What inspired you to write the book?
I had seen way too many well-intentioned leaders fail at leading change, and as a result, had their once-promising careers derailed. Many used existing change management methodologies and high-priced consultants. They were unsuccessful because they were trained and focused on the three Ts (Tasks, Timing, and Technologies) and not the four Ps (Priorities, Politics, People, and Perseverance). This book provides that training.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Finding the time to write it because my wife and I had temporary custody of twin, 18 month-old girls at the time.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Part III: People, where I teach the techniques for enlisting and engaging players up and down the corporate hierarchy to maximize value while engendering trust.
How will your book help individuals in the workplace?
Learning these skills will distinguish them because they will be successful at leading change while others won't.
What obstacles should one be on the lookout for when leading change?
Rushing in with all of the answers and not taking the time to understand the politics and people are the biggest obstacles change leaders face. To that point, one of my favorite saying is "If you have seen one transformation, you have seen one transformation."
Why is having a sponsor so important?
Mentors open your mind to what's possible for you to do. More importantly, sponsors open doors and other people's minds so that you get an opportunity to show what you can do. In other words, no one moves up the corporate ladder without having sponsors advocating for them.
What is the message in your book that you hope your readers will grasp?
Leading transformative change is very difficult. It is all about the people. Take the time to know them, gain their trust, and they will move mountains for you.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Two things: (1) You are reading this book because you are a leader. Leaders make a difference. In order to make a difference, you have to be willing to be different and also accept the differences in others; and (2) When leading transformative change, you will be criticized before being congratulated. Stay purpose-driven and don't wilt under the pressure.
What are your future project(s)?
My next project will focus on sponsors. Specifically, white men who opened up the doors to the C-suite and boardroom to women and people of color. We always hear the story of the people who they opened the doors for (like me), but we never hear their story. The challenges they faced, their disappointing and defining moments. I want to see if there are any common leadership themes that we can learn from.