A new way to motivate organisational change

Review of: The Star Factor
Product by:
William Seidman and Richard Grbavac

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On 5 December, 2013
Last modified:5 December, 2013

Summary:

Unlike typical top-down change initiatives, the authors of this book recommend creating change based on identifying what makes the organisation's high performers successful then creating the change process around that.

In a typical organisation, only a small percentage of employees are fully engaged in their work. These typically tend to be the self-motivated stars, who are significantly more productive than their less-engaged peers. If you wanted to discover what makes someone a star performer and then replicate that with the other employees, how would you go about doing it? That is the question addressed by William Seidman and Richard Grbavac in their book The Star Factor: Discover What Your Top Performers Do Differently – and Inspire a New Level of Greatness in All.

Through their research and experience, the authors have developed an organisational culture-change process which they call Affirmative Leadership. Unlike normal culture-change efforts which are led by executives and senior managers and based on presentations in which the employees who are expected to change are largely passive, the Affirmative Leadership process involves:

  • Identifying employees whose performance significantly exceeds the norm
  • Holding a “wisdom discovery” session to get those star performers to articulate how they became successful and what they do to stay that way
  • Extracting from this a number of “big steps” and principles that support each of the steps
  • Creating a learning program by converting the wisdom that has been discovered into engaging learning tasks, creating a measurement system and transforming managers into coaches
  • Motivating people to learn and change using fair process, positive visualisation, purpose, mastery, autonomy, and social learning
  • Sustaining the change and scaling it to the enterprise

Although the book focuses on the particular service provided by the authors, there seems to be plenty of content which is useful to those who do not engage the authors’ services. Numerous examples from different types of organisations are described in some detail. Anyone who has experienced the lack of success typically achieved by lecture-type educational sessions within a business is likely to be interested in the learning techniques advocated in this book.

Unlike typical top-down change initiatives, the authors of this book recommend creating change based on identifying what makes the organisation's high performers successful then creating the change process around that.

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