March Round Table Notes

April 2, 2014

Topic: Achieving Growth through Change Management and Transformation.

 Kalamazoo, Tuesday Round Table

Our Challenge:

    1. Be aware of blind spots, surround yourself with people who help you to see them.
    2. Getting the team to adapt to change at the speed I want to change. Institute change in baby steps. Managing the time at which you roll out change.
    3. Our natural tendencies are to stay the same. Not all changes are good. How do you identify which changes are actually going to benefit your organization? Weed out the good/bad ideas. We have difficulty because people have a basic human need to maintain the status quo.
    1. How to engage a leader in helping them transform their company. How to engage their people to bring them along with the change.
    1. Example of leadership – they’ll follow what you do. They look to you for leadership. Lead by example.
    2. Time of business is changing. Skilled employees are changing. Very much in the time of change. How do you get people on board.
    3. High turnover. People don’t have any stability in their lives. Their whole life has been transitional. Skill development. At some point you have to stop just putting out the fires everyday.
    4. Every company is very different. Now you have 6-10 jobs over the course of your career. Major challenge is we expect people to move around, and expect people to come with the same values you already have established in your company.
    5. Know what the reality is, start with the reality and move forward.
    6. Culture, competitive environment. Solid culture is not as easy to come by today.
    7. Paradigm, cultural differences.
    1. Reality is it’s a different culture. Find a way to work within it & drive change slowly.
    1. Transformation happens from within. Let your people be part of the transformation.
    2. Servant leadership
    3. Help everyone connect and really understand what their contribution is.
    1. Hiring. Why would you hire a “c” person. Employment is a contract.
    1. Have to prepare yourself to contribute, this needs to be part of the “common sense” of the culture. This is larger than the business. This goes back to the school, homes, and community.
    1. Employees need a vested interest in the company.
    1. Contract, what do we owe people.
    2. Agonizing, these are good people, but they’re no longer a fit.
    3. What would happen if we remove the phrase “I deserve” from our vocabulary?
    4. 10% A 65% B 25% C employees
    1. Cannot have any “c” employees on the management team. This will suck the life out of the others.
    1. Recognize that sometimes the key players need to move really fast. Sometimes leaders just need to get out of their way and let them flourish.

The Solution

    1. Change is difficult and accepting the reality is the first step.
    1. You’re perfectly designed to get the results you’re getting, is this good enough?
    1. Need to understand how you’re getting to the end result.
    1. Be in tune with your company, key part of good leadership. Making those small changes before they become problems.
    1. If companies don’t anticipate the change and move faster, they won’t survive. There aren’t the margins to not change anymore.
    1. Constant awareness of how the company/employees are doing. Recognize there are personal struggles. How do those two work together?
    1. Not as much what it is, but what should it be.
    1. Agreement on what the reality is.
    1. Each individual needs to recognize they contribute to the profits of the company.
    2. Small changes before it becomes a big problem.
    1. Incremental changes, significant changes can’t be fully prepared, but well engaged.
    1. Respond, not react to challenges.
    2. Change is always necessary, but need to focus on the good changes. Keep your goal in mind as you make decisions so you’re not walking blindly.
    1. Real challenge is hiring.

Kalamazoo, Friday Round Table


    1. Start with key leaders. They have to be growth minded. Leader has to let go and trust.
    2. Need to embrace emerging technology. Have to involve the whole time to innovate. Leader has to see value in it. Embrace new technology, need team buy in.
    1. Have to change the culture of everyone so the thinking is different.
    1. When given the choice of change or death, change doesn’t sound so bad.
    1. Give your people the tools to change.
    1. Timing is really important, wisdom to discern, have to be more thoughtful in why it went down.
    2. Sometimes you only have to change a little to make a huge difference, other time you have to do a complete 180.
    3. Listening and investing in your human capital to achieve growth.
    1. None of us like change, but if you don’t change you will go backwards.
    1. Like change when they’re part of the process. Listen to your people. When your people are a part of the process, they’re much more likely to be on board.
    1. Management team decides, but employees have to see they have input. Got to know people through focus groups, these can really help drive change.
    1. You get so busy doing what your doing, don’t have the mental time in the here and now to move forward.
    1. The vision is important, so that you have the constant reminder of where you want to go.
    2. This allows you to be proactive rather than reactive to a situation.
    3. If you ask for an employees opinion and don’t consider it, you should have not asked. This destroys the trust.

The Solution:

    1. Embrace change and use what you have to reach clients.
    2. Empower your people. See the importance in everyone’s role, not just the people in management.
    3. Incentivize productivity changes. People want to inspire.
    1. Sometimes the leaderships vision is different from the people. Find out what the people you serve want.
    1. Don’t let your idea get in the way of the right idea.
    1. Leader has to have the buy in.
    1. Get a variety of input for new ideas, don’t just go to people in the same industry. Take systems from other things that work.
    2. It’s the little things that make your team great.
    3. Have to go with your gut, intuition. Creates friction may not be comfortable.
    1. See through the noise to find out what your people want.
    1. ROI
    2. Consider the expense and the revenue. Residual each month. Look at alternative sources of data.


    1. Involvement of the employees in the process. How to involve everyone, not just whoever’s in the office next to you.
    2. Change is better than death.
    3. Got to have buy in for change.
    1. Incorporating everyone.
    1. Shared vision, even with remote locations, avoid step child syndrome. Electronic communications to increase communication.
    2. Intuition of personality types.
    3. Look up and recognize the time to change. How to take hours to move to change.
    1. Share the success.
    1. Leaders need to let go.

Grand Rapids, Tuesday Round Table

Talking Points:

  •  Must have exciting message / vision
  • Dream Big and share the message
  • Market forces drive change
  • Luxury of pressure
  • Technology impact can force change
  • Build / maintain the right culture
  • Focus on the “who” before the “how”
  • Senior leaders must always anticipate change and how to react
  • Availability of good / right people continues to be a challenge
  • The pain to change must outweigh the pain not to change
  • Discuss alignment of corporate goals / achievement with personal goals – maximizes results