Transformational Change: How to Create a Winning BizAv Organization

Author By Jim Lara

We’re now moving on to the fourth in our Survival Change Keys series. In the preceding three blogs, we talked about the first three of 10keys—or steps—to effect successful transformational change.

To review, Key No. 1 focuses on getting everyone’s attention by creating a compelling sense of urgency, and Key No. 2 is about solidifying top-level support for the change initiative.

Key No. 3 reviews aspects of organizational cultural change by highlighting “touchstones for change.”

And,this month,Key No.4 tells us how to create a winning bizav organization.

There’s nothing,absolutely nothing, that invigorates individuals and organizations more than achieving stellar success.For the purposes of our discussion, let’s call it “winning.”

Say, for example,you’re leading a flight department meeting,and you ask a very simple question, such as:“Who enjoys participating on a losing team?”

Then you ask for a show of hands.

I’d wager that you will see several quizzical faces and not a single raised hand.

That’s because everyone knows that losing is a negative and winning is fun. It’s energizing. It enables people to see bigger possibilities.

What does a Winning Bizav Organization Look Like?

Maybe your bizav organization isn’t a top achiever at the moment. But you’re working on it by having taken the first steps in the course of transformational leadership.

Among those initial steps, you have established some big performance objectives that tie into those of the host corporation. We refer to that as planting the flag on the next hill.

Congratulations! Now, it’s time to really accelerate things.

You should start the “race to success” by clearly describing, in very visceral language, what“winning” will mean to and for the organization as a whole.

Yes, that’s pretty theoretical, so you are going to have to make it really personal.

How are you going to accomplish that?

Start by defining,with your leadership team,what “winning” will mean, in practical and material terms,to and for each individual in the organization.

Yes,you will be answering that age-old question:“What’s in it for me”(WIIFM).

Taking these first steps will have the most impact if you tie individual rewards to achieving a greater purpose for the organization. I’m referring to something much bigger than what could be accomplished by a single individual.

This means, of course, that you,as an aviation leader, must have a very solid understanding of the people whom you are leading.

During transformational change at the organizational level,it’s quite common to have difficulty defining those milestone accomplishments that will be truly meaningful to individual contributors.

Here’s a technique we often use to get some much-needed clarity.

Consider this question:“Imagine that we are meeting two years from today; what would have had to happen or change for you to consider the organization to now be functioning at peak performance, and for you, personally, to be winning?”

Let me warn you: you must be prepared for some truly profound responses.

And you must listen and watch very, very closely so as to catch all of the subtle verbal cues and grasp all of the body language messages.

Of course, long before this discussion, you will have had to create an atmosphere of “safe space” in order to enable this level of honest and complete communication to occur.

Be sure to record these answers and observations very meticulously. You will use these responses to formulate a number of your action steps.

Okay. You’ve now defined the objectives that, when achieved, will be considered winning by the individuals within the aviation organization.

Of critical importance, they must also be aligned with the host organization’s vision of the future.

Additionally, you have helped each individual define the slice of success that they own and how they will achieve it.

You’ve helped each person personalize what the achievement of winning will mean for them, personally and professionally, in very tangible and meaningful terms that are important and relevant to them.

When you’re at this point,you’ve made terrific progress.

So, what’s next?

Day-to-day achievement is next,that’s what.

To use an American football analogy,It’s “four yards and a cloud of dust.”

While you’re focused upon daily tasks, you must ensure that the big picture (perspective) is never lost.

You can achieve this by publicly celebrating the individual wins.

Those that are achieved daily and showing how these individual wins advance the organization, as a whole, toward that flag on the hill that was planted at the beginning of transformational change.

Be careful not to trivialize the celebrations. Rather, make them meaningful and personal. Tie these personal achievements to the overall success of the organization.

Winning generates its own momentum. Winning is habit-forming.Winning becomes a lot of fun.

The smiles, joy and laughter throughout the organization are a good measure for you to gauge the degree to which the organization is actually winning.

By creating and leading a winning bizav organization, you’ll create peak performers. And those peak performers will no doubt create incredible value for the host organization.

Interested in our transformational change series? Read our follow-up blog on Keys 5 thru 7.