CEO pov: 5 Insights for Leading Change

CEO pov: 5 Insights for Leading Change 150 150 Teri Citterman

The not-too-distant past rewarded CEOs for stable predictability. But as most of us experience, “Market transparency, labor mobility, global capital flows, and instantaneous communications have blown the comfortable, predictable scenario to smithereens.” (10 Principles of Change Management, Harvard Business Review).
The only thing that’s predictable today is that more change is coming. Whether it’s in the form of a re-org, a change in product, strategy, leadership, or a merger/acquisition, the best leaders know how to effectively manage themselves in order to keep people motivated and engaged, re-build or reshape company culture and set a new course.

Similar to individuals, companies that struggle with these types of changes knock themselves out of the market. We see it all the time.

While many factors contribute to how well a company maneuvers change, success heavily depends on how executives prioritize its people and communication in the process. How open, transparent and frequent executives decide to communicate is a solid predictor of how successful the change will be.

During the last CEO Forum, I had the privilege of asking Steve Singh, CEO of Concur, Jean Thompson, CEO of Seattle’s Chocolates and Stan Pavlovsky, president of what was most important to them as they maneuvered change.

For context,
• SAP acquired Concur for $8.3 billion in 2014

• Jean Thompson became the majority owner and CEO of Seattle Chocolates in 2002

• Stan Pavlovsky became the new President of the world’s largest food brand,, a year after Meredith Corp. purchased it for $175 million in 2013

Here are my top 5 takeaways from the conversation:

1. Create Success. The role of the leader is to create opportunities for others to be successful.

2. Talk Less. Really listen, get feedback and have empathy. Change is hard for most people.

3. Pause. Take time to celebrate the success the team and company is having.

4. Decide. Don’t’ be afraid to make a decision. You can likely fix the bad ones, but being indecisive is the worst thing you can possibly do.

5. Be Bold. Go create the world you want, and empower those around you to do the same.
I’d love to hear your perspective: What’s your best advice on leading change?

Teri Citterman coaches first-time CEOs, seasoned CEOs and high performers. Her latest book “From the CEO’s Perspective” provides a peek into the thinking of some of today’s top CEOs from companies like Alaska Airlines, JP Morgan Chase and Gravity Payments. She is a regular contributor to Forbes, a sought-after speaker and thought cultivator/founder of “From the CEO’s Perspective” leadership forum.