Change Leadership Watch
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Change Leadership Watch
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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Not the biggest, or the last recall: U.S. Fines General Motors $35 Million for Lapses on Ignition-Switch Defect

Not the biggest, or the last recall: U.S. Fines General Motors $35 Million for Lapses on Ignition-Switch Defect | Change Leadership Watch |

Federal regulators report GM has agreed to change its internal review process after a flaw linked to 13 deaths and a vast recall.



G.M. agreed to make “significant and wide-ranging internal changes to its review of safety-related issues in the United States, and to improve its ability to take into account the possible consequences of potential safety-related defects.”


The faulty ignition switch, in Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other cars, was prone to turn off if it was jostled or weighed down, shutting the engine, and disabling the air bags and power-assisted systems like steering and brakes. G.M. has linked the defect to 13 deaths and 32 crashes.


“...Today’s announcement puts all manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable if they fail to quickly report and address safety-related defects,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

Also, three (3) trust-related posts by Deb on REVELN:

Teamwork can also be the “secret sauce” that defines successful organizations.  Our systems for supporting high performance and leadership in teams and in entire organizations have not kept up with the times. 


Change Leaders: Why Should Anyone Trust Your Vision? John Kotter & Harvard Business Review


John Kotter’s highlights of some common assumptions about how leaders approach change.
Change, Ethics, Trust & Timing for your Talent Management Decisions


Hewitt's report features how plans on paper don’t translate to reality in the workplace when it comes to recruiting, developing and retaining talent.
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

From the article and New York Times video:  There are 30,000 parts in the average car.  This GM problem was due to a 90 cent ignition switch.  The GM recall involved 2.6 million cars.   This recall doesn't even crack the top 10 in history.


The Ford Pinto was called, "the BBQ that seats 4."  


The Ford Pinto, a 1978 recall, is one of the best known, with a damaging brand impact lasting for years.  The Pinto was called, "the BBQ that seats 4."  Recently,Toyota, was lambasted for covering up a sticking accelerator pedal problem, featuring evidence of how they mislead the public and failed to report the problem in a timely way.

From the Times, "...As bad as they [the recalls] sound" and from me, the mistakes are varied and useful for understanding the complexities of big organizations.  That deaths occur is tragic, very tragic.  For this reason alone, it is yet another important cautionary tale about complex systems, yet simpler fixes:

1) clear the way to communicate with your customers and regulators,


2) don't mess around with anything that can damage public trust in your big business.   ~  Deb

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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Leadership Challenges: Embrace paradoxes to move forward

Leadership Challenges: Embrace paradoxes to move forward | Change Leadership Watch |

"This provocative post highlights current business paradoxes challenging leaders:  change or remain stable, complexity versus simplicity, growth and sustainability and more."

After seeing evidence of our increasingly VUCA world, one that is growing in its Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous characteristics, this useful list of paradoxes resonates.  Does it resonate to your experience?




Leaders must find ways to deal with this complexity and embrace and manage it to achieve simplicity.





Paradox 1: growth versus sustainability

Growth as it is currently defined tends to result in an unquestioned and unchecked consumption of resources. Sustainability considerations are generally considered to put a major strain on growth ambitions.

The way forward is innovation, but another paradox present itself:


Paradox 2: innovating versus operating

Innovation is increasingly about service, process, business model and social innovation.

However, focusing on innovation does not mean ignoring operations. The trick is that what allows operations to thrive can seriously get in the way of innovation and vice versa.


Paradox 3:  change versus continuity

If you try to innovate too many things at once you will end up with chaos, if you do not change at all your organisation will decline. What is the right balance?


Paradox 4: collaboration versus competition

Business is inherently competitive yet today, collaboration is common, with most companies having collaborated with their suppliers and their customers. Leading companies are promoting collaboration through crowdsourcing or with competitors.


Paradox 5: complexity versus simplicity

Demands on leaders result in increasing levels of complexity, arising from the number of possible, unpredictable interactions between collaborate, compete; change, remain stable; innovation or operational excellence; growth or sustainability. Leaders must find ways to deal with this complexity and embrace and manage it to achieve simplicity.


Paradox 6: Heart versus mind

Decisions need to be made in the face of incomplete analysis, unpredictable outcomes and changing circumstances. The foundations for analysis and factual arguments differ from emotional and visionary engagement; people who excel at one are not necessarily particularly good at the other and yet both are needed.


Read the full article by Dr Bettina von Stamm here.

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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

Handling Complexity in Decision-Making: Avoiding The Bike Rack Effect in Meetings

Handling Complexity in Decision-Making:  Avoiding The Bike Rack Effect in Meetings | Change Leadership Watch |

Why would a $100M power plant zoning approval take 3 minutes and a request to build a $10,000 bike rack for city sidewalks take hours?

It's easy to be swept up in the trivial and fun stuff, starving the big issues for the time and consideration they merit.  Cyril Northcote Parkinson, a British historian and operations researcher, penned this extreme example of decision-making in meetings in his book Parkinson's Law. Paraphrasing the Wikipedia entry, the powerplant is so expensive, the sums of money are hard to frame.


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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is a post useful for anyone connected to public sector meetings, or any meeting with complex topics.  I've posted this in change leadership watch for the reasons of asking you, the reader the question, have you ever helped a decision making body avoid the The Abilene Paradox, a classic management film about avoiding mismanaged agreement?

This post also illustrates the power of Parkinson's Law where board members lazily skip over the seemingly impenetrable problem in the meeting, deferring to the team managing the project. There will be implications for years of this city council meeting's decisions, and yet it is decided in three minutes.  It's astounding, assuming we haven't been excluded from a long list of previous meeting discussions.   ~ D

Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, March 24, 2014 11:58 PM

Most humans have no comprehension of $100 million, but understand $10, 000.

Tom Russell's curator insight, March 27, 2014 7:00 AM

I'm sure we can all identify with this scenario. It reminds me of a school football game when everybody is running after the ball regardless of their agreed position on the pitch. Clearly where there is passion there is engagement, so focussing on, and agreeing, clear outcomes is a key starting point if one is going to avoid everyone being kicked in the shins.