Organizational Change - The Secret Sauce For Leading ERP Transformational Change

by Dr. Jack G. Nestell | The ERP Organizational Change Journal Podcast

by | Sep 16, 2022

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About this Episode

In this episode, we dive into ERP transformational change and leadership with Mr. Ian Ziskin. Our conversation is based on the book “The Secret Sauce For Leading Transformational Change©” in which our guest Ian and the Consortium for Change, C4C are the authors.

There are often many diverse views on leading ERP transformational change. What we do know is that organizational leaders and their leadership styles can vary greatly and organizational contexts can vary greatly. But, is there really a common denominator, or a secret sauce that can be learned from CEOs, senior business leaders, HR leaders, organizational culture, and ERP transformational change experts? Let’s learn more together about ERP transformational change. 


Ian Ziskin

Ian Ziskin – President EXec EXcel Group LLC

