Profile of Change: Thulani Madondo

In January I visited Johannesburg, South Africa to speak at the Academy of Management’s first-ever Africa Conference.  The conference brought together leading organization and management scholars as well as social entrepreneurs, service providers and change agents interested in the many theoretical and practical problems presented in Africa.  The continent is home to some of the world’s … More Profile of Change: Thulani Madondo

Words Mean Everything

Most change leaders are highly aware of the need to manage their messages. Unfortunately, even when helped by outside consultants with green shoes (I couldn’t resist!), most leaders rarely put into practice everything we know about engagement, communication and managing emotions during times of change. Why? Because dealing with the human side of projects is … More Words Mean Everything

The Truth About Paying for Performance

One of the great myths of corporate life is that incentive pay leads to better performance.  Corporate leaders often speak with great moral conviction of creating pay for performance cultures that only reward people when they meet performance expectations.  The logic suggests that if organizations provide a big enough carrot, people will work harder to … More The Truth About Paying for Performance

Going Deep

Change can be a moving target.  When observed solely from the surface, navigating the waves of organization transition can feel like an unpredictable thrashing of human emotion that disrupts smooth sailing toward our desired objective. But that’s really just a problem with our perception.  It represents our failure to understand the deeper, more nuanced needs … More Going Deep

Stop Hiding Behind Jargon

One of the surest signs that change leaders don’t know what they are doing is the excessive use of jargon.  It’s easy to spot.  Just listen for words like strategic, alignment, partnering, values, sustained, vision, execution, branding, methodology, governance, scalable, global, integrated, empowerment, enablement, or any other intelligent-sounding, yet empty clichés that assume speakers have … More Stop Hiding Behind Jargon

Context is Everything

At 7:51 am on January 12, 2007, a man wearing a baseball cap, T-shirt and faded jeans entered L’Enfant Plaza in Washington D.C. amid the morning rush of commuters and quietly removed his violin from its case. The violin was the rare Gibson ex-Huberman handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari during the Italian master’s “golden … More Context is Everything