Does this person have the attitude for it?
Many people will shift gears and attack the new priorities with gusto, provided their boss takes the time to make the direction clear. Alan Mulally at Ford changed tack without cleaning house, as did Lou Gerstner at IBM in the 1990s, when he reset the direction, reducing the dependence on mainframe computers in favor of software and services, and pulled the company back from the brink of failure. But some people won’t change. If someone resists too long, you have to remedy the situation before the organization calcifies.
I refer again to the rule of 98–2, which I introduced in chapter 10: 2 percent of people in a company heavily influence the remaining 98 percent. Are they flexible and agile enough to buy into the new direction? In many cases, just one or two people carry heavy weight.
Does the person have the necessary social skills?
I’m not referring here to being a good cocktail party conversationalist. The skill is to ask the right questions, actively seek external information and opposing views, play umpire and coach, and get people in the node to work things through together as a team—without the need for 100 percent consensus. The person must be able to manage the relationships for a new purpose, a new direction, while keeping everyone focused on the time-based goal. He has to connect with other decision makers. And he has to demonstrate the requisite behaviors. Candor, for example, is contagious.
Does the person have the right expertise?
The reality is that in many fast-changing situations a totally new set of decision makers, who possess new kinds of expertise or at least are open to including others with that expertise, may have to be brought in and be given enough power for them to be effective.
–The Attacker’s Advantage: Turning Uncertainty into Breakthrough Opportunities