February Round Table Notes

February 25, 2014

February’s Round Table Discussions focused on “Change Management and Transformation” from the perspective of the leader (me), the leadership team (us) and how to implement these changes for positive growth (now what?).

This topic is the same topic that will be presented at our upcoming Leadership Summit in Grand Rapids on March 7th. The speakers will be Scott Baker, President & CEO of National Nail & Brian D. Molitor, CEO of Molitor International.

Below are the notes from this month’s meetings.

Topic: Change Management and Transformation

Kalamazoo, Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It starts with Me: 

  • Personal ownership and responsibility.
    • Recognizing our strengths and weaknesses
    • Others look to your example
    • What are the signals you are sending out? 
  • How are you taking care of yourself? Important to take time off to rest and replenish yourself. 
  • Use your God given strengths. Don’t be so driven by the world’s definition of the logical next steps. Are you in flow with what you were created to do? 
  • When you are in the place that God has made you for, things happen for you. Success is there. Our goal as leaders should be to get our team where they are supposed to be, even if that means they leave us. 
  • Roles will change as you go, be careful with that. Sometimes it’s the “I want to be” that gets in the way. 
  • You have to know who you are, surround yourself with people who help encourage and challenge you. 
  • Create a mission, vision and values for yourself. 
  • In the path that you are on, you need to be sensitive to what God intends. Know who you are and be sensitive to where God is in that plan. Keep praying to follow His will, don’t try to steer your own ship. 
  • Be open to influence, don’t necessarily have to ask for something. Prayer has a listening component. 
  • Be sensitive enough for God to be able to speak to you throughout the day. 
  • How do we learn from the others around us. 
  • Transformation – How do you go from transformation of self to transform a company? Especially in today’s rapidly changing world. 
  • It starts with you – you’re transformed by the renewing of your mind. It then filters down and goes from idea to action. You need to ask yourself, “how does this change what I do everyday?” 
  • This is not a “diet” it’s a lifestyle change. 
  • Easy for us to wander from the idea we had. We need to keep checking in. 
  • Every employee needs to know where the company is going. 
  • Strategy + visions – they need to be illustrated to your people so they will be reminded and focused. 
  • Make a habit to talk about it with your people. 
  • Align actions and beliefs. 

Then it begins with us: Building the Leadership Team

  • If you don’t have the values necessary, can you get them?
    • It takes time, have to plug into something new.
    • Transformation – changing your mind over a period of time. What you do consistently is an indicator of who you are. 
  • Take the idea, invest it in the small group around you, then they take it and invest in others. 
  • You have to start with the right people, not just for now but the people who will take you there. 
  • Forward thinking, not what we need now but how we can get you there. 
  • Leadership competencies, some are natural others are teachable. 
  • Leaders have to have the ability to be a follower. They must be teachable. 
  • Can work with anyone who can be trained. 
  • Spend time on the fit. Not just the talent. Can get carried away looking into someone’s talent without focusing on whether or not they are a good fit for what you need. This is such a challenge. 
  • Fit doesn’t mean that they are necessarily “like” you or not. You need diversity, but that can be uncomfortable. 
  • Need to have like values and like hearted…not like minded. Servant hearted leader. 
  • Hire people who want to get to the same destination. Find people who find different ways to reach the same goal. 
  • Are you as a leader allowing the freedom for employees to “run” their own path to the same destination? 
  • Life cycle of change, teams will vary. Blend of the senior management team needs to fit where you are at. 
  • Be slow to hire and quick to fire. 
  • Find the balance between too fast and too slow. Avoid the burn and turn. 
  • Need constant and consistent communication between leaders and teams. 
  • “Death” in business is an opportunity for renewal, a need to reinvent. 

Now what? – where do we go from here?

  • Set the strategy and don’t meddle, let the energy go. Let the ideas coalesce. 
  • Anchor yourself on principles, stay focused. If you are, you’re a light to others and won’t get washed away. 
  • Give the team time to look at how they’re doing what they’re doing. 
  • What are you running toward? If you’re not growing, you’re dying. 
  • How do you articulate yourself so you become the magnet & filter. Do this for yourself, how can you be honest with yourself. Listen to God, turn out the noise, be transparent with yourself to realize what you should do. 
  • Find the disconnect and fix it. 
  • It comes back to me as a leader, it’s a cycle. Need internal vitality spiritually. 

