The Senior Leader's Role
Does Change Have to Start at the Top?
By this point, you should have a clear map of your journey to organizational excellence. This is a journey that will take you through the five stages of aspire, assess, architect, act, and advance to improve both your near-term performance and your long-term health. It's our firm belief that by following this path, almost any organization can transform its performance successfully and sustainably so that it can out-execute the competition consistently over time.
As we've seen again and again in the companies we feature in this book, leadership and role modeling are central to the transformation journey. Both of these should start right at the top of the organization. John Mackey of Whole Foods Market explains why: “As the co-founder and CEO, I'm the most visible person in the company . . . our team members are always studying me . . . I'm always on stage.”1
With that in mind, this chapter is devoted to the role of the senior leader in spearheading a transformation. The senior leader means the CEO in a corporation, the director of a government agency, the head of a nonprofit, or whoever is in charge of an organization, no matter what their title may be. Their role is fundamental: our 2010 survey shows that transformations are 2.6 times more likely to succeed if they have strong involvement from the top of the organization.2
Does that mean this chapter is for senior leaders only? Not at all. By learning what the senior ...