How to beat transformation failures


In an exclusive Skype conference, we have John Mattone, President and CEO, John Mattone- Global Inc, prior to this John was the President of one of the top leadership consulting firms in the world, Executive Development Associates, Inc., (EDA) and prior to EDA he was the Vice President of Assessments for Linkage, Inc. Prior to Linkage, John

was the Vice President of Sales for Drake Beam Morin, the global career and outplacement firm. He is the world’s top executive coach and an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker. He advises the CEO’s and senior leadership teams of Fortune 1000 companies on creating and sustaining a leadership and talent culture that drives superior operating results. John Mattone is globally respected as a uniquely distinguished top leadership coach authority who can ignite and strengthen a leader’s innerself and talents, which enables them to realize four “game-changing” outcomes that they can leverage in their business and life: Altruism,Affiliation, Achievement, and Abundance (The 4 A’s). He is also the author of many books on subjects of leadership,developing future leaders,cultural transformation etc.

Q- You are an internationally acclaimed Executive Coach and Keynote Speaker, what is your philosophy of Leadership in today’s scenario?

My philosophy of leadership is that leadership is a phenomenon reflective of the greatness in the inner core. It is the inner core strengths of a leader that fuels greatness in his outer core. Organizations and leaders all over must realize that the most inner core thing that instigates greatness as a leader- is a strong character. There are a lot of things that fall into character and great leaders execute these things more consistently than others.
Through my coaching work, I have discovered that there is a massive gap in leadership all over. We do not have enough leaders to think differently and think big. In today’s scenario we need more leaders to rely on their character strengths such as courageousness and diligence. They must be courageous enough to think differently and think out of their comfort zone. They must be diligent enough to undertake hard work and deeper thinking. The leaders need to own up massive accountability for steering their teams ahead. Also, they need to vulnerable enough to seek out for help and grateful enough to have the support of their teams and their people who will help him lead the organization ahead during today’s tough scenarios. All these feeling does not come on its own. It comes from deep within- from the soul. Everything on the outside reflects what resides in the inner core.

Q-Do you believe that “leaders are born not made”?

I love the question. I would not be doing what I do if I didn’t believe that leadership cannot be developed. Leadership can definitely be developed. All of us can improve our leadership skills.

There is no question that there are some people who from a DNA standpoint appear early on in life to have a certain capability, a certain DNA that will propel them to  leadership kind of positions. There is a certain aura, a certain presence of all those people about how they say what they say and the way they do what they do. But regardless of such disposition, they cannot unleash their complete power without further strengthening their inner core, their character, their value systems, their thinking pattern and their emotional make up. When these inner core elements are mature strong and vibrant, it spills out in their outer core.

Great leadership is about having the courage to ask bigger, accountable questions to ourselves. Question like- “Am I truly a role model?” “What’s my legacy?” “How do I want
my life remembered?” Therefore, there’s no denying that we can all move the needle with respect to becoming better leaders, but there are some leaders who have a DNA for
certain leadership positions, but that doesn’t excuse them from improving themselves and becoming the best that they can be as leaders.

Q-What is business transformation to you and how do you see the role of leadership and organizational culture in business transformations?

