ChesterCountyMedicineSpring2019 - 13


omentum is growing in
the corporate world -
more and more companies
are realizing that the convergence
of advancing technologies will
fundamentally change how we live
and how we work.
This realization has led some
leaders to initiate either a digital
transformation or the building of an
innovation system. In many cases, the
ultimate objective is to "win" - beat
the competition by increasing the
speed and quality of human learning in order to attain the highest
levels of human cognitive and emotional performance in concert
with advancing technologies.
Questions that are commonly asked include: Where do we
start? How do we structure the initiative? Is the initiative companywide or siloed? Who leads the initiative? What technology do
we need? What skills are we lacking? What is our competition
doing? How will we train our employees for new roles as these
technologies are implemented?
Questions that are rarely asked happen to be as important:
How do we handle the human, emotional part of the
transformation? How do we lead in a way so that our employees
will emotionally embrace the new learning and ways of working
that need to occur? How do we minimize one of the biggest
human inhibitors to transformation: fear?

Transformation Starts at the TOP!
An organization can't transform unless its people transform.
And its people won't transform unless their managers and leaders
transform. Leaders and managers must role model the new
desired mindsets and behaviors that are necessary to successfully
accomplish the transformation.
We all know that change is hard - especially in successful
companies. People can become complacent in doing what they
already do, especially if it has worked well in the past. But the old
corporate axiom "If it's not broken, don't fix it" no longer applies
in an environment of fast-paced technological change. Successful
organizations today have to be constantly proactive, not reactive
and defensive.
Transformation requires the mitigation of fear. Mitigating
the fear of failing, the fear of not knowing what to do, the fear
of learning new skills, and the fear of losing one's position or

job. Change can be scary for
employees - especially for
employees who do not have the
skills needed for the new way
of working, and especially for
employees who do not have
significant financial reserves to fall
back upon if they find themselves
needing to change jobs. People
cannot learn when they are
What has surprised us in
our transformation work is that
leaders and managers can be just as fearful of the transformative
change as employees. For managers and executives, the fear can be
a fear of losing what they now have (power, status, responsibilities)
or the anxiety about whether they have the abilities to do what will
be necessary in order to lead in this new era. We have seen leaders
sink underneath conference tables when it was suggested that they
do a transformative pilot program. The fear of not knowing can be
Managers and leaders can deal with these fears many different
ways. Reflexive responses can be:
* The "corporate grin and nodding yes" with the internal talk
being "no way"
* Doing the minimal necessary to buy into the change or
transformation initiative, hoping to make it to stock option
vesting or retirement doing what one has done before
* Delegating responsibility for the change initiative to a group,
creating distance - not having direct responsibility for the
initiative so failure is not attributed to them
* Half-heartedly undertaking the transformation, believing this
initiative - like many in the past - will blow over
We have seen all of these attitudes in the last few years
inside very successful companies that have embarked on a major
transformation initiative
How does a leadership team get to the place where they can
admit their individual fears and find ways to support each other
in acknowledging and working through those fears? How does a
leadership team create a work environment that makes it easier for
employees to deal with their fears? An answer to these questions
begins with "the why."
continued on next page >

SPRING 2019 | CHESTER COUNT Y Medicine 13


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