Leading For Change
February 26, 2007

Economic Notes:

This Weeks Leads:



The CEO's role in leading transformation

The CEO (Mayor, Chair, Director) helps a transformation succeed by communicating its significance, modeling the desired changes, building a strong top team, and getting personally involved.

In today’s business environment, companies cannot settle for incremental improvement; they must periodically undergo performance transformations to get, and stay, on top. But in the volumes of pages on how to go about implementing a transformation, surprisingly little addresses the role of one important person. What exactly should the CEO be doing, and how different is this role from that of the executive team or the initiative’s sponsors?

As the interviews in this publication show, there is no single model for success. Moreover, the exact nature of the CEO’s role will be influenced by the magnitude, urgency, and nature of the transformation; the capabilities and failings of the organization; and the personal style of the leader.

Despite these variations, our experience with scores of major transformation efforts, combined with research we have undertaken over the past decade, suggests that four key functions collectively define a successful role for the CEO in a transformation:

  1. Making the transformation meaningful. People will go to extraordinary lengths for causes they believe in, and a powerful transformation story will create and reinforce their commitment. The ultimate impact of the story depends on the CEO’s willingness to make the transformation personal, to engage others openly, and to spot- light successes as they emerge.
  2. Role-modeling desired mind-sets and behavior. Successful CEOs typically embark on their own personal transformation journey. Their actions encourage employees to support and practice the new types of behavior.
  3. Building a strong and committed top team. To harness the transformative power of the top team, CEOs must make tough decisions about who has the ability and motivation to make the journey.
  4. Relentlessly pursuing impact. There is no substitute for CEOs rolling up their sleeves and getting personally involved when significant financial and symbolic value is at stake.

Everyone has a role to play in a performance transformation. The role of CEOs is unique in that they stand at the top of the pyramid and all the other members of the organization take cues from them. CEOs who give only lip service to a transformation will find everyone else doing the same. Those who fail to model the desired mind-sets and behavior or who opt out of vital initiatives risk seeing the transformation lose focus. Only the boss of all bosses can ensure that the right people spend the right amount of time driving the necessary changes.

Making the transformation meaningful

Transformations require extraordinary energy: employees must fundamentally rethink and reshape the business while continuing to run it day to day. Where does this energy come from? A powerful transformation story helps employees believe in the effort by answering their big questions, which can range from how the transformation will affect the company down to how it will affect them. The story’s ultimate impact will depend on not just having compelling answers to these questions but also the CEO’s willingness and ability to make things personal, to engage others openly, and to spotlight successes as they emerge.

Continued next week

Source: McKinsey & Company, Inc.


I thought the attached piece on The CEO's (Mayor's, Chair's, Director's) role in leading transformation was timely and worth sharing.


Bob Springmeyer

Bonneville Research

  • Economic Notes:
  • Source: Economy.com, Financial Times

  • This Weeks Leads:
    • MC Sports
    • MC Sports, a 77-unit chain operates locations throughout IL, IN, MI, MO, OH and WI.
    • The stores, selling a full line of sporting goods, shoes and accessories, occupy spaces of 13,000 sq.ft. to 22,000 sq.ft. in freestanding locations, malls, power and strip centers.
    • Growth opportunities are sought throughout the existing markets during the coming 18 months.
    • For details, contact
      • Gerald Klein,
      • MC Sports,
      • 3070 Shafer Avenue Southeast,
      • Grand Rapids, MI 49512;
      • 616-285-1602,
      • Fax 616-942-2786;
      • Web site: www.mcsports.com
    • 54th Street Grill
    • 54th Street Grill operates 14 locations throughout the Midwest region.
    • The casual dining restaurants occupy spaces of 5,200 sq.ft. to 5,300 sq.ft. in freestanding locations.
    • Plans call for four to five openings throughout MO, NC and SC during the coming 18 months.
    • The company prefers to locate in high-traffic areas near lifestyle and high-end shopping centers with a trade-area population earning $75,000 as the median family income.
    • Mail site submittals to:
        Tom Norsworthy,
      • 54th Street Grill,
      • 5921 Northwest Barry Street, Suite 300,
      • Kansas City, MO 64154;
      • Web site: www.54thstreetgrill.com.
    • Panera Bread, El Pollo Loco
    • Doherty Enterprises, Inc. trades as Panera Bread at 14 locations throughout NY.
    • The casual dining restaurants occupy spaces of 4,200 sq.ft. to 5,000 sq.ft. in malls and freestanding locations, as well as power and strip centers.
    • Plans call for six openings throughout Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens and Staten Island, NY during the coming 18 months.
    • The company requires a land area of 1.5 acres for freestanding units.
    • The company also trades as El Pollo Loco and has 30 sites in development throughout central and northern NJ and Long Island, NY.
    • The restaurants occupy spaces of 3,000 sq.ft. in freestanding locations with a drive-thru.
    • Growth opportunities are sought throughout the existing markets during the coming 18 months.
    • Doherty Enterprises, Inc. trades as Applebee’s at 51 locations throughout central and northern NJ, as well as Long Island, NY.
    • The casual dining restaurants occupy spaces of 6,000 sq.ft. in malls and freestanding locations, in addition to power and strip centers.
    • Plans call for five openings throughout the existing markets during the coming 18 months.
    • Typical leases run 20 years with options.
    • The company has a land area requirement of two acres for freestanding units.
    • Chili’s and T.G.I. Fridays are cited as major competitors.
    • For more information, contact
      • Tim Doherty,
      • Doherty Enterprises, Inc.,
      • 7 Pearl Court
      • Allendale, NJ 07401;
      • 201-818-4669,
      • Fax 201-818-0807;
      • Web site: www.elpolloloco.com.

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