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THE HARD WORK OF BIG CHANGE

RULES FOR TRANSFORMING YOUR ORGANIZATION AND CHALLENGING YOURSELF

“THE HARD WORK OF BIG CHANGE”

In an era of hyper-competition and non-stop disruption, the most urgent work is the work of making meaningful, deep-seated change in organizations everywhere.  When customers have higher expectations than ever, digital technologies and new business models create more choices than ever, and political and social trends create more turmoil than ever, then familiar strategies and established ways of working are less effective than ever. That means even the most successful companies have to rethink and reimagine every aspect of how they do business and deliver results—building on their past success, as they build out a new perspective on the future. But how do you break new ground when there is so much pressure to avoid mistakes? How do you keep people focused and confident in a world that seems so uncertain? In short, how do you unleash long-lasting, positive change in organizations in turbulent, fast-moving times? These are the questions Bill Taylor addresses in his provocative and energizing keynote. His message is designed to help leaders from all walks of life transform their organizations, shake up their industries, and challenge themselves. He brings his message to life with colorful stories of organizations that are unleashing innovations and driving transformations in all sorts of fields—from retail to software, automobiles to financial services, hotels to hospitals. Ultimately, Bill’s message, lessons, and stories amount to a manifesto for managing change and a manual for achieving it—at a moment when change is the name of the game.

Here are some of the themes he emphasizes:

In a fast-changing world, the most successful organizations embrace strategies that allow them to stand for something special and inspire others to stand with them. Competition is no longer about being the best at what lots of others already do. It’s about being the only one who does what you do. What do you promise that only you can promise? What do you deliver that no one else can deliver? In a ferociously competitive world, ordinary is not an option.

The more things change, the more the worries about change remain the same. That’s why the first job of leaders who are serious about making change is convincing their colleagues (and themselves) that playing it safe is the riskiest course of all. Change beings when individuals and organizations conclude that the risk of trying something new is less than the cost of clinging to the status quo. That a huge shift in mindset, but it’s the mindset that makes a difference.

In a world disrupted by technology, change is about recognizing the power of emotion and psychology. Success is no longer just about price, features, quality—pure economic value. It’s also about passion, emotion, identity—sharing your values. The best organizations don’t just make everything they do more efficient and reliable. They strive to become more memorable to encounter. For change agents and their organizations, it’s just as important to be kind as it is to be clever.

You can’t be serious about changing unless you’re also serious about failing. One big reason so many organizations are slow to change is that they are reluctant to fail. But reimagining how you do business means working with dramatically new technologies, experimenting with different business models, rethinking how you engage with customers—all of which are bound to involve setbacks and disappointments. When it comes to change, failure is an option—because if you’re not failing, you’re not really changing.

The Hard Work of Big Change