AvoLead blog: Transition Management

Insights and information on challenging business topics such as leading strategic change, impact of current economy, strategy and innovation, and mergers and acquisitions.

Two Highly Experienced Professionals Join the AvoLead Team

As AvoLead LLC continues to grow, we are excited to announce the addition of these two highly experienced professionals to our team.

Georgine Madden

With 30 years of experience in Organizational Development and Training and Development, Georgine has worked with diverse audiences spanning organizational levels and functions across a wide range of Fortune 1000 to entrepreneurial enterprises within a variety of business sectors. Based in Minneapolis, MN, Georgine will serve AvoLead clients as Trainer Facilitator, Executive Coach and Organizational Development Specialist. Learn more about Georgine here.

Jude Olson, PhD, ACC

Jude is an accredited, professional coach providing leadership and transition coaching to individuals, teams and organizations with a focus on building strengths for accelerated development. She serves on the faculty of University of Dallas and as coach for the Texas Christian University EMBA Program. Her internal corporate experience includes serving as Head Coach at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. As a Senior Vice President and Regional Consulting Partner with Drake Beam Morin, Inc., she led the Fort Worth office where she marketed, managed and consulted on change projects within a variety of industries. Read Jude’s complete bio here.

Every AvoLead associate combines knowledge of individual and organizational effectiveness with considerable business experience to make a real difference in the “speed-to-success” of leaders and organizations around the globe.

It Takes Courage To Leave

Click here to read this excellent post by Linda Galindo.


AvoLead Team Continues to Expand

We are thrilled to share news of three key members of the AvoLead LLC team. After the addition of five new members in February, AvoLead continues to attract top talent to its Board of Managers and consultant rosters.

Joanne McCree has joined the Board of Managers. In more than 20 years with IBM, she led in a corporation undergoing transformational change — cultural, strategic, product and business model. After creating her own executive coaching business in 2004, she joined AvoLead as a Senior Consultant last year. Learn more about Joanne here.

Chris Musselwhite also has joined the AvoLead Board of Managers. Involved in organizational and leadership development since 1972, Chris shares his wealth of experience in program development and delivery, in the creation of numerous learning simulations and assessment tools and as founder, president and CEO of Discovery Learning. Read more on Chris here.

Timothy Stephens has joined AvoLead as a Senior Consultant. Committed to developing high performance teams in the public health, science innovation and other arenas, Tim coaches leaders and teams to better understand their roles and shared goals. As part of the AvoLead LHCS Program, Tim works with first responders and other key medical and governmental personnel on leading in high consequence situations. Meet Tim here.

We proudly welcome these distinguished professionals. Their leadership talents and skills will be called upon regularly as AvoLead continues to help leaders and their organizations navigate the waters of transition and change.

Change is Good…You Go First!

The Simple Truths website has lots of great inspirational content, but when I saw the title of the short (3-1/2 minute) video below, I laughed out loud, because it reminded me of the game my brothers used to try to play, “Let’s see who can hit the softest…you go first!” Of course you know how that went. I touched them just as softly as I possibly could, and they hit me hard and shouted, “You win!” It was a game I only played one time.

On the serious side, however, the message of this movie cuts to the heart of one of our basic fears…Change. Intellectually, we know that lots of change is good, but emotionally, there is always some angst, some discomfort, some worry. Yes, even some fear! This movie was made for organization teams, so it addresses many of the situations AvoLead clients face. Its powerful and inspiring messages, however,  can be applied not only to organizational change, but also to life change of any kind.

Is there change going on in your life or work that you find unsettling? How are you dealing with it?

Do any of this movie’s messages help you see change from a different perspective?

Do you have any words of wisdom for others who are going through change in their organizations that is causing them fear or anxiety…or even functional paralysis?

The movie content is also available in book form, and these books make great gifts or tools for a team-building event at your company, church, or nonprofit. Each book includes a free DVD of the movie.


Guest post by Elizabeth H. Cottrell, RiverwoodWriter and Heartspoken.com. It was adapted from a post which originally appeared on her blog.

Strategy Lesson from History: Be Ready to Adapt

“The only constant is change.” First attributed to the Greek philosopher Heroclitus.

In his fascinating review of the best writing on business strategy[1], Walter Kiechel III guides his readers through the relatively recent history of “Strategy” as a business concept and corporate planning tool. It emerged in the 1960s from a corporate culture in which business leaders “felt themselves largely at the mercy of market forces, with little of the knowledge they would need to truly determine their own future.”

In Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise, first published in 1962 by MIT Press, author Alfred D. Chandler Jr. first established the principle for which he is remembered: “Structure follows strategy” and “A strategy is a response to changes in a business’s environment.”

Kiechel next credits Kenneth R. Andrews, and his 1971 book The Concept of Corporate Strategy, with the definition of Strategy that has driven much modern-day perspective: “the pattern of major objectives, purposes or goals and essential policies and plans for achieving those goals, stated in such a way as to define what business the company is in or is to be in and the kind of company it is or is to be.” Andrews went on to include a long list of criteria for evaluating a strategy, many of which have clearly been ignored in light of recent corporate failures. These criteria are now back in the spotlight as bank regulators and corporate watchdogs ask probing questions about sufficiency of available resources, risk versus reward, management communication with those who must implement their strategy, and alignment of values with goals.

The evolution of Strategy continued with Michael E. Porter’s 1980 publication of Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, in which he most famously stated that Strategy involves only three alternatives: 1) Cost leadership; 2) Differentiation; or 3) Niche domination. He warned that companies trying to do all three were doomed.

Backlash to this came from the bestseller In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.. Despite the embarrassment that many of the companies cited by them as “best-run” failed to live up to expectations in the years following the book’s publication, Kiechel reminds us that Peters and Waterman introduced the essential concept that Strategy must include consideration of “human energies and aspirations” as well as “an exercise in numbers and charts.

As business cycles have exposed the strengths and weaknesses of different theories, the temptation to abandon strategic planning as a viable tool is tempting. Kiechel concludes, “Probably the hottest term in discussions these days is adaptive.”

So what is an organization supposed to do? Many leaders say their most formidable challenge is deciding how to guide their organization through iceberg-littered channels and wondering if they’ll ever get back to open seas again. They face unhappy choices and wonder how to scale back for efficiency without stripping their organization of the human and physical assets it needs to grow again when the economy turns around.

AvoLead is the leadership consultancy with the tools to equip leaders facing these and other challenges. Besides having professionals with Change Readiness GaugeTM certification that enables them to help their clients survive and thrive, AvoLead offers workshops such as Leadership Resilience: Leveraging Your Strength in Turbulent Times. Call us today at (919) 450-8930 to find out how to put our expertise to work for your organization.

[1] Kiechel III, Walter, “Seven Chapters of Strategic Wisdom.” strategy+business magazine, Spring 2010, Issue 58, February, 2010: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/10109.

Photo credit: Jeu d’échecs en pierre” by Pascal Thauvin, via stock.xchng