Stacking the Deck: How to Lead Breakthrough Change Against Any Odds
David S. Pottruck
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Change is a constant, and leaders must do more than keep up—they must innovate and accelerate to succeed. Yet people are often unnerved by change. As a leader during a time of transformation, you may stand up before teams that are indifferent, or even hostile, and need to convince them that change is necessary and urgent. More than money, time, or resources, the ability to lead these people determines your ultimate success or failure. What does it take to be an effective change leader and increase the odds of success?
Stacking the Deck offers a proven, practical approach for inspiring meaningful, lasting change across an organization. Stacking the Deck presents a nine-step course of action leaders can follow from the first realization that change is needed through all the steps of implementation, including assembling the right team of close advisors and getting the word out to the wider group.
Based on Dave Pottruck's experiences leading change as CEO of Charles Schwab and later as chairman of CorpU and HighTower Advisors, these steps provide a guide to ensure that your change initiative and your team have the best possible shot at success. In addition, established business leaders who have led extraordinary change initiatives demonstrate the steps in action. These executives include eBay CEO John Donahoe, Wells Fargo former CEO Dick Kovacevich, Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz, San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer, JetBlue CEO Dave Barger, Asurion CEO Steve Ellis, Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves, and Intel's President Renee James, among others.
Leading an organization through major change—whether it's the introduction of a new product, an expansion to a new territory, or a difficult downsizing—is not for the faint of heart. While success is never guaranteed, the right leadership, process, and team make all the difference. For all leaders facing major change in their organizations, Stacking the Deck is an indispensable resource for putting the odds in your favor.
problems early and deal with them before they fester, since without intervention the problem will only get worse. A toxic person who does great work may make you look good for a while. But bear in mind that even with counseling and training, when people are under pressure they often default to old, negative habits. Let this go on too long and your own leadership will soon be called into question: what kind of leader sacrifices the unity and cohesion of the team? Do corporate values matter or
monitoring of “metrics that matter.” His final comment was clear: “Big data is an immensely powerful competitive weapon, but like any weapon, it needs to be aimed at the right target.” After my conversation with Steve, I spoke with Jim Hornthal, cofounder and chairman of Zignal Labs, a big data analytics company that effectively rents solutions to companies that are unable to build these solutions on their own. He offered an alternative approach, recalling that many of us “grew up in a world
of analytics as we strive to use the newly available data most effectively. Charts and graphs now exist on TV monitors and can be updated in real time. Other approaches to data visualization need to be considered as a critical part of the monitoring and analytics process. Additionally, new tools such as “word clouds” and “heat maps” are powerful ways to look at data that would otherwise be difficult to digest and end up as “noise” rather than insight. (Sample word clouds and heat maps are shown
rather heartening that time and again, the people I interviewed—leaders across all fields in businesses around the world—reinforced just how much more difficult leading breakthrough change is than anyone anticipates. More than money, time, or resources, it's your ability to lead people, your tenacity, and your grit that will determine your ultimate success or failure. Before communicating about the change, be sure you fully understand what the change represents to all of the groups who will be
Francisco General Hospital Rebuild Campaign with his wife, Pam. Dave Barger is the CEO of JetBlue airlines. He was part of the founding team in 1998, serving as its president and chief operating officer until becoming CEO in 2007. Dave subsequently also assumed the title of president in 2009. David started in the aviation industry in 1982 with New York Air, moving to Continental Airlines in 1988, where he held a series of senior management positions, including vice president, Newark Hub. Dave