Posts Tagged ‘Leading Change’

A Veterans’ Advocate Proves That Leadership Ain’t Rocket Science June 12 2012 no responses

On the way home from visiting a U.S. Department of Defense client organization today, I heard a story on NPR that I have to share with you.  It’s about how a community college counselor named Catherine Morris took it upon herself to help veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan get the educational benefits they’ve earned.

As the wars have wound down, more than 500,000 vets have left the service to go to college.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that because of budget cuts in higher education and a lack of awareness on the part of administrators, most veterans aren’t getting the support they need to make the transition to campus.

As a retired Marine herself, Morris decided to change the game at Sierra Community College in California.  Two years ago, she asked the president for a budget to support the 800-plus vets on campus and was told that fiscal constraints wouldn’t allow it.  She kept at it. When Willie Duncan took over as president, he told her that there was even less money than before, but he would offer moral support.

That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It May 22 2012 6 responses

So, let me say at the outset that I’m reasonably confident that this is the world’s first leadership development blog post that includes a story about roasted cauliflower. (I Googled “roasted cauliflower leadership” and the top result was this recipe from Northern Michigan’s News Leader.) Here’s my back story.

One day last week I was working from my home office and went into the kitchen to get some lunch. My amazing wife, Diane, had a baking sheet full of raw cauliflower out on the counter. I asked her what she was doing and she said, “Making some roasted cauliflower for lunch. Want some?” I think I made a face, semi-politely said no thanks and that she must be the only person in North America who was making cauliflower for lunch. She kindly reminded me that I’ve demonstrated over the past couple of years that I actually like cauliflower and noted the different occasions that proved that point.

That’s when I said, “I’m still working with my long held story that I hate cauliflower and I’m sticking to it.” So I went for a sandwich and missed out on tasty cauliflower with peas and Indian spices.

The lunch-time lesson got me thinking about that phrase we hear so often, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” It’s usually offered in a lighthearted kind of way but like most jokes there’s often a deeper truth that lies underneath.

How to Lead Massive Change: An Interview with Lockheed Martin CIO Sondra Barbour May 17 2012 no responses

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Sondra Barbour is the chief information officer and senior vice president of enterprise business services at Lockheed Martin.  She’s a company veteran and change leader who has taken on increasingly responsible positions over the course of her career. I spoke with her recently about what she’s learned along the way. Some of the highlights from our conversation include:

  • Leading Massive Change:  When leading change, Barbour focuses on the connection between two key factors:  communication and identifying the influencers.  She notes that the influencers are “sometimes not the people you think” they would be.  Once you find them, you have to establish two-way communication with them.
  • Get Comfortable with Mistakes:  Leading change means you’re going to make mistakes.  Barbour says, “You can’t be right 100% of the time, and if you are then you are not taking enough risk.” When a mistake is made, call it out and let your team know what you’re going to do to correct it.
  • Maintaining Your Sanity:  Leading massive change can be stressful.  Barbour has learned that it’s important to take time for yourself in whatever ways work for you.   She’s not a disciple of work/life balance.  Instead, she believes fun and fulfillment can and should be had in both arenas.

Barbour has a lot more to say about change leadership in the accompanying podcast.