Kalamazoo, Friday, February 14, 2014

  • Help people understand the need for change, many different perspectives and experiences. 
  • If you don’t have a clear understanding of why, understand the options. 
  • Habits are difficult to break, lead by example. 
  • Generational change, structural change, staff changes. 
  • Have membership say and buy ins 
  • Passion aligns with the mission 
  • Starting the process of change.
    • Anytime you change, you have to have the vision, then get your team on board. Make sure your team understands that change is cultural.
  • The why, what & how of change.
  • Building your leadership team:
    • Need the right tools for the job.
    • Parts & pieces of putting together the team.
    • This is hard work, it’s not just going to happen
  • Be humble, admit that you don’t have all the answers
  • Bring others toward your own vision by understanding theirs.
  • Ask the right questions to the right people.
  • Like values, get the right people in the right positions and put them where they are strong and focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
  • Find a champion to take over tasks and let them own their own projects.
  • Change is complicated, must have a goal or dream. Must have a plan of how you are going to get there.
  • You need good role models and need to be organized and passionate.
  • Have confidence in your people and know who the natural leaders are in your pipeline. Always have an eye out for leadership and talent that are already in your organization.
  • Constant Communication, don’t filter them, keep problem solving team based. Good way for people to come together and solve problems. Team-based communication.
  • Let people come from different areas with different tools to collaborate and establish a common goal. Different paths, but the same goal.
  • Get input from the “bottom”
  • Have employee buy-in from communication
  • Need to be trust worthy, or people will not trust you with change. Trust is the foundation of any organizational change
  • Must be consistent over time


  • We try to make it too complicated, get back to the simple and time tested methods of change
  • Need an environment of risk taking
  • Have to have trust or the communication will be very negative
  • Team buy-in on change, help the team to see their part in it
  • Find areas of opportunity that need improvement
  • Trust, live our core values, a lifestyle…not just being at work. You are who you are.
  • Vulnerability- be open, take blame & credit

Grand Rapids, Tuesday, February 11, 2014

  1. It all begins with Me
    • Craft the vision
    • Articulate the vision
    • Live the vision
    • You change when……the pain NOT to change outweighs the pain to change
  1. The it begins with Us
    • Hire like-minded people
    • Hire people who are experts in their respective areas
    • Empower them
    • Build processes
    • Goals must be accountable (don’t do them if you cannot measure them)
    • Grow revenue / grow profit / grow employees / grow excellent customer service
    • Semi-annual vision talks to re-enforce the vision
    • Individual goals should link up with corporate goals (but also understand personal goals)
    • Performance Based

Detroit, Thursday, February 13, 2014

It Begins with Me:

Some change is forced by Government regulation.

Some change is led by the CEO.

Some change is brought about by GOD.

Change is often an unpredictable journey. If we allow change and shifts to occur within us, it opens us up to transformation.  We grow through the tough times if we will participate in the process rather than resist it.  Sometimes we need to go through a breakdown to get to a breakthrough.

Then It Begins with Us—Building the Leadership Team:

Leading your team through struggle and uncertainty rather than protecting them from it can help them grow and have a breakthrough.

Having the right team with the right values and focus increases the chance of a breakthrough.


Trust that if you are doing the right things, eventually you will see results.  Our timing and God’s time often are not in alignment.

Seek God’s direction through prayer daily (and hourly in some cases), to be guided to do His will and not ours.

Surrender can lead to a breakthrough.

Grand Rapids, Thursday, February 13

It begins with me:

1)      Managing Corporate Change and Transformation must begin with a commitment to invest time in my own Spiritual Development.  

  1. Prayer, Fellowship, and Bible study

2)      Without my own commitment to Spiritual Development, discerning between my own desires and Godly wisdom is comprised (at best) and impossible (at worst).

3)      Without that commitment I have no moral authority to lead by example.

4)      One must start (the process) well in order to finish (the process) well.

5)      Demonstrating the attitude of a servant-leader begins with me.

6)      A small bite of successful change beats a big belly full of failure, every time.  So, don’t be in too big of a hurry.


Building the Leadership Team

1)      Refine and clarify the goals, then clarify them, then clarify them again, and again and again.

2)      Effective Change Management and Transformation can only occur if we’ve been successful instilling trust in all the relationships across the leadership team.

3)      Clarifying the benefits for all those impacted by the organization (I.E. customers, stakeholders, shareholders, communities and employees) positions the leadership team to become servant leaders.

4)      Be willing to adjust stylistically toward accommodating preferences and gaining consensus.

5)      Be an immovable rock on core values, core principles and core competencies.

6)      Invest time in the Spiritual Development of the team.


The Take-Away – Now What?

1)      Unite the leadership team before rolling out to the entire organization.

2)      Identify areas of perceived fear and risk, then address them by answering the “WHY Questions” with confidence and clarity.

3)      Clarify and reiterate the benefits for all those impacted by the organization (I.E. customers, stakeholders, shareholders, communities and employees) to demonstrate being an organization full of servant leaders.

4)      Leave room for multi-generation-based feedback, appeal and adjustments to build consensus; as opposed to dictating in a parent-child-like framework.

5)      In all ways and all things demonstrate “Integrity at the Helm” (President Gerald Ford).

6)      Invest time in the Spiritual Development of everyone in the organization.