The Dark Arts of Change

Blog
28.10.20

In the latest episode of The Change Society Podcast, Pat Lynes chats with CIO Tony Sweeney

The art of change hasn’t changed in thousands of years. The tools have changed, but humanity hasn’t.

How you lead a tech programme is the same as how you might have led a Roman army, how Abraham Lincoln led in the American Civil War and how the great kings of the Middle Ages led.

The fundamentals of leadership haven’t changed.

We are putting the tools and the technology and our own thoughts on methodology on a pedestal. We are not concentrating enough on the internal troops around vision, power, courage, compromise and risk.

When building a change team, you need to think about soft skills. The pessimist, the driver, the visionary, the organiser. All the dynamics need to be covered so you don’t miss anything. Then of course, cover your weaknesses.

The four eternal truths of change
  1. Every successful leader has had a clear vision. In history, there have been some very bad visions, but they are always very clear and they really wanted it. It’s impossible without clarity of vision along with belief/desire.
  2. Then you have to be aligned with power. You can access power because you have it yourself, or you are a person who’s close to power. Some of the greatest women in history were able to drive a vision and implement change by influencing others. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Eleanor Roosevelt are two classic examples-  they knew how to align with power and influence through that.
  3. You need the ability to compromise. If you hang on too tightly to your idea and what you want, you won’t get anywhere. The great leaders have found a path through – 70/80% is good enough.
  4. Understanding risk in a true way. What are the consequences for my company, my team and myself?
Why Change is Hard

People like to think of change as just a building block, a series of tools to implement and once you’ve done it, your business has changed. They do that because it’s comforting, simple, fast and they can put it in a box. However, to change a business, they need to change themselves, their culture, the structure, the way people think, the hiring, the product set and so on. That’s all very tiring.

The real change is to change the people and that’s what we need to focus on.

Timecodes

1.17 Tony’s expertise and background

1.58 Dark arts of change (maybe the true art)

3.09 Is technology just hype in regard to change?

5.00 The skills of a leader haven’t changed in 1000s of years

6.54 Why is change so hard today and what could we learn from the past?

10.50 Why military leaders are so effective

11.01 What makes a great change team?

15.03 Why do you love doing what you do?

15.51 What are the eternal truths of change

19.30 How does aligning yourself to power work practically?

20.50 84% of transformations fail – we’ve forgotten the core principles of leadership

22.52 The word transformation in 2020

24.32 The word digital

25.37 Agile is just a tool

26.38 Why companies treat change as a commodity?

30.38 Best leadership advice you’ve ever received

If you’re interested to hear more about how Sullivan & Stanley attacks the change problem and how we empower companies to embrace disruption to thrive tomorrow, check out our services page. Or get in touch.

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Written by Pat Lynes