not have been able to mobilize the 13 colonies to rise against the English Crown were it not for ranks of colonial activists in every town. The First Continental Congress in 1774 with its 56 delegates represented enough of a critical mass to make this the first concerted effort by all the colonies (except Georgia which was then under siege by the Creek and needed British military support) to rise as one and formally oppose the Coercive Acts, declare a colonial-wide boycott of English goods, and promote the formation of local militias. The seeds for this critical mass were planted as early as 1765 when groups of activists were formed in towns throughout the colonies to lead the resistance against the Stamp Act. Collectively known as the Sons of Liberty, these local groups oftentimes used intimidation and terror tactics to force British stamp agents to resign and local merchants to cease trading British goods. The Boston Tea Party was initiated by the Boston-based chapter of the Sons of Liberty. Counted among the ranks of this association were many who eventually came to play more prominent roles in the War for Independence: Paul Revere, John Hancock, John Adams and his cousin Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and others. Beyond those in the colonies, outside Crusaders were added to the critical mass through an alliance with France. Led by the revolution‟s statesman, Benjamin Franklin, colonial patriots effectively exploited the dynamics of European politics by enlisting the support of France against its enemy England. Vital as it is to have a critical mass of Crusaders for change, it is equally important that the revolution be able to isolate and negate the efforts of the champions for the status quo. A perverse if somewhat colorful practice adopted by the Sons of Liberty was to humiliate prominent loyalists by covering their bodies with tar and chicken feathers. In a corporate environment, the Change Leader must ensure that he too has a critical mass of Crusaders equally fired to promote change within the organization. If he is the CEO, it is imperative that he has support from a few pivotal members of the board and his executive team. If he is a unit head, he must have the support not only of his superior but as many of his peers and direct-reports as possible. Beyond those he is in direct day-to-day contact with, the Change Leader must seek allies and Crusaders from other constituencies who might wield a major ©2007 Banyan Way Page 5
  6. 6. influence on the execution and outcome of his change initiative. To be sure, gaining support from powerful members of the labor union is especially important where the change may call for workforce reduction. Building a critical mass of change Crusaders is not easy. For instance, while the Change Leader‟s direct reports over whom he holds the power of the purse might be expected to show unwavering support, this may not necessarily be the case. Resistance to change can be particularly strong if (a) people do not see the need for change (as discussed earlier, they neither see the pain that is to come, nor believe it to be of such intensity or duration as to be intolerable), or (b) they benefit highly from the status quo and are afraid that a change would diminish such benefit. The challenge for the leader is to persuade people that the promise of a future based on making a change now, even if uncertain, is a far more acceptable alternative to the certain and difficult pain that the status quo holds. Where the leader is unable to turn them into allies, influential champions of the status quo may need to be isolated. While tarring and feathering may no longer be an option, there are more compassionate though no less effective means. Turning back to our example of William Bratton, he built a coalition of change Crusaders from among his senior officers by having them personally see the reality of the security crisis that gripped New York City, by forcing them to experience the fear ordinary citizens felt each time they took the subway. Equally important, he also built a coalition of Crusaders among constituencies outside of his direct authority, much the same way Benjamin Franklin enlisted the French. These external constituents were to later provide invaluable support for Bratton in his war against crime in the city. At the heart of Bratton‟s revolution was his Zero Tolerance Policy (ZTP): no crime, no matter how small, should go unpunished. All offenders, including graffiti artists and jaywalkers, were to be given no quarter. The local courts, which heretofore tended to be lenient towards small “quality of life” crimes, resisted ZTP afraid that it would clog the system. Powerful as the courts were, Bratton succeeded in gaining the support of equally powerful external allies: the mayor‟s office and the city media. With their help, he was able to effectively isolate the courts and push for acceptance of ZTP. 3. Chalice – A revolution is sparked by a Crisis. But it can be sustained and its momentum built only when pulled forward by an inspiring vision. When people experience intolerable pain, it is not hard to agitate them to rise in arms against its source. However, when the sacrifice required to erase the pain becomes difficult to bear, when the agony and suffering mounts, it is only the ©2007 Banyan Way Page 6
