How is the Answer


When it comes to transforming your organization, good intentions will only get you to the starting line. The “whys” and “whats” of change management are significant, of course, but turning theory into practice requires direction. Therein lies the critical difference between Vlatka Hlupic’s The Management Shift and other books that promise to retool and revitalize your culture. Hlupic, a professor at the University of Westminster and founder and CEO of London’s Drucker Society, provides the “hows,” so you can enhance performance and sustain success.

Like many other business experts, Hlupic agrees that the top-down management paradigm is about as practical as a BlackBerry. While it may work for select organizations, the trend toward innovation, collaboration and inclusiveness is undeniable. Hlupic suggests that if you want to remain competitive and profitable, you better empower your people and unleash their creativity and enthusiasm. Hlupic, an in-demand speaker and consultant, spent some time with getAbstract explaining the essence of The Management Shift.

getAbstract: Can you briefly discuss the “6 Box Leadership Model” that is an important component of your book?

Vlatka Hlupic: It’s a diagnostic tool that helps organizations discover hidden strengths and weaknesses in the areas of culture, relationships, individuals, strategy, systems and resources. After the diagnosis, we work with clients on producing a one-year action plan to leverage strengths and address weaknesses. This is the “how” tool of The Management Shift.
All of the six boxes play a very important part in the performance and success of an organization. They need to be understood as interconnected areas, as a weakness in any of these areas will bring down the entire organization’s performance. The two most critical areas are culture and individuals since strengths in these two areas can increase the strength of the other four boxes and shift the entire organization to a new level.

getAbstract: How exactly does the 6 Box Leadership Model work?

Vlatka Hlupic: We use a 120-item questionnaire to assess an organization. Companies can go through either an automated version of the diagnostics and get a PDF report with the main scores, or they can have a bespoke project done, which would include obtaining different samples of data and analyzing them. Then we would offer key recommendations and the action plan for individuals and the organization. We would monitor the impact of the changes and repeat the diagnostics in 12 to 18 months to see how scores have shifted. For more information go to: info@themanagementshift.com or www.themanagementshift.com

getAbstract: In your book, you indicated that the 6 Box Leadership Model is built on the “Emergent Leadership Model” that uses five levels of development to pinpoint how members of an organization engage with their work and with each other, as well as how the company makes progress. Can you explain further?

Vlatka Hlupic: I had been using the Emergent Leadership Model for several years to help C-level executives or executive teams to shift from Level 3 to Level 4. And then I realized that helping one person or one team at a time to shift was not good enough and not fast enough for me. I love big ideas and I love making them happen even more, so I decided that I needed to figure out how to help an entire organization – many organizations, in fact – to shift at the same time.
I had to move from the “what” to the “how.” I went back to my interdisciplinary research projects conducted more than 15 years ago. I read over 1,000 books and articles. I looked at the data from more than 25 case studies, 300 interviews and a survey of 88 organizations and 6,000 respondents, and collected additional data. I then used a thematic analysis on all this data and created a framework with more than 150 factors that drive value creation, engagement and innovation.
Because of my interdisciplinary background and research in complexity theory, I managed to connect the dots and realized that all these factors have to be balanced and managed together, holistically, as a living organism. I grouped these factors in six key areas and produced the 6 Box Leadership Model. About three years ago, I met John Adair, a world-renowned leadership expert. I told him about my work, showed him my models and tools, and he encouraged and inspired me to write a book.

getAbstract: Generation Y employees generally prefer a collaborative culture and, compared with older employees, tend to disapprove of an authoritative leadership style. What can executives and co-workers do to help make the transition easier for older employees?

Vlatka Hlupic: In a few years, Generation Y will form a majority of the workforce, and, indeed, they prefer a collaborative Level 4 culture. In particular, they want to have purposeful work and flexible working patterns. Older employees can be supported through communication; raising awareness; coaching and mentoring processes; focus groups; self-organized communities of passion; and training and development programs.

getAbstract: Can you give us examples of companies that have experienced significant growth by following your suggestions?

Vlatka Hlupic: An interesting example is Unilever. Its CEO, Paul Polman, is focusing on improving peoples’ lives all over the world and caring for the environment (reducing carbon dioxide emissions, etc.) while substantially increasing the company’s size and profits. When he began as CEO in 2009, the share price was in the region of £11 or £12, the engagement scores were in the mid-50s and Unilever was the 10th most in-demand marketing employer in the UK. Today, Unilever is the 3rd most in-demand employer in the world according to LinkedIn, behind Google and Apple. Its engagement scores are in the mid-80s and the share price is around £29. This is a result of a leader with a Level 4 mind-set taking over a company and shifting the culture to Level 4.
Another example is Vineet Nayar with HCL Technologies in India. His company’s shift to Level 4 resulted in a 700% profit increase in seven years, in addition to an improvement in other performance areas

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