It’s a great question and incidentally, I am discussing this with senior leadership meet during my next visit to India in June this year. Business transformation across geographies and industries is about doing what we need to do to be more innovative, to be more competitive. It’s about devising ways and methods to bring innovative products and services to the world. It’s all about igniting continuous greatness to accomplish difficult but great things on the outside. Now the question is what is it that predicts successful business transformation? And, this is where leadership has a great responsibility. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple after 15 years, way back in 1997, he said- “success at apple is nothing to do with computers but has everything to do with leadership, talent and culture.” What’s really interesting about that is- the word culture was not even so much discussed about in 1997. So, we are talking about a visionary genius who exactly knew what works to unlock team potential. If we look at organizations that are successful and are staying ahead of the curve and staying ahead of disruption- they are all about senior executive teams made up of incredible leaders. And we don’t have that. We do a lot of C-level work across the world and we see that we there are not great leaders. And that’s an issue because we are not creating a culture of touching hearts, minds and souls. We don’t ignite that culture that can lead your organization to successful business transformation. Here’s a mistake that I see- a lot of companies go about copying other companies culture. A good example is Zappos- the happy culture. They get enquiries from companies all over the world that they want to do what Zappos is doing. The culture at Zappos is unique to Zappos. The culture at your organization is just like your finger print. It’s not about going and grabbing some one else’s culture and installing it at your organization.That’s not going to work. The most important question that the C-level team needs to ask themselves is- “Why be in business?” That’s the first question. The second question is- “what’s the essence of the organization that we must create?” The third question is- “what’s the culture the team?”So, I would say business transformations will not work unless we have successful leadership and organizational culture.

Q-According to McKinsey; 75% business transformations fail; how do you see this? And how to beat transformation failures?

Most business transformations fail to achieve what they set out to achieve. And, when you start to track backwards, it’s all about leading indicators. It’s certain things that if you attempt to do those things and you optimize those things you get it right on whatever your operating imperative is. What I have discovered is- it’s all about talent. It’s all about selecting and promoting the best people. The  organizations that get this right they are going to mitigate the risk. The second thing is about making sure that systems and processes around selection and promotion are all correct. And, this is all HR work and they must embrace it as there are lot of stakes there. The third thing is being diligent about
measurement. Those organizations that are really diligent about measurement on capability, motivation, engagement do well. But not everybody is doing that. The question is do people believe that they have the resources within the organization where they can tap into, so they believe that they can be the best that they can be. And we know that not everybody believes that when it comes to work. So, this engine is not optimized. The fourth one is- are you rewarding the right people?

Those are the engines that will mitigate risk in transformations. And, it takes leadership to install those leading indicators and then calibrate them and then accurately look at with their yields to make continuous positive decisions to move organizations forward.

Q-How does organization culture impact on employee experience and workforce engagement?

Most important job of the CEO is to create in partnership with the entire organization to create, co-create a culture that unleashes the massive talent that exists. That’s the job of the CEO.

When we think about culture- again we comeback to leading indicators. What drives culture are the four engines of talent- selecting, promoting, rewarding, measurement. What I discovered and wrote about in my 2016 book on Culture Transformations is- it is about five cultures. A culture in a business, in a family and a team, is the amalgamation of the inner core and the outer core of everybody in that union. If we have greatness in the inner core and greatness on the outer core in a union- we are going to have a lot of great culture, good values, good behavior and great things happening.

So, what’s interesting is, if we have a leadership team that has greatness in the inner core and outer core, they are going to create a culture of can do where people believe that they’ve got the skills and the capability to move the organization forward.

They are also going to create a culture of passion. For example-Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO of Genpact, has created a culture of passion, a will do culture at Genpact. And, we have discovered that that a culture of will do and passion will spill from a culture of alignment- that is alignment with a mission, vision purpose. So, when a can-do culture that leads to a will-do culture which eventually leads to a must-do culture, it all translates into great employee experience and an increased employee engagement.

Q-Tell us about your new researches and upcoming books which are expected to be launched soon?

I am excited to announce here today that, I am currently writing three books. Two books that’s going to be Vol 1 and Vol 2 which is going to be released later this year. These titles are not exact yet, but Vol 1 is going to be essentially the best of John Mattone on leadership and Coaching. And, Vol 2 will follow soon.

The third book that I will release in late 2019 is titled the Intelligent Leadership Code. This book is a spin of the work that I do around Intelligent Leadership. Principally the 7 pillars that leaders need to understand, embrace and execute in the disruptive world that we’re in today, to be able to navigate disruption and help people in their businesses navigate disruption. And if leaders can do those 7 things they can do great things.

Thank you John Mattone!


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