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How to Lead Massive Change

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Sondra Barbour is the chief information officer and senior vice president of enterprise business services at Lockheed Martin. She’s a company veteran and change leader who has taken on increasingly responsible positions over the course of her career. I spoke with her recently about what she’s learned along the way. Some of the highlights from our conversation include:

  • Leading Massive Change: When leading change, Barbour focuses on the connection between two key factors: communication and identifying the influencers. She notes that the influencers are “sometimes not the people you think” they would be. Once you find them, you have to establish two-way communication with them.
  • Get Comfortable with Mistakes: Leading change means you’re going to make mistakes. Barbour says, “You can’t be right 100% of the time, and if you are then you are not taking enough risk.” When a mistake is made, call it out and let your team know what you’re going to do to correct it.
  • Maintaining Your Sanity: Leading massive change can be stressful. Barbour has learned that it’s important to take time for yourself in whatever ways work for you. She’s not a disciple of work/life balance. Instead, she believes fun and fulfillment can and should be had in both arenas.

Barbour has a lot more to say about change leadership in the accompanying podcast.

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Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

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