  7. 7. promise of an incandescent future that will sustain their hope and help them carry on. We refer to this promise of a utopian tomorrow as the Holy Grail, the Chalice, of the revolution. In the case of the American Revolution, nowhere is this Chalice more eloquently and more inspiringly captured than in the Declaration of Independence penned by Thomas Jefferson and formally endorsed by the Continental Congress in July 4, 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The war raged for 8 years (1775-82) claimed an estimated 25,000 American lives plus possibly another 25,000 seriously wounded or disabled. Pitted against a superior British force, through the searing heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter, the ravages of smallpox and dysentery, constant hunger and lack of basic supplies, Washington‟s continental army made up mainly of ragtag militiamen emerged victorious. It was a triumph inspired by a Chalice bearing the inscription: “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness”. A letter addressed in September 5, 1777 by George Washington to his troops typifies this unwavering faith and commitment to the Chalice despite all odds: “Two years we have maintained the war and struggled with difficulties innumerable… (but) glory waits to crown the brave, and peace, freedom and happiness will be the rewards of victory. Animated by motives like these, soldiers fighting in the cause of innocence, humanity and justice, will never give way, but, with undaunted resolution, press on to conquest.” In similar fashion, Business Change Management cannot but fail without a Chalice that draws the organization forward amid the sacrifices that will need to be made. Take the case of Kimberly-Clark, the world‟s largest paper-based consumer products company. In the „70s, its CEO Darwin Smith and his management team concluded that the company cannot grow at desired rates behind its traditional core business, coated and commodity printed papers. The economics were poor and – unchallenged by mediocre competitors – Darwin believed the company will remain perpetually somnolent. So in a bold (and what Wall Street analysts at that time called foolish) move, Smith and his team began a revolution with a gilded picture of their Chalice: Kimberly- Clark will become a premier player in the paper-based consumer products company, rushing headlong into the fiery furnace of competition against the likes of Scott Paper and Procter & Gamble. With this, the company proceeded to sell all its paper mills and invested the proceeds in marketing and advertising the Kleenex and Huggies brands. It was fight or perish, the corporate equivalent of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon. ©2007 Banyan Way Page 7
  8. 8. Inspired by the audacity of their Chalice, and steeled by the realization that there is nothing to fall back on in case they fail, executives and employees fought hand-in- hand to win point after point of market share away from P&G and Scott. One oft- repeated story in the Kimberly-Clark lores had Darwin Smith one day beginning an employee townhall meeting with a request for everyone to stand and observe a minute of silence. Everybody did although not quite understanding why. After the pause, Smith looked at everyone in the room and declared: “That moment of silence was for Procter & Gamble”. This brought the house down. Today, Kimberly-Clark owns Scott Paper outright and leads P&G in most of the categories they compete in. 4. Communication – To stoke the flames of a revolution and then to keep them burning – that is the role of the fourth essential: Communication. In the war to win the hearts and minds of men and women though, it is referred to by another name, one that is highly-charged: propaganda. From the fiery rhetoric of its firebrand, Samuel Adams, to the cogent eloquence of its intellectual giant, Thomas Paine, the American Revolution was never short of propagandists. Through his weekly publication, The Public Advertiser, Adams wrote a continuing stream of editorials against the King and Parliament. He was the first patriot to rage against the tax measures of 1764 and 1765 arguing: “If our trade be taxed, why not our lands or produce… in short, everything we possess? They tax us without having legal representation.” A hard-core agitator, Adams submitted incendiary articles to various publications across the colonies using different pseudonyms (among them “Vindex” and “Valerius Poplicola”), creating the impression of widespread public resentment and anger. When several colonists were killed and wounded in Boston following protests against the Townshend Revenues Act, he forever imprinted the event in the minds of all Americans by writing and describing it as the “Boston Massacre”. While Adams engaged the masses, Thomas Paine appealed to the literati. Paine‟s “Common Sense” is believed to have been the most influential tract to argue for nothing short of independence to resolve the Crisis. It convinced many of the colonies‟ most prominent citizens, including George Washington who until then remained hopeful of reconciliation with England. Many of the ideas in Paine‟s work were eventually adopted by Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence. Throughout their long struggle Paine wrote a series of pamphlets called The Crisis to inspire and sustain the morale of the colonists. Washington had these pamphlets regularly read to soldiers in the field. The first Crisis pamphlet began with these famous words: “These are the times that try men's souls: The summer ©2007 Banyan Way Page 8
  9. 9. soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” In the business world, while we may be reluctant to refer to the Communication component of Change Management as “propaganda”, in its spirit and intended effect it is no less than this. As in a revolution, Communication must achieve two fundamental objectives. First, it must awaken employees to the Crisis that they face. Second, it must inspire and sustain them throughout the entire change process, arduous and painful as it may be, by constantly reminding them of their Chalice, their shared vision of tomorrow. To accomplish these dual objectives, the Change Leader and his cadre of Crusaders must seize every opportunity to communicate the Crisis and the Chalice. Dramatic change calls for dramatic action, including dramatic ways of communicating. This does not simply mean creating clever slogans and printing them on company stationery. Every conceivable business activity must be linked to the Crisis and the Chalice. For example, in all problem-solving/ decision-making meetings the issues taken up must be communicated as a reflection of the Crisis faced by the organization, and their solutions as an integral part of the Chalice. Personal performance evaluations must show how specific skills and behaviors could contribute to solving the Crisis and bringing the organization closer to its Chalice. Generic leadership and management