Exceptions are “exceptional” by definition, and always exist no matter how rare. Just because research in organizational change shows a strong correlation between certain factors of success and failure does not make these axiomatic. My most successful clients make themselves the success exception, and you can too.
In my experience, I have never seen any dramatic change of any significance gain widespread cross-organizational enthusiasm before implementation, but have often seen such change succeed nonetheless despite lack of initial buy-in. So I advise that action first, buy-in later works, as long a you do things right. There is no need to delay change to seek buy-in.
The only data you need are those needed for making a decision. Yet in my experience, much data reported to head offices are rarely needed or used. At one point an individual datum might have been important for some kind of decision which is why its collection was mandated. Years later though, few people can remember what important decision that was.
A highly successful Japanese CEO I know who had just taken a new role leading a deeply troubled company in Japan asked me, “What are the top three things I need to do to turn around a business?”
“There’s only one,” I told him. “You need to be brutally honest.”
In a small Tokyo sales office of a Kansai-based company, the sales manager in charge habitually turns away sales people from other companies who call unannounced as a matter of course. It doesn’t matter what they have to offer or whom they would like to meet. He is uninterested. The office is small enough that when the sales manager sends a visitor packing, it is in full view of staff.
Yet when his own sales people make the same kind of calls on a prospect company, the sales manager expects that at least his sales people will be received, heard, and possibly connected with the right person who can judge for himself or herself if a longer conversation is warranted.
When it comes to identifying their own successor, Japan CEO’s whom I know often find themselves in exile in a land of no good options. Yet it does not have to be so.
What do I mean by “no good options?”