Leadership and big changes

One of my last jobs at Sun was to lead the effort to get Sun people behind the change to a new desk top environment. We used a model for helping build commitment to change that really works. It makes for true leadership.

A company called Rackspace in Texas wanted to move their headquarters into a really bad part of town.  The employees were so appalled by the idea that the person hired to do focus groups with the employees quit after practically being assaulted at the first focus group. This video of a short interview with the Rackspace president is a great example of how to lead people through a controversial change. It shows all of the the key requirements for leading through change.

  • The people at the top have to really be committed to the change
  • There has to be a really good business reason for the change and it has to be communicated believably,
  • You have to listen to individuals about why they might not like the change. Listening means taking their concerns seriously. People need to be heard. I love the way this is described in the video as house to house fighting.
  • Everyone has to have a shared vision of the end state and how great it can be.
  • And then of course you have to have a plan to get there.

This link will take you to the video. Watch it. It is inspiring!

I found this story on the Scobleizer website. I love the way Robert Scoble tells the story.

"Wait a freaking second. How did one guy who had an absolutely crazy
idea that 1,400 people hated, including his partners, turn this all
around in about a year?