training seminars should be customized to impart skills necessary for this purpose. Town hall meetings, company newsletters, bulletin board circulars, the President‟s Christmas and annual messages – all possible communication media, formal and informal – must talk to employees about the Crisis and progress towards their Chalice. After seeing his company‟s share of the semi-conductor market slide from 30% in the 1980‟s to a meager 5% in less than a decade, Jerry Junkins, then President & CEO of Texas Instruments, started a revolution calling for loosening the company‟s traditionally tight and highly-centralized corporate culture, and encouraging innovation. To call attention to the Crisis and gain commitment to the difficult struggle needed to turn the company around, Junkins‟ communication efforts did not end with his immediate leadership team. Junkins in fact reached out to and mobilized as many people who will eventually implement the changes. He orchestrated a series of 5-day events for groups of 25- 30 managers throughout all divisions, asking them to help shape a new vision for ©2007 Banyan Way Page 9
  10. 10. the future. The company‟s new Chalice dubbed “TI 2000” became the slogan and centerpiece of discussions at every meeting, every corporate event, every messaging opportunity. In 1992, Texas Instruments won the coveted Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, and in the succeeding years saw its revenues and profits rebound, and its stock price more than double. A corollary to Communication as the fourth essential to successful revolutions is the need to project Candor & Compassion. Gaining acceptance for a new vision is challenging as it inevitably involves pain. In a business setting, none can be more difficult than having to lay people off. If this has to happen, the Change Leader should from the onset acknowledge and address it openly and honestly. Painful as it seems, letting underachieving employees go may be one of the fairest acts a leader can perform under the circumstances. Every day that the wrong people – employees whose future in the company is bleak – are allowed to stay, represents a day taken away from them, a day which they could have spent looking and working for other companies where they would prosper. On the other hand, for the right people this means another day that they have to work much more to compensate for the inadequacies and failures of colleagues who have proven less than competent. This poses a risk for the company at a time when it needs its best people the most. Letting the wrong people stay on can lead to the right people leaving. With the decision to ask some employees to leave, the Change Leader must communicate the company‟s commitment to treat them with fairness, compassion, and with utmost dignity and respect. Not only is this the right thing to do. It sends a strong message to those who are left behind that the company with its humanistic values is truly worth making sacrifices for. 5. Confidence Builders – Fidel Castro said “A revolution is not a bed of roses.” It certainly is not for the weak of heart. However, given the huge personal sacrifices involved it is vital that the revolutionary remains hopeful of victory despite the expected setbacks. It is important to score a few triumphs, even if small, especially during the early stages of the struggle. These are critical in building the confidence that a victory for the revolution is not only possible but certain. One of the most indelible images coming out of the American Revolution is that of George Washington crossing the Delaware River. In a painting by the German Artist Emmanuel Lutze commemorating the event, the hero is pictured in a contemplative mood standing stoically at the prow of a boat. Throughout the autumn of 1776, Washington had suffered a string of defeats in Manhattan and ©2007 Banyan Way Page 10
  11. 11. Long Island, and facing a bitterly cold winter had retreated to Pennsylvania. The outlook for the continental army looked bleak. On Christmas night of that year, Washington made a bold move. He and his men crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey to launch a surprise counter attack. At the Battle of Trenton the next day, Washington roundly defeated the British and captured nearly a thousand Hessians. A few days later he again defeated the British at the Battle of Princeton. While small, these victories were important turning points in the American Revolution. The war will rage for another 6 years but these early triumphs inspired the colonists to soldier on and gave them hope that the war can be won. Like the American Revolution, successful Business Change Management must have its own share of early triumphs, critical as these are in convincing employees that obstacles, while tough, can be overcome. This will arm them with the confidence they need to face the difficult journey ahead. Unlike a revolution where winning battles is less difficult to ascertain, Confidence Builders may in fact be planned for and built into a Change Management initiative. These could be in terms of significant though relatively easy milestones – low hanging fruits. Take for instance the case of Texas Instruments which, with its “TI 2000” initiative, sought to encourage greater innovation by loosening a tight centralized culture. It is easy to imagine that a low hanging fruit would have been the formation of the first R&D team outside of corporate headquarters to investigate new break-through technology. While the team had yet to show results and create a single product based on this technology, its formation alone already heralded a major departure from the past. This would have sent a strong signal to the organization that its leadership was serious and that change was indeed possible. A necessary corollary to having Confidence Builders is the need for the organization to Celebrate each triumph, to take a pause and enjoy the moment. Each celebration represents a magnificent opportunity for the Change Leader to review with employees what is at stake, what success means for all, and how the milestone just achieved represents important progress. It serves as a forum to reinforce key messages – the Crisis and the Chalice – and to inspire the organization to sustain its journey regardless of difficulties. 6. “Culturalization” – Revolutions must not stop when the last shots are fired. They must go on and cease only when the values upon which they are built, the principles for which they are bitterly fought become firmly rooted in the people’s culture and are reflected in their everyday lives. ©2007 Banyan Way Page 11
