Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Changing the Catholic Church

. . . [T]he lead-animal theory is woefully insufficient for changing large organizations or large parts of organizations. Leaders modeling behavior and talking the case for change can indeed help enterprises transform. But how often is that corporate alpha dog actually sitting among the pack? Most people in large organizations catch a glimpse only briefly, via dispatch or WebEx or the rare visit. Soon, the appearance fades and the banners droop. The workers, the managers, and even the executives look around to see if their environment has changed, if the tried-and-true behaviors that made their world work will continue to do so. If the environment has changed, fine; it's time to adapt. If it hasn't, then why bother to change? How, then, does one lead the changing of an organization, whether it is a company, business unit, service line, department, or work unit? [Gregory Shea and Cassie Solomon, Change management is bigger than leadership, Harvard Business Review, 29th Mar 2013]
By changing the work systems that comprise the work environment around the people whose behavior is supposed to change. Therein lies the key to successful, embedded, and sustained change: alter the environment, and people will adapt to it. Call it a species strength. We behave based on the reality around us. That is just what Hyundai's Chung Mong-Koo did and the results speak for themselves. He took a carmaker arguably within sight of going out of business in 1998 and led the creation of what Bill Holstein (writing in Strategy+Business) describes as "a coherent mix of quality improvement, design, and marketing that gives Hyundai a clear advantage over its industry competitors."

At another global organization, the Roman Catholic Church, a change in leadership has many hoping for the revitalization of what some see as a scandal-ridden, unresponsive, and secretive organization. What might a change-minded pontificate learn from Hyundai?”

The authors may have gone one step too many with their audacity re the relevance of their research to the Roman Catholic Church. But should PHL listen to the authors? And so I randomly picked three articles from local papers and quoted them below – and what should we make of them? For example, should we ask ourselves how we get things done? Every time we land at NAIA we truly feel that it’s home and we simply bury the thought of the foreign airports that we’ve experienced – because we don’t want to ask ourselves the hard question: can we even get things done?

Several Cabinet secretaries hope to work out the concerns of the Department of Finance (DOF) over San Miguel Corp.’s North Luzon Expressway (NLEx)-Skyway connector highway before any problem gets out of hand.” [Philippine Daily Inquirer, 11th Apr 2013] The question to ask in this case is: how can we get this far in the process and not anticipated this snag – and proactively dealt with it? What happened to the economic cluster within the cabinet?

In an ironic pronouncement, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla is now promising stakeholders that his department will be transparent when it comes to policies for the renewable energy (RE) sector . . . This somehow gives hope to the industry that the Department of Energy (DoE) will no longer resort to “unilateral tweaking of policies”, without consulting or even hearing the side of prospective investors, such as what happened with the rules on feed-in-tariff (FIT) availments.” [Manila Bulletin, 11th Apr 2013] Is the job too big for one man? Do we need to hire a world-class consultancy to help us navigate this most critical challenge – of energy – that has contributed to our underdevelopment in more ways than one? And, as foreigners have suggested, allow foreign ownership like Singapore did with Meralco?

Now it’s rice from Cambodia . . . Cambodia has emerged as a major rice producer in the ASEAN region. The new source of rice to NFA as buyer/importer had experienced several turbulent periods: 1) In April, 1975, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh and established a reign of terror that killed an estimated 1.7 M people and hundreds of thousands fled to refugee camps in Thailand, 2) Phnom Penh was captured by Vietnamese troops in January, 1979, and 3) under UN supervision a peace agreement was signed in October, 1991.” [Atty. Romeo V. Pefianco, Manila Bulletin, 11th Apr 2013] We can’t use our past as an excuse anymore? The late Teodoro Valencia comes to mind reading the Harvard Business Review article – i.e., he changed the environment of Luneta and we all adapted made it a showcase.

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