Monday, November 8, 2010

Why Should Anyone Trust Your Vision?

I recently commented on a post (11/3/10) by John Kotter--Harvard Business Review Blogger: Why Should Anyone Trust Your Vision.  He brings up an interesting point about how and why leaders now need to engage their people in the decision-making process, to get their buy-in, in order to get the job (of change) done. I thought I'd share my comment here on my Blog:


Thanks for bring up this issue. No doubt, getting multi-levels of the organization deeply involved in developing and debating the "vision" (and most other things for that matter) is THE way to go. I've seen it drive great results as a corporate officer and now as an executive coach. However, I would like to address another dimension of the breakdown of trust. If I assume that the same top management team who was in place during the debacle is the team in place now, it is time to "own up". Nothing much matters if they don't. When we were young, most of us were taught to "own up to our mistakes and learn from them." This simple axiom must be embraced for any leader who wants genuine credibility. So, what is the implication? The leadership team in charge during the “great decline” needs to take visible ownership for mistakes made and ask the rest of the organization to do the same. It might start with this simple statement: "We blew it. We made assumptions that were flawed and lost sight of our values. We forgot what made us great and were seduced by short term gains. Now we need to focus on the solution and ask that all of you play a role in returning our company to greatness." Now, talk is cheap. The action that follows this admission must address the right issues and involve the entire organization. I see all too often that the insecurities (egos) of top leaders prevent them from seeing reality. They forget about the power of empathy. They forget to ask, “If I were one of these employees, would I trust this leadership team?” This is simple stuff, but it separates the great leaders from everyone else. 

Be sure to read John Kotter's complete post at:

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