  12. 12. Otherwise all the pain and suffering it engendered would have been for naught. The history of the world is littered with revolutions where one despot is overthrown only to be replaced by an even bigger despot. As the end of the war and victory for the colonists was well in sight, the respective governments of the 13 colonies grew increasingly less willing to provide funds to the Continental Congress to conduct the nation‟s business. Among the problems this created was that the officers and men under George Washington‟s command were not getting paid. Against this backdrop one of Washington‟s officers, Colonel Lewis Nicola, wrote a letter in May 1782 arguing that a republican form of government is ineffectual, urging him to seize power from Congress and become King. Washington‟s reply was swift and stern. He saw the idea as a betrayal of the very values for which the Revolution was fought. He severely rebuked Nicola and admonished him to “banish these thoughts from your mind, and never communicate, as from yourself, or anyone else, a sentiment of the like nature”. The last musket was fired in November 1782 when Americans retaliated against Loyalist forces in Ohio. The next year, as if to forestall any possibility of establishing an American monarchy with him as king, Washington resigned his commission before Congress – an event unprecedented in history. The years that followed saw the new nation grappling with its birth pains, challenged with weaving the values of the Revolution into the fabric of its culture. It was not until September 17, 1787 when Americans finally enshrined their revolutionary principles in the nation‟s Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” In Business Change Management, it is similarly critical not to claim victory too soon and prematurely declare the process over. Unless the values and principles which sparked and drove the process are firmly anchored in the company‟s culture, the Change Management exercise would have been useless. In the early „90s Michael Dell began a revolution within the entire computer hardware industry selling computers designed to customer specifications by mail. Through innovations in supply chain management and real-time customization, the company provided the highest quality level of customer service and support. Dell became a household name. ©2007 Banyan Way Page 12
  13. 13. However, when founder Michael Dell left in 2004, the values which propelled his company to the top seemed to have gone away with him. Faced with strong competition from Asia, the new CEO Kevin Rollins began aggressively cutting costs. Among the areas severely affected was customer service which is at the heart of Dell‟s success. Soon the company was besieged by irked customers complaining of delayed deliveries and poor technical support. In 2007, the city of New York sued Dell for deceptive business practices and false advertising mostly related to customer service. Rollins has resigned and Michael Dell is back at the helm. This time the hope is that Dell will continue his unfinished revolution, ensuring that the principles upon which he successfully built his company in the „90s become entrenched in its culture. In closing, the American Revolution has produced what is today the most powerful nation on earth. For the Change leader who aspires to replicate its success in a business setting, the lessons that it provides – the 6 Cs essential to a successful revolution – are well worth contemplating and studying further. References: “American Revolution” (The History Place, 1998); John Kotter, “Leading Change”, Harvard Business Review on Leading Through Change (Harvard Business School Publishing, 2006); Jim Collins, Good to Great (Harper Collins Publishers, 2001); George Washington, “Letter to Lewis Nicola, May 22, 1782” (The Claremont Institute, 2002); Paul Strebel, “Why Do Employees Resist Change?”, Harvard Business Review on Leading Through Change (Harvard Business School Publishing, 2006); Steven Wheeler et al, “A Blueprint for Strategic Leadership”, Strategy + Business, Winter 2007; The American Revolution Home Page, Ronald McGranahan, 1998-2002; “The Declaration of Independence”, “Thomas Paine” (Independence Hall Association, 1999-2008); “The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799”, John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor (George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1999); W. Chan Kim et al, “Tipping Point Leadership”, Harvard Business Review on Leading Through Change (Harvard Business School Publishing, 2006) ©2007 Banyan Way Page 13
  14. 14. About the Author: Driven by a personal mission to “take executives to the edge and push them to fly – as leaders”, Tristan de la Rosa is the Founder & Principal Coach of Banyan Way, an executive coaching and development company. He is also in the Coaching Advisory Board & Faculty of Northwestern University. Tristan brings an uncommon blend of masterful real-world experience and rich multi-national & multi-cultural insight to the Executive Coaching field. He has decades of leadership experience working at the world‟s most respected CPG companies, among them P&G, J&J, General Foods, and the Wrigley Co. As country head or senior marketing executive, he has been posted in some of the world‟s most important and fastest growing markets – including China, India, the tiger economies of South East Asia – and in the United States. Tristan is based in Chicago where he shares a home with his wife, Marilyn. Tristan can be contacted at tristan.delarosa@thebanyanway.com. Read his blog at http://bwintrospections.blogspot.com. ©2007 Banyan Way Page 14

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