Organizational Transformation
How to Achieve It, One Person at a Time
Bruce J. Avolio


Contents and Abstracts
1 Building the Narrative
chapter abstract

This chapter presents an overview of the main focus and goals for this book, which is changing organizations one individual at a time to align with the new organization. The chapter highlights the importance of learning what the narrative is that guides the way people work in the organization. It then moves to examining how one changes the narrative and the different ways this can be accomplished. Numerous examples are provided of organizations undergoing change and transformation, including Microsoft, Alaska Airlines and several large healthcare systems. This chapter sets the stage for understanding that the unit of analysis in any organizational transformation is the individual, and that to transform an organization, you must transform each individual's narrative to be in line with what the new organization represents.

2 First Principle: Changing the Self-Concept
chapter abstract

This chapter begins by focusing on first principles thinking. With first principles thinking one seeks to come up with the organizing principle that guides the development of an organization's script or narrative, which helps to explain the direct being set for change. Numerous examples of first principles thinking are provided including the Mayo Clinic's emphasis on collaboration, and the focus that IBM has taken in reinforcing the idea of getting employees to THINK. These and other organizational examples provide a detailed look at why understanding the core principle that guides your organization's narrative is so important to determining how to best transform an organization.

3 The Four-State Model
chapter abstract

This chapter covers a model that constitutes the four universal states that organizations go through when transforming from one narrative to a new narrative. The goal for this chapter is to provide a high level overview of the 4 states and the components that make up each of the states of change. The states include recognizing the signal(s) that change is needed, deciding on what to initiate when launching the change process, addressing the impending changes that emerge and evolve over time, and then ultimately institutionalizing the change, such that it becomes part of the new narrative in terms of how individuals identify with their organization. The chapter includes organizational examples of change efforts that cover all four states that comprise organizational transformation. These examples build on earlier ones, and extend the description of these organizations across the different states.

4 The Identifying State:The Signal for Change
chapter abstract

This chapter addresses when an organization's leaders or other individuals begin to notice signs or signals that suggest change may be required. Examples are provided where organization's completely missed the change that was required, when organizations such as Amazon or Lyft entered and disrupted their markets. It is incumbent upon the organization and especially its leadership, to be vigilant in looking out for when and where these signals emerge. Cases such as the LuLu Lemon organization and CEO are covered, which serve to demonstrate how the leaders of those organizations recognized the need for change and then went forward in promoting the change process. This chapter is based on a foundational theory in the psychological sciences called Signal Detection Theory, which explains how we are able to identify important signals amidst all of the daily noise out there to determine what requires a response and what can be ignored.

5 The Initiating State: Beginning the Launch
chapter abstract

In this state, the organization and its leaders/members are coming to or have now recognized the signals that point to the need for change and transformation. The organization begins to move from contemplating the need for change to taking actual actions to change the way individuals view their organization, and how those views relate to their current and future scripts or narrative. Examples such as LuLu Lemon demonstrate how they have moved from identifying the signals to actually taking ownership for initiating change. Cases and justifications need to be made to promote change, but as is true of most change efforts, many cases and/or challenges stop or stall the change process. Actions taken in this state are critical to making sure that organizational members become aligned around the change initiative in order to build a reliable and repeatable practice that can sustain change efforts.

6 The Impending State: Breaking Better
chapter abstract

In this chapter, the theme of breaking better is used in terms of explaining how any change process must be continually monitored, adjusted and reinforced for the organization to continue to shift in the right direction towards necessary change. In this state, what has been started in terms of change, has not yet fully changed how people in the organization either work nor identify with the change process. Most of the organizations that were studied for this book either got stuck in this state or failed and returned to the earlier states of change. This chapter explores what can enable change or become an obstacle, including front and center employees who do not take ownership for the change process. This chapter also goes into much more depth regarding the change process that transformed Alaska Airlines, and the change process that didn't work in a large healthcare system.

7 The Institutionalizing State: Defining "My Organization"
chapter abstract

The fourth state represents an organization that has changed the way it functions, but more importantly how individuals in the organization view themselves in terms of their individual and collective identity. New commitments have been formed in terms of the way people in the 'organization does its work'. New processes are in place and new practices are tied to the climate and culture of the organization that has now undergone a transformation. The examples provided cover a broad and diverse range of contexts. It also summarizes what happened at a sunglass manufacturing plant that went through a fundamental transformation in terms of both the climate and culture, and how it went from being the lowest performing unit to the best in the entire global organization.

8 A Tale of Two Transformations
chapter abstract

This chapter compares two different organizations going through the four states of change. The two organizations are based on work with real organizations in both the food and technology industries. This chapter brings the four states of organizational change to life, and to work through these states and components that have already been presented throughout each of the previous chapters. This chapter depicts how two different organizations move through the change process, while also making sure that the components and the states are fully understood. The two industries were chosen to demonstrate that in very different organizations, operating in very different contexts, went through the same universal states. Particular emphasis in this chapter is based on the key role that senior leaders play in recognizing the need for change, initiating the change process, navigating and campaigning through the transformation process, and at least in one case, helping to institutionalize change.

9 Becoming the Change and Sustaining It
chapter abstract

This chapter examines the best ways to accelerate the development of leaders to engage in and succeed in changing one's organization. The chapter focuses on the individual leader as the unit of analysis for change. The same state model is then applied to examining how individuals identify the need to change their leadership, how the go about initiating actions to develop leadership, the typical challenges involved in going through impending and emerging changes in one's development, and then finally institutionalizing how leaders lead differently following the change process. As you ascend the higher levels of leadership, there is more emphasis placed on developing the climate and culture to be more responsive to change, based on the goodwill you are able to garner as a leader. The more advanced level of the model covers how leaders need to distribute leadership over time to steward their organization well into the future.

10 Developing as a Transformative Leader
chapter abstract

This chapter reviews different resources and materials that the Center for Leadership & Strategic Thinking has created to help accelerate the development of leadership. They range from self-report and multi-rater surveys of leadership to a learning and development portal, to gaming applications that can help reinforce what you have learned and initiated. For each survey instrument, the scales comprising the survey are described in terms of what is measured and how they relate to leadership development. Also included in this chapter is a discussion of a set of survey scales that can be used to assess how ready your organization is to support your leadership development, as well as the institutionalization of change. The chapter ends focusing on gamulations, which is the combination of gaming and simulation principles.