Navigating Organizational Change: A Conversation with Brian Gorman
As the host of a podcast that delves into leadership and organizational change, I recently had the pleasure of welcoming Brian Gorman, a recovering organizational change leader, to the show. Our conversation was rich and insightful, covering the challenges of change, the role of leadership in navigating change, and the future of leadership.
Unraveling the Mystery of Change
Brian’s journey into the world of change began at Syracuse University, where he developed a passion for making change happen. He shared his insights on why humans tend to resist change, a resistance that often poses a significant challenge for organizations.
According to Brian, organizations themselves don’t change – people do. Whether it’s a global transformation or a personal one, the journey of change remains the same. This perspective underscores the need for leadership to adapt to a changing workforce, a need that has been further highlighted by recent events like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Difficulty of Change and the Importance of Being Present
Our conversation touched on the difficulty of change and the necessity of letting go of old ways to make room for new ones. Brian emphasized the importance of being present and questioning the beliefs and programming that shape our lives.
The Role of Culture in Organizational Change
We also discussed the role of culture in organizations, agreeing that culture exists within the people of the organization. To effect organizational change, it’s necessary to reprogram the neural networks and muscle memory of the people.
From my experience, hiring the right people with the right values is crucial for building a strong organizational culture. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who’ve realized they don’t have the right people on their team, and the impact can be significant.
Embracing Change: Different Groups, Different Reactions
Brian and I explored the different groups of people when it comes to embracing change. There are those who are open to change and willing to try new things, those who are hesitant but eventually come around, and those who are resistant and refuse to change. The third group, the most resistant to change, often poses the greatest challenge.
The Importance of Change in Today’s World
In today’s rapidly changing world, even if someone claims they don’t need to change, they risk becoming isolated if they don’t adapt. Leaders need to pay attention to their best and brightest employees, as they are the ones most capable of making change and may leave if their contributions are not valued.
Building Trust and Understanding Key Players
We also discussed the importance of building trust in the initial stages of working with a client on a change initiative. It’s crucial to get to know the key players in the organization, not just those in leadership positions, but also those who have influence regardless of their title.
The Impact of COVID-19 and the Future of Work
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the workplace, and we predict that the future of work will be digital and flexible.
Servant Leadership and Discretionary Effort
We delved into the concept of servant leadership, which is vital in both the military and business world. Effective leaders serve their teams and build strong relationships with them, rather than relying solely on their rank or authority. Brian shared his experience as a military training instructor, where his responsibility was to support and understand each trainee individually, even in challenging situations.
We also discussed the concept of discretionary effort, which refers to the willingness of individuals to go above and beyond their basic job requirements. Leaders should strive to tap into this discretionary effort by understanding and tapping into the unique motivations of each team member.
The Importance of Frontline Employees
Frontline employees play a crucial role in shaping an organization’s reputation and brand value. Recognizing and valuing their contributions is key to successful leadership and organizational change.
Our conversation with Brian Gorman was enlightening and thought-provoking. For those interested in learning more, I encourage you to check out the video version of the podcast on YouTube.
Guest Bio and links:
Coming of age during the civil rights movement, then attending college as anti-Vietnam war protests grew from whispers to claim a national voice, it is not surprising that change took root in Brian Gorman. For decades, he has engaged with change at the individual, organizational, and social levels. Today, Brian works as a certified professional coach. Through his business TransformingLives.Coach, he serves clients who are facing major personal and professional transitions in their lives.
Forbes Coaches Council: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/people/briangorman/?sh=158944995c20
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First Book “The Uncommon Commodity” https://theuncommoncommodity.com/
Jobs Book “STRIVE” https://strive.dougthorpe.com
Trust Book: “Trust at Work” https://trustatwork.online