One Man’s Opinion of the Six Step Process – A Follow-up

A follow-up to a book report published in July 2013: One Man’s Opinion of the Six Step Process

Faithful readers will recall that back in July, I received a “book report” from a sales executive I happened to meet on an airplane.  By the time we landed in Chicago, my new colleague was most interested in reading my book and implementing its lessons.  Unfortunately, like so many men and women of intelligence and character I have met over the years, my friend was in a situation wherein the senior leadership said all of the right things — “we must change,” “we are committted to excellence,” “our people are our most important asset,” and many of the other similar examples of corporate speak.  Yet, in reality, they lack the courage to truly do what is necessary to achieve their objectives.

In July, as you can see, we were most pleased to publish his “book report” — his assessment of the Six Steps.  His “Book Report — One Man’s Opinion of the Six Step Process” nailed it as well as anyone I have met over the years.  Many others have agreed after reading it.

Since then, I have heard from my friend as he attempted to convince his leadership of the merits of our Six Steps and how they could be used to effect the change and achieve the excellence sought by the organization.  Unfortunately, he found his leadership in denial — a condition all too often found in senior executives.  I knew that he was now faced with the dilemma faced by many others in the same situation — the realization that he was in the wrong organization.  Now, what to do about it?

“A” individuals will not work in “B” organizations.

Well, as fate would have it, I chanced to meet my friend again on a flight.  Over a beer, he explained that he was returning from meeting for the final time with his boss before taking a position with another organization — one that will value his intelligence and character.  He had learned his lesson – “A” individuals will not work in “B” organizations.  Over time, they will either be pushed out or leave.  The result will be the same — the slow demise of the organization as it enters its death spiral.  It may take some time, but it is inevitable.

The following is an update to his book report.  Again, I offer it to you without attribution for all of the obvious reasons. You may read it as an outstanding example of the reality of the change process and the challenge presented to those who seek excellence in the real world.

I am not concerned about my colleague — he will find his opportunity to lead a fortunate organization to excellence.  The losers are those he left behind, especially those in the senior leadership positions.  How many more “As” are they going to lose before they figure it out?  And, once they do, what are they going to do about it?

Sadly, the track record is not good.

What is going on in your organization?

Book Report Adendum –As Provided By Its Author

A couple of months ago I sent you a “book report” on Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven. I’m sending you this note as a quick follow-up.

My company is pretty darn good; in fact, I think we are one of the stronger players in our industry. However, I also believe we are miles away from excellence. Therefore, I saw your book and the 6-step system to achieve organizational excellence as the perfect framework for reaching our full potential. I shared my book report with my business unit President and with my business unit CEO and recommended they too read your book. Unfortunately, I found my efforts to truly spark an effort towards excellence to be ineffective. Don’t get me wrong, both individuals preached achieving excellence. Where I failed was to help them see the need for a true value based community and principle based / participative decision making process.

Here is the twist and what I believe may be an unexpected outcome from you writing your book. I decided to resign from the company. A second twist; the business unit CEO did read your book and shortly after my resignation, he announced his retirement.

Individuals are not obligated to stay in an environment that is not special or appealing.

Your work empowered me to adhere to my own values and not accept an environment where me and my team could not prosper. I commented in my original “book report” relative to “calling the question” that it is a privilege for people to be part of a special community using the analogy of the oath for a military officer. It hit me, the converse is also true; individuals are not obligated to stay in an environment that is not special or appealing hence I opted out.

I undoubtedly will be in a new position soon. I will carry with me additional confidence and a commitment to creating an environment that leads to excellence. I appreciate the wisdom you’ve shared in your book and look forward to continuing our relationship.

I hope you understand I do need to remain anonymous. I do not want anyone to interpret my personal decision as a reflection on my corporation. My initial report and this follow-up note do not provide sufficient context to understand my corporation and are certainly one-sided. As I’ve stated many times; I worked for a very good company. I simply am choosing to find an environment that will be committed to excellence.

Best regards!

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