Sunday Quote : John Kotter

“I can still vividly remember sitting in a meeting of a dozen senior managers in a severely underperforming European corporation and listening to an intellectual debate that might have played well at Harvard (…) Unfortunately both analysis of alleged competitor mistakes and the rather abstract discussion of “strategy” avoided confronting any of the firm’s key problems. Predictably, no decision of any consequence was made at the end of the meeting since you can’t make important decisions without talking about the real issues.”

John Kotter is Professor of leadership at Harvard Business School. He wrote Leading Change, the classic essay about change management which I can’t recommend enough and from which this quote comes from.  To be completely honest I would love to know, and won’t be surprised, if this European meeting happened in France.

This sounds like a wonderful echo to this quote from Michael Ballé interview [FR] :

As long as debates are carried out in a meeting room based on reports or analysis (and not on actual facts and problems), we can bet without taking much risks that the output will be a political compromise that will not take either customers or employees into account and that will not do anything to improve the company situation.

Bottom line : you want to be a leader and improve your business in a time of permanent change ? Read Les Citations du Dimanche, be brave and confront problems.

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