How to Lead Massive Change: An Interview with Lockheed Martin CIO Sondra Barbour

Posted 05.17.2012

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.