Transforming Leader Paradigms: Evolve from Blanket Solutions to Problem Solving for Complexity

  • 3h 15m
  • James E. Luckman, Olga Flory
  • CRC Press
  • 2019

Organizational transformation is difficult, and despite expensive continuous improvement programs, most change efforts fail. This pattern, James E. Luckman and Olga Flory argue, is due to the fact that most change efforts start with senior leaders assigning an external or internal consulting group to attempt to drive change from the top down. Leaders today can no longer roll out solutions in the hopes of seeing better results. What they can do is play an active role in helping to transform their organization from "blanket solutions" thinking to learning how to solve complex business problems in a rapidly changing world.

Drawing upon decades of leadership experience and years of research with executives across many different industries, Luckman and Flory make a persuasive case that most companies have not been able to stay ahead in what is an increasingly turbulent business environment because they simply have not made the cultural changes required to do so. In discussing how to facilitate this culture change, the authors share a model for leadership designed to guide an organization to extraordinary new levels of performance by focusing on three key areas: building a framework for problem-solving, encouraging respectful communication, and accelerating the pace at which the organization learns. The result is more energized team members who are dedicated to their daily work in an organization that is better positioned to achieve operational excellence. Readers will also find powerful stories from executives who have effectively changed their approach to leadership, all of which serve to inspire more leaders to take the leap and become "problem-solvers for complexity."

Transforming Leader Paradigms is a book about strengthening every organization’s capacity to solve complex business problems. But, more importantly, it’s about what leaders must change in themselves to help their team members solve problems methodically, start to look at the world differently using complexity theory, and understand what it means to create real value for customers. For leaders who are willing to examine their own behaviors, this book is a welcome change from the steady stream of business books on the market that emphasize charismatic and/or heroic leadership as the key to achievement and success.

About the Authors

Jim Luckman is quick to tell you that he absolutely loves solving big problems, in fact he finds them fascinating. “The tougher the problem, the better I like it,” he says. “In almost every organization where I have worked, my associates have told me that when they have had a big problem, they brought it to me.”

And, because he was willing to take on these difficult tasks, he has been blessed to be a part of solving some of the bigger technological and management puzzles of our time. For example, Jim was the lead product engineer responsible for developing the first digital computer on a car, a 1977 Oldsmobile Toronado. He would later be a vital member of a General Motors team that designed the first computers installed on all cars to meet 1981 emission standards.

He began his management education by being thrown into the deep end of the pool. He had grown up in the traditional management structure at GM, but then was asked to take on the role of Plant Manager in a troubled facility with deep schisms between management and the unions. He was wholly unprepared for what he found there. “I had to learn as I was going along,” he says, “And, that experience led to my interest in transforming organizations, a subject that still fascinates me today.”

Olga Flory was the Director, Lean Academy, Global Leadership, Learning and Talent at Liberty Mutual Insurance. She lLed a team to develop and deliver best-in-class learning experiences for continuous improvement and business leaders globally. In addition, she consulted with the business to align learning solutions with strategic priorities and focused on helping leaders develop a growth mindset to enable the business deliver maximum value to the customer.

Previously, she was the Director of Education at the Lean Enterprise Institute where she helped companies and organizations around the globe to develop leaders and improve business practices in support of their lean transformations. She collaborated with the Lean Global Network, LEI faculty and business leaders on the development of new lines of products and services and was owner of the Education value stream: strategy, execution, P and L, team management.

In this Book

  • The New Role of the Leader
  • From a Caterpillar to a Butterfly
  • Complex Adaptive Systems
  • Two Paradigms
  • Unquestioned Assumptions
  • Build a Framework for Problem Solving
  • Grow Respectful Social Connections
  • Accelerate Organizational Learning
  • Start with Yourself
  • Stories of Leadership Transformations


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