Principal, Strategy Meets Performance
A CONVERSATION WITH DR. SHERRY NOORAVI ABOUT HER ADVICE TO THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES, GROWING PAINS AND WHY CEOS IN SAN DIEGO ARE EXTRAORDINARY
How does an organization recognize it needs outside expertise in the area of organizational development, change management and leadership development?
As companies grow, they often experience “growing pains,” whether it be from rapid growth; having a senior team that does not get along or lead with vision; having cultures within a culture as a result of acquisitions, silos or a change in leadership; to name a few.
Leaders and employees who are paying attention intuitively know something is wrong and that there is a lot of opportunity for growth and improvement to help engage staff and grow profitably. When staff are not fully engaged, it impacts the bottom line in the long term from employees not giving 100 percent to high performers being poached by the competition.
Interesting. Can you expand on this a little more?
Sure. Let’s look at three examples. When there is rapid growth in an organization, there is little time to take a step back to focus on the big picture and strategy. In this case, we teach teams that their actions today will benefit the company tomorrow.
In the case of cultures within a culture, some companies have sub-cultures like the Old versus the New Management Team or Sales versus Manufacturing. The idea here is to bring these teams together so everybody is moving in the same direction.
Mergers and acquisitions or a change in leadership prompts the need for integration: the first from a people standpoint and the latter from a vision and direction perspective. Oftentimes, companies are acquired or a new leader brings his or her own beliefs and employees are not integrated into the new organization’s values, leadership and way of doing things. After a while, you’ll have a multitude of mini-organizations, all with their own values and beliefs, none of which are aligned with the larger organization’s vision and goals.
Why is change so hard for most people?
Change can be hard because people do not see the bigger vision, the “why” and how things will be much better. It also takes us out of our comfort zones and requires new habits. The more an organization and all of its leaders (formal and informal) can provide the “why” for the change, educate people on the “how,” and continually provide support and reinforcement for the new desired behaviors, the more successful the change will be.
Great quote by Louis Pasteur on Strategy Meets Performance’s website: “Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” Why is this quote important to you?
I have found in my research that the most successful figures in history (whether they were scientists, athletes, actors or inventors) have had to fail many times before finding success. Anything worth having will require much perseverance, agility and tenacity. Whenever I was frustrated as I worked toward a difficult goal, after listening to me, my father would say, “Don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up,” and that has stayed with me.
What advice would you give both presidential candidates about the concept of “change”?
I would give the same advice that I give to my CEO clients and their teams: 1) Listen to your people; 2) Think win/win; 3) Have integrity and be as fair and objective as possible; 4) Take a stand, inspire your people and share your “why”; and 5) Support people through change with consistent and clear communication and support.
You recently worked with the MOST successful CEOs from San Diego. What did you learn that surprised you?
They were all cognizant of the importance of paying attention to and nurturing their company cultures. I also found this in my latest research on the best practices of healthcare leaders in San Diego, which is published in San Diego Physician Magazine. These leaders are very aware of the importance of “walking the talk” and being strong role models for their organizations.
To learn more about Dr. Sherry Nooravi , visit Strategy Meets Performance