Leading and Managing Change
Conversation with the Maestro
Change is the only constant knocking on our doors consistently but what is inconsistent is the avalanche of often conflicting advice from the many books and articles on the subject available today. One main reason for that is that many of these were created to enrich their writers and were penned by non-practitioners who have never led or managed a change engagement of any noteworthy scale in their lives but who generate abstract, textbookish and academic theories while perched in their gilded cages or on top of their ivory towers. Their aim is to cash in on the subject of change and they seem gratified to confuse and obfuscate rather than to share and educate. Hardly surprisingly since change seems to be a fashionable buzzword these days and every Tom, Dick and Harry, Mary and Jane is fighting to climb on board the bandwagon.
This book is based on an extended and candid interview – presented in a Q&A style – with Dr Michael Loh, an ex-IBM Executive Consultant, a published author and an acknowledged authority on the psychology of change. Dr Loh, who has academic degrees in psychology, communications and international business, had personally led almost all major IBM consulting projects in the Asia Pacific region involving monumental change. Here’s all you need to know about change straight from the source. Dr Michael Loh demystifies change in this informative, enlightening and entertaining book. He removes the superfluous and provides insight and tips on what really works.
“Understand the immensity and the scale of something that you are undertaking…if you really want to lead change and make it happen, you cannot lead from a position of weakness or reluctance. You need to make decisions that may prove difficult and painful even to yourselves.”
“Is the mainstream world prepared for Bitcoin? Nope, financial experts and bankers and monetary authorities all over the world were caught with their pants down. The emergence of the Bitcoin could well be an event that could be anticipated way before. But when Bitcoin became a tradable currency, the rest of the world started falling over themselves trying to deal with it.”
“HR, overall, needs a major revamp. HR managers all over talk to others in condescending terms often saying rubbish like ‘we are the custodians of organizational conscience’ and all the rest of it. It’s time they descend from their ivory towers in the clouds, get real and do some real work to justify their existence. In my experience most HR people are chronic slackers who cringe at the thought of doing real work to solve a problem.”
“Look at these officials at Malaysia Airlines’ press conferences. They are sons of prime ministers, cousins from the same village, peers, the ‘abang-adik’ relationships, the old school tie, the old boys network. Yeah, everyone is insidiously and incestuously related. Under scrutiny by aggressive foreign media asking ‘in-your-face’ questions versus the docile, brown-nosing domestic journalists they are used to control like puppets on a string, and under the glare of international spotlight they fumbled, contradicted themselves, backtracked on statements previously issued and they crumbled. To rub salt in the wound, they seemed to think they’ve done superbly well.”
“Remember the creepy and revolting Grima Wormtongue in the Lord of the Rings who had Theoden, King of Rohan eating out of his hands? (Wormtongue was the king’s counselor when in truth he was the servant of Saruman.) Coaches are at their most destructive when they win the CEO’s ear. This puts them in a position to wield great power over an entire organization.”
“CEOs didn’t become CEOs because they are comedians at heart, so whatever they say always have a ring of plausibility to them, but I would be leery…CEOs don’t know everything.”
“The Sewol ferry sinking in Korea was a tragedy that could have been prevented. Cushy corporate-government ties allow real culprits to get away with murder, just like those coal mine deaths in Turkey. When governments refuse to punish the head honchos of certain companies, and protect them instead, you can expect calamity to happen.”
“Leadership must bite the bullet to do things differently, be bold to do things differently, think the unthinkable, do the unthinkable, and be prepared for casualties.”
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