My last blog post discussed a funeral ceremony conducted by the leaders of NASA to help people let go of the past and embrace the future. The following post explains how a major supermarket chain leveraged its positive past to galvanize a successful new strategic initiative. This case study illustrates how leaders can leverage an organization’s history when leading change. (Click to continue reading) Read more >
Hundreds of scientists, engineers and technicians stood around a table draped in black cloth. Beneath the cloth was a small replica of an old rocket. The ritual, organized by leaders at NASA, symbolized the death of a massive rocket program that lasted almost two decades, but had to be terminated due to the emergence of new technologies. The following blog series discusses the importance of addressing the past when implementing organization change and the danger of resisting. (Click to continue) Read more >
“It is often stated, more as conventional wisdom than verifiable truth, that history repeats itself…History never repeats itself because every historical moment is unique. Nevertheless, the process of history does admit to a poetic quality that more accurately depicts its true character. History rhymes -- not repeats -- in revealing parallels between the events, actors, and outcomes from different periods. Implicit in this approach is the idea that the subject of history is not only continuity, but also that history is about development and change.” The following blog series builds on Professor Gary Field's eloquent point about the rhyme of history and dives deep on a topic often neglected when leading organization change. (Click to continue reading) Read more >
Henry Ford is well known for his influence on the auto industry in particular, but also the way manufacturing is done in general. His assembly lines made it possible to put a “car in every driveway” at an affordable price. He is not the topic of this post, however.

Ford Motor Company’s market share went from a high of 50-60% in the early 1920’s down to 20% by World War II. Meanwhile, GM’s market share jumped from 12% all the way to 50%. It was the leadership of a rival executive (and Ford’s disdain for the management practices this rival instituted) that allowed GM to make such gains. This entry is about that rival executive, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (namesake of the MIT Sloan School of Management), and the incredible way he managed complexity while leading GM to incredible heights. (And no, the irony of writing about auto execs as great leaders and GM as a dominant company in particular is not at all lost on me.) (Click to read more).
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