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Bridge the gap from strategy to execution: culture change that sticks

Suzanne Bates (Bates Communications, Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA)
Andrew Atkins (Bates Communications, Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 9 October 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

A 100+ year old organization was facing an enterprise-wide, multi-billion dollar transformation. A new, cross-functional team was brought together to spearhead this change, but faced challenges because of organizational siloes and lack of cross-functional communication. Following an in-depth assessment of the leadership team’s behaviors and their leadership presence, the president realized the team would need to change their communication strategies to drive the transformation.

Design/methodology/approach

Each leader was assessed using a research-based model of executive presence, the ExPI™, which is designed to measure specific behaviors of executive presence and leadership communication; the qualities of leadership that engage, align, inspire and move people to act. The team developed a “profile of success” highlighting their desired future state as a team, and compared that with the collective data on their strengths and gaps as a team. The comparison and insights from the comparison formed the roadmap for improving their behaviors as a team.

Findings

The leadership team ultimately became champions for the enterprise-wide change by improving communication streams and winning buy-in from their own teams and other stakeholders critical to the change. They’ve transitioned from seeing their role as protecting their vertical siloes to connecting their functions into a horizontal, integrated pipe that delivers fast, seamless value to the company and the customers.

Originality/value

This case study highlights the importance of creating culture change through leadership behavior. When an organization is faced with high-stakes transformation, change ultimately starts at the top. Leadership teams who invest in the hard work of changing their siloed actions, and hold themselves accountable for a new way of working, will be able to drive change more effectively and more quickly.

Keywords

Citation

Bates, S. and Atkins, A. (2017), "Bridge the gap from strategy to execution: culture change that sticks", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 222-228. https://doi.org/10.1108/SHR-07-2017-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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