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Building on success

Blair McPherson - Former Director, Author and Blogger
“You can throw all those trophies and medals you won in the bin they’re worth nothing because you got them by cheating.” Brian Clough was never strong on tact and diplomacy but he had a point sometimes the only way for a successful organisation to make it to the next level is to forget all you thought you knew and start again.
It’s increasingly rare to takeover an already successfully organisation. Normally a change is required because the previous post holder has gone due to poor performance, lack of progress and a loss of confidence in their leadership.  It’s simple to identify the weaknesses in a failing organisation where even small changes can boost performance but to improve a well performing organisation is much harder.
It takes courage to change a successful strategy but it may be necessary in order to take the organisation to the next level. We’ve gone as far as we can doing things this way ,there is no more efficiency to be squeezed out, people can’t work any harder or smarter, it’s no longer about fine tuning a radical new approach is required, it has risks but other wise we will simply coast , become complacent and lose the driving ambition that made us successful.
Innovation is called for and this means change, which to succeed often requires managers /employees to work out side their comfort zone and adopt different roles. It helps if the management culture with in the organisation already recognised that management skills were transferable and managers were use to the idea of taking over responsibilities that they did not have a professional background in or direct experience of.
Having established the requirement for agile managers the task is to explain how the new role fits with the new strategy and what success will look like.
There is every likelihood that the immediate effect may be a drop in performance as people adjust to new roles, new expectations and cope with a steep learning curve. Confidence, courage ,resilience  and patience are required to stick with it. There will be doubters and the  boards patience is not limitless.
If the board holds its nerve, if managers are agile, if the chief executive can explain the thinking behind the new way, and if people are prepared to give it a go then the next level will be achievable. A lot of ifs! And it will need longer than the 18 months that have become the expectation in some quarters.

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