Enroll Leaders

How to Enroll Your Leadership Team

“We are too busy now…”

I have heard this so many times in the last couple of weeks. And rightly so. This pandemic has thrown almost every organization and its leaders into new and uncharted territories. In times like these, perhaps more than any other, it is important to ensure your leaders are enrolled and aligned.

This video outlines five simple steps you can follow to ensure your team is aligned and marching forward. Especially now as you might need to adjust your purpose and your plans, these steps can make the difference between an aligned team and one that is disjointed and cross-functionally dysfunctional.

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Dedicated to your profitable transformation,


How to Quell Detractors

How to Quell Detractors

Are you in the middle of a big change, or thinking about starting one? If so, watch this video to learn my five-step process to learn about and leverage those who might resist your change.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this video. Please go out to LinkedIn to add your comments.

How Transformational Leadership and OCM Work Together to Help you Succeed

You need both transformational leadership and strong change management to lead your transformation to success. Transformational leadership includes things you must do yourself to prepare you, your leadership and the organization to begin the work. Change management includes the day-to-day work your team will execute to drive the change forward. This includes communication, education, training, resistance assessments, risk evaluation and a myriad of other items focused on execution.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this video. Please go out to LinkedIn to add your comments.

Transformational Leadership Requires Repetitive Communication, Humility, and Belief

Michael Moyer is the Director, Wine and Viticulture Technology at Lake Michigan College (LMC) in Benton Harbor, Michigan. LMC boasts the only school of its kind in the Midwest to teach both grape growing and wine making. The operation, run by students, produces small batch wines. The program operates out of the new Welch Center, a new facility celebrated in an August 27 ribbon cutting ceremony.

Steve: Your history is fascinating. Please tell our readers a little about your entry into the wine business.

Michael: I attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. We had a study abroad program, and I opted to go to Dijon, France. At the time, all I knew about was mustard. I knew nothing about burgundy. I lived with a family there, and like most native French, there was a great deal of wine consumed. My first day there, the father took two five-gallon cans to town and filled them from big tanks. One red wine, the other white. This was their everyday wine. He had nicer wine in the cellar for guests and special occasions. I visited many wineries and barrel tasted many wines. I was hooked. When I returned home, I decided to enter the grape and wine program at the University of California – Davis. I began working in wineries in California and then Washington. I worked seven years at Walla Walla Community College, and then spent 5 vintages making wine for Figgins Family Wine Estates, producers of Leonetti, Figgins, and Doubleback (Doubleback has their own winery now).  I met the folks from Lake Michigan College while they were visiting Leonetti. They enticed me to consider working for their new grape and wine program. I was intrigued, but expected Michigan wines to be apple, cherry and sweet. They sent me a case of fantastic wine from three southwestern Michigan wineries and I was impressed. They were making high quality wines. I accepted LMC’s offer, and here I am!

Steve: What does it mean to you to be a transformational leader?

Michael: This is all about transforming the perception of Chicago wine consumers. This means transforming the way we do things in southwest Michigan, from vineyard selection and management to bottling our final products. I am passionate about the potential of southwest Michigan, and the opportunity to make world class wines is tremendous. This takes humility and requires teaching and coaching. You must be open minded and willing to try new ideas.

Steve: Tell me about a time when this was particularly challenging or rewarding for you. What was the situation, what did you do, how did it work out?

Michael: I was surprised at the culture here. Here we were conducting fund-raising events for our grape and wine center, and the organizers would not pour Michigan wines. I found myself repeating and reinforcing the notion that if we are trying to raise funds to raise the profile of our region, we ought to promote our own products. I had a few arguments about this but continued to “beat the drum” to bring folks along.

Steve: How did you clarify the purpose of your transformation?

Michael: We are consistent about our identity and our mission. We repeat this at every opportunity. This requires a great deal of education, communication and repetition. It also requires us to focus on making quality product.

Steve: In what ways did you experience cross-functional dysfunction, and how did you address this?

Michael: The leadership of LMC has generally been very supportive, but there were some exceptions that made it difficult. In addition to showcasing local wines, we also made it difficult for new students to engage with the program. College leaders were not convinced or aligned with the purpose of the program. We have resolved this with more repetitive communication.

Steve: Were there cultural attributes that made the transformation easier or more difficult?

Michael: Within LMC I have a great deal of support. My leader lets me do my job. She recognizes that she doesn’t know everything and lets me be the expert in the room. I also have great support from local industry leaders.

Regarding the area wineries, however, there was some vocal opposition to us selling our wines – those that came from the program and made by the students. Some viewed us a competitor, not collaborators. If you look across the most successful wine regions of the world, it’s about cooperation and working together to market a region. It’s not about one winery being better than another. We have a huge opportunity to make a name for southwest Michigan. We need to work together. This is improving, though we have a way to go.

