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Leadership Stories

“as a leader the most important thing you can do is to look into the organization and connect with its people… developing a real partnership with them, one in which they understand the full nature of the organization’s mission, its challenges and opportunities and feel ownership for its success”

Who makes positive change happen?  Leaders that mandate a new strategy?  Individual employees at the front lines that push the buttons and pull the levers on a daily basis?   Change is a curious thing.  Most of the time you can’t measure it, and billions of dollars are spent every year as it drives the momentum of the global economy. Yet the algorithm that generates it is often elusive and rarely can you define a consistent, objective formula  The Parnassus Group recently walked through the concept of change leadership with Mike Foley, the former CIO of MassMutual Financial Group, a Fortune 100 company known for its strength and innovation in the financial services industry. Mike has developed a multi-dimensional change leadership perspective, “Leaders have to look honestly at today’s situation and also simultaneously envision the developing future.  You are shaping plans that are on a continuum.  People on your team need to clearly see the importance of what they are doing today, but more importantly, understand how what they do today shapes and impacts the future. In so doing, the team’s members understand the importance of their current contribution and, because they understand the big picture, how and why their efforts work in the best interests of the enterprise, their team and themselves.”  Mike has coined this as bi-focal perspective and the metaphor is a good one.  Bi-focal perspective is tough to instill and perpetuate in an organization as its teams are embroiled in the battle for the urgent everyday.  “That is why you have to really look your people in the eye and speak to them as if they are owners in the enterprise.  Make sure they understand the opportunities and challenges for the entire business.  Then you can create real partnerships in change and build momentum that is a win-win for the business and each of the employee advocates”. Mike saw this first hand at MassMutual when he put the pen in the hands of his own team and asked them to re-write the future of key segments of this financial giant.  Innovation found its way into the organization on the wings of inspiration of the individual employee who began to see their part in the story as critical.  When team members see what is at stake and how integral their part is, change agendas take on a new energy and leaders instill a lasting perspective

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