Change the Leaders or Change the Leaders

Organizations are shadows of their leaders…that’s the good news and the bad news!

There is a lot of talk about change these days. Political change, demographic changes, climate change, changes in the balance of power, change within the European Union, changes in banking regulation.  And of course, very few businesses are immune from having to change their cost structures, strategy, product mix, customer segments, head counts, IT infrastructure.  It seems like change is the new normal.

Many changes that happen inside of a business tend to be focused downwards on improving productivity, reorganising departments or even outsourcing entire functions.  There is a lot less talk, however, about leadership change. Or better yet, changing the leaders!

The performance record of a company is similar to a mirror.  When you look into it, what you are actually seeing is the outcome of leadership.  Great results, great leadership.  Mediocre results, mediocre leadership.  Poor results, poor leadership. It’s a perfect reflection.

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I find it totally backwards that those with the most impact and influence over the organisation, the leadership team, actually receive the least training and personal development.  They are the least open to change and improvement. What?  Just because they have a big title means they are perfect and don’t need additional professional or personal development?  Actually, just the opposite should be the case.  Senior leaders should be constantly learning, growing, changing, improving, adding new skills and new tools to their leadership tool kit.  After all, they are making the biggest decisions, the bet your company decisions. They should have the best tools and learning opportunities.

So, my advice to CEOs who don’t like their company performance record is, change the leaders, or change the leaders!

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

E |      T | +44 207 584 3774      M | +44 7833 493 999

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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