Steve: How did you enroll others in the transformation?

Michael: At LMC, I just keep doing what I am doing, and repeating the message. I help others realize the importance of our work. And I give them time to sort it out in their own minds.

About the area wineries, I don’t let the argument amplify. We can agree to disagree. I stay my course. I seek common ground where possible. Most are supportive.

Steve: Please comment on organizational challenges you faced, both structural and behavioral. (structural = team structure and make up; behavioral = trust, conflict, humility, etc.)

Michael: My mantra has always been to do what is best for the industry here in southwest Michigan. Sometimes I need to reflect on this and make sure I’m focused in this manner. This requires humility and introspection.

Steve: How did you become more of a coach?

Michael: I believe in what we are doing. I believe in the mission. I believe the best way to achieve the goal is to be collaborative. Get along. Agree to disagree, but don’t be disrespectful, and operate from that platform. We must recognize that if we’re going to put southwestern Michigan on the map, we are dependent upon each other.

Steve: If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?

Michael: Be a good team player. Invest in the right people. Take care of them. You get what you pay for – extra investment goes a long way. Organizations sell themselves short when they skimp.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please go out to LinkedIn to add your comments.

How hierarchical adherence can slow down your transformation

I’m in the middle of reading General Stanley Chrystal’s, Team of Teams. One concept he describes in the book is how our historically hierarchical organizational structures stand in the way of our ability to move quickly when called upon. Putting this in layman’s terms, employees in one function feel constrained to speak with employees in other functions unless they go through their chain of command. This exponentially adds time delay that can be devastating to customer metrics. Incidentally, this issue is one of the predominant reasons it took so long to deal with the Iraq war.

When I counsel with executives about implementing their strategies to transform their organization, one of the cultural elements we discuss is “hierarchical adherence.” How much do employees follow their chains of command versus how freely they feel to simply pick up the phone or walk over to speak with a colleague in another function? You would think that in order to quickly implement transformational change, you would want everything neat and tidy, organizationally speaking. Clear roles with clear accountabilities, including clear hand-offs between functions. Not so.

Fine-tuning your cross-functional dysfunction does not mean making it go away. It means having enough alignment at the top to ensure employees are marching toward the same purpose, but not spelling out every detail of every transaction. The more you encourage employees to work out their needs, the stronger the connections they will have. When the time comes to implement a big transformation, they will have established better working relationships across the organization. This accelerates their ability to clarify unknowns and determine and support each other’s needs.

In the late 1800s, Fredrick Taylor revolutionized industry by driving greater efficiency through highly structured processes and organizations to support them. This served us well for a century or more. For us to remain competitive, however, we need to transform our organizations quickly to adapt to the environments in which we work. You can prepare for your next transformation by enrolling your employees early to work together, understand their respective impacts, and devise their own plan to accomplish your purpose.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,



Why resistance is not only good, it is necessary

In many of my speeches I ask audience members to tell me what they think when they hear or see the word RESISTANCE. I receive answers such as: negative, unwanted, bad, slows things down, troublemaker, opposition, defiant or struggle. One time, a woman answered, “Necessary.”

She was right. Resistance is not only good, it’s necessary. Oftentimes executives begin executing their strategy and they might not know all the answers about what’s going on in their organization. They may overlook something or may not have considered an important prerequisite. Somewhere in the organization, there is someone who has overlooked something and not considered an important prerequisite. On the surface, this person might be thought of as a resister, yet they hold one of the keys to the leader’s success.

In one transformation in which I was involved, the leaders overlooked an important infrastructural requirement. They did not realize it until they took the time to speak with a group of employees previously considered “problematic.” Together, they identified the problem and implemented a solution.

Seek out resistance in your transformation. Here’s a simple outline to follow:

  1. Actively seek out those in your organization who are resistant to your transformation. Start with your immediate leadership team. Ask them about pockets of resistance. Go deeper from there.
  2. Ask don’t tell. When you find your resisters, now is not the time to advocate your cause as it will only turn people off. Start by asking questions to dig into their resistance. Be careful with asking WHY questions as these sometimes convey judgement. One of my favorite questions is “What are we missing?”
  3. Identify and document. List concerns, issues and risks that surface. Do this in front of the resisters, showing them that you are actively listening and genuinely concerned.
  4. Follow through. Nothing kills credibility like telling your employees that you’re going to do something, and then you don’t. Close off each of the items that surface, and report back about the disposition and progress. For items requiring a longer resolution time, add them to the project plan and ensure resolution.
  5. Enroll the resisters. I have found that those who are resistant often become your most passionate supporters. Give them a meaningful role during the transformation. One client gave them a role as spokesperson. There are few opening lines more powerful than, “I used to think this wasn’t a good idea, but I changed my mind when….”

By following this simple five-step approach, you will fuel your transformation to move along faster, and enroll employees whose enthusiasm and passion for the change will help enroll others throughout your organization.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,



How risk tolerance impacts your transformational success

After doing this work for decades I’ve learned how various cultural factors impact an organizations ability to be successful with large scale transformational change.

One cultural factor is risk tolerance. I have learned that the more risk tolerance the organization, and its leaders, the greater the probability is of successful transformational change. Incidentally, success is defined as meeting the objectives of the transformation in the timeframe specified, and that it is sustainable for the long term.

The greater the risk tolerance, the more likely the organization will be to try new ideas and approaches. Executives are more willing to engage with employees to discuss opportunities related to the transformation. Further, executives are more willing to put the execution of the transformation in the hands of the employees.

This means that executives must be secure in their leadership to experiment and innovate, and they must be more willing to give up their leadership to others in their organization. The more frontline employees are enrolled in the execution of the transformation the greater the sustainability.

Call to action: if you are leading a transformational change, ask yourself this question. Are you hoarding the leadership, or are you taking greater risk to enroll your leadership team and your frontline employees to help drive the change?

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,


How to prepare your transformation to achieve phenomenal success

Last week I described how transformational leadership and organizational change management (OCM) work together to drive phenomenal success. Let’s take another look this week. The matrix above demonstrates what happens when you have one or the other, both or neither.

Phenomenal Success: When you have both strong leadership and a solid OCM plan, you are likely to have phenomenal success, and will probably exceed your targets. Who doesn’t like this?

Looks Good on Paper: When you have solid leadership but don’t have a good approach for OCM, you and your leadership team are likely aligned on your measurable outcomes, but you will struggle to achieve them because the rest of your organization is to some degree left behind.

Aimless Wander: When you have a solid OCM plan but weak overall leadership. It’s hard to imagine, but I’ve seen this happen. It usually results in some areas implementing better than others. Overall, though, the organization is unclear about the long-term impact, and the transformation struggles.

Failure. This one is obvious. If your transformation lacks leadership and enough OCM, you will go nowhere.

Call to action: Use this as a self-assessment. Determine how your last transformational initiative performed. Use your self-assessment combined with last week’s post to determine the steps you need to take to ensure success with your next transformation.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,


How the sight of first snow is a model for engaging employees during transformation

At the sight of our first snow of the season, my wife exclaimed how happy it made her feel. I asked her why. She explained that children from her home town of Zhuzhou Hunan China were always thrilled when it snowed. Being from a southern province, snow was rare.

She went on to say the children looked forward to snowball fights, building snowmen and creating snow angels. Snow is an agent of transformation. It creates excitement. It transforms the world from a place where children exist within, to a place in which they can interact. Snow gives them an outlet to move from current state to a new exciting state.

The same is true with your transformation. When you provide opportunities for your employees to engage with the transformation, you provide opportunities to excite, interact and create. The greatest value from transformational change occurs when more employees adapt to the changes faster and more thoroughly.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,



How to develop trust that in turn promotes organizational transformation

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post that discussed the need to develop more trust to be successful in driving transformations. The feedback I received suggested the article offered ways to demonstrate trust, and my readers wanted to know more about how to develop trust.

Coincidentally, the news lately has been filled with stories of leaders stepping down due to one indiscretion or another. Leaders of industry, government, education and others. I will leave the debate about why they stepped down to the media and others. Instead, let’s address the fundamental underpinnings.

About 15 years ago, I added a leadership component to my work in guiding organizational transformations. The model I developed started with character, based on true principles. These true principles include internal drivers such as humility, positivity, and balance. These in turn promote external focuses including service orientation and belief in others.

All these features drive to one’s ability to garner trust – or to be trustworthy.

  1. You develop humility by recognizing that you don’t have all the answers, and that you must rely on your team to impart their knowledge.
  2. Positivity is developed by looking at the glass as at least half-full. Yes, it’s important to recognize and manage risk, but your team is looking to you to guide them through the unknown. Stay on course to achieve your transformative vision. Look for the positives and accentuate them.
  3. Develop balance personally and in the office. Yes, there are times when work demands a few extra hours but make this the exception and not the norm. Exercise. Breathe. Meditate. In the office, be sure you allocate time to be creative and to renew. Don’t go to lunch every day with the same people. Mix it up.
  4. Serve others. Ensure your leadership includes helping others. This can be as simple as coaching someone through a difficult decision. Be sure you are rightfully taking on issues to resolve and follow through. Serving others includes holding people accountable. Don’t let commitments slip through the cracks.
  5. Believe in others. You have a team for a reason. They are there to help you run the organization. Trust them to do their job. Put measures in place to gauge performance but stay out of the way.

These are the underpinnings to leadership I believe are the most important for leaders to develop to successfully drive transformative change. How do you measure up? Are you a transformative leader? Drop me a note if you’d like to discuss this further.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,