Goals, relationships, experience? What plays the most important role in the transformation of the organization?

Without much problems we will find numerous studies on how to effectively manage change in the organization. I am convinced that a change in the organization that I want or intend - as a leader - to carry out, must also be based on personal foundations.

Cele, relacje, doświadczenie? Co odgrywa najważniejszą rolę w transformacji organizacji - Business Insider Norbert Biedrzycki Sep-24

My article in BUSINESS INSIDER published 24th of September 2018.


Trainers tell us that a key to successfully transforming organizations is to clearly define business goals, ensure that leaders maintain good relationships with people across the organization and choose the right communication tools. Although I agree with this approach, I propose another prerequisite: personal experience.

The literature abounds with advice on how to successfully change organizations. Authors speak at length on how critically important it is in transformation to clearly define business goals, ensure that leaders maintain good relationships with people across the organization and choose the right communication tools. Although I agree with this approach, I propose another prerequisite: personal experience.

I am convinced that any change within my organization that I, as a leader, wish or plan to achieve, should rest on a personal foundation. The process of change should be “anchored” firmly in my own value system and resonate with my emotional self and every part of my psyche that I consider to be genuine, mature and vital. In other words: the potential, extent and direction of the change that I, as the leader, plan to propose to my business organization depends largely on my beliefs and psychological abilities (even if not developed through formal education but instead based on my intuitions). I therefore agree with the leaders who stress the importance of individual experience in tackling the most complex business challenges.


Look for role models where you can’t see them

I am neither the first nor the last business leader to set out on changing an organization. I am not inventing the wheel, I do not have monopoly on knowledge, I am not irreplaceable. By intervening in an organization at key moments, I subconsciously or consciously draw on the achievements of others in global business. It is crucial to choose the right role models and learn lessons from other people’s experience. For me as a leader, it is vital not to confine myself to my own specific thinking and logic. On the contrary, in preparing to stage a revolution, no matter how big or small, I always try to draw on the expertise and experience of recognized leaders even if I disagree with them on the surface. If effective leadership is indeed about being flexible, thinking out of the box, being bold, taking risks, being creative, the implications for where one searches for knowledge are truly enormous. My approach at this stage is to follow my own cognitive habits while challenging them as needed. It is to spot noteworthy advice that has previously been hidden from me. Hidden, because it was unpopular, incompatible with my own value system, or formulated by the people I was distant from my own spirituality or overly controversial. However, once I open myself to inspiration “from any source”, the results could be amazing.


Stories that engage

While searching for examples of leaders who have changed their organizations in remarkable ways, I came across a funny but powerful story of John Hammergren, the CEO of the pharmaceutical firm McKesson. Asked how to effectively run a company, he described how he realized he too would someday be a patient and a customer of the healthcare system. This realization strongly influenced his management style and business behavior. Can you imagine a more compelling story on management taken to a personal level? I admit that, were I a mid-level manager listening to John Hammergren’s lecture, I would be deeply inspired by his example. I would quickly picture myself as a future “patient” and see what I needed to do as an employee of the pharmaceutical company. All in all, I am convinced that leaders capable of personally relating to transformation achieve greater impact than those who limit themselves to PowerPoint presentations, no matter how meticulously prepared. The idea is to show how change in an organization can be of personal relevance to the leader. The leader must find a key example that will illustrate the importance of the transformation to himself and to the people who are close to him. Once the leader gives his workers a story they will recognize as his deeply personal insight, they are likely to double their efforts.


Read more in the full article.


Link to the full article (in Polish)


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Leave a Reply


  1. Zoeba Jones

    Agree on most, but we have to recognize poor-paid workforces, lack of personal insurance etc as well.

    • Adam

      Quite an amazing guide, really. I’ve been wanting to do this but didn’t know how to start. Now, I feel a lot more confident to dive in after reading this. Thanks for such an enlightening post.

  2. Karel Doomm2

    Many companies are great at in-house training and coaching, and there is great value in working in the same environment as your coach or mentor. However, it’s oftentimes difficult to be objective when you are seeing the same people every day. Your perception gets clouded and it becomes hard to be impartial around team challenges or feedback. Having an independent outsider helps all gain clarity.

  3. Zidan78

    Most organizational change occurs in reaction to something that isn’t right and needs to be changed. Awareness of a problem may grow out of frustration with an existing system or a crisis that highlights its problems. Your company may fail to complete an important order because the office hasn’t sent word to the manufacturing department. As a result, the product isn’t produced in time, and you lose a necessary account. This incident may force you and your managers to reflect on the fact that your communication systems are inadequate, and start brainstorming about possible solutions.

    • Norbert Biedrzycki  

      You implement the change then put in your headphones and pretend you don’t hear the helpdesk talking about issues- probably caused by your change that they aren’t aware of. Then one of them will go into detective mode for the next two weeks while C-level staff treats helpdesk like shit for being incompetent, until they finally expose your inconspicuous change that takes about 15 min to revert.

  4. TomHarber

    Hi Norbert, I think some of that data has already been harvested for the algorithms in building AI. I do believe we should not give away all privacy and the face of what makes us human.

    • Adam Spikey

      The question is how to we adapt to these new and improved tools to improve our own lot, and the lot of mankind, exactly as it has always been. We should start with reality based education so that people understand what is changing, understand the basis of what will not change, and are equipped to react to changing situations. Anything less dooms them to be buggy whip manufacturers.

      • SimonMcD

        Based on the benefit, you may decide that having a functional and working backlog should come before (rather than at the same time as) cross functional teams. IE: there’s not a lot of benefit to a cross-functional team if they dont’ have that business connection. part of your strategy for that connection could be this backlog. so you need that in place and stable before you make the teams cross functional.

        • SimonMcD

          I do not agree with opinion about Amazon. I recommend the book “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google” to better understanding how “Amazon plays”.

    • ZoraBora

      Try to influence a group of people toward the achievement of a goal.

  5. TonyHor

    It is very often about how the questions are asked. I see a significant dichotomy in this article. The way we use AI, machine learning, bots etc and how it improves, speeds up our effectiveness is evolving, people accept that -that’s great. But no one really explained what does it mean a Robot Boss… so it is more an answer to the question – are you afraid of more and more robotics, AI, etc as a part of your processes in corporate job. That is not the same.

    At the same time there is something very frightening how people “conciously” put themselves and “as brick in the wall” not the creators… it is like choosing the race they can not win … 🙁 I would listen to Jack Ma more 😉


    • TomHarber

      Just that …now its uncomfortably growing volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data…therefore there is more vulnerability. Hence ‘applicabilty governance’ shall be key to a meaningful future ..with ‘data’ causing the successful scientific revolution!

    • TomCat

      Beeing smarter and more innovativ than others is a good start to success.
      But exploiding your workers, not taking any responsibility for a fair income or retirement, not paying taxes etc etc but just beeing interested in optimizing profits whatever it takes is something those companies have in common.
      Something very similiar happens when MLM pyramids come to a country.
      Lecture: not every successfull company is a company we should admire and justify. Better think twice!! Just have a look at the founders and leaders and their ethical and moral standards. For me thats way more important than how much money they make.