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What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate

What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate

Philip H. Bonello, Ph.D.

April 2018

We have all been there – either hiring a change agent, being hired as a change agent, or watching someone take this role to help change an organization. Nearly all organizations at one time or another need to catch up with the times and change. Sometimes it is with the help of a consultant. Sometimes with the implementation of new software. More typically it is with the addition of a new full-time executive.

A problem can’t be solved with the same level of thinking that created it.

Implementing big change is no mean feat. And to do so it is absolutely essential to accept and fully I internalize the idea “that a problem can’t be solved with the same level of thinking that created it.” With this insight Einstein established a rationale and a logical premise to support new thinking. In corporate environment, substantial political support is needed to pave the way for this required new thinking and to achieve a successful outcome.

This is easier to do than most think. Oddly, it’s infrequently done. If the right approach is used to communicate goals, the roles of key people and respect for their efforts, and this is done with sufficient frequency, the odds of success are significantly improved.

As is often the case, the hiring organization has been cowed by years of passive leadership, particularly where technology or data utilization are involved. A new wunderkind is hired to turn a department or division into a more contemporary and a more productive digital-age contributor.

Upon hiring, the CEO and her coterie of senior executives anoint the Newbie wunderkind as a “key member of the team” and “the catalyst for change” the organization has been looking for to achieve its strategic objectives and to meet its operating targets. This initial communication is usually done in a small, executives-only meeting with lots of welcoming and “let me know how I can help” comments. An email is sent to everyone by the CEO, announcing the Newbie and ensconcing the Newbie’s position and vital role. The Executive Team Page is updated with the Newbie’s photo, title and career summary. After these important first steps, the Newbie is typically directed to “Fix it” and the now popular motivating mantra, “go big or go home” is used to encourage iconoclastic moves. This is all good, really good. But this where a significant opportunity to accelerate change is so often overlooked. It is at this point where the CEO’s efforts are now truly needed.

Marketing is the science of creating demand

But first, let’s explore a little background and history. Why was hiring a change agent needed in the first place? Generally, the hiring organization became passive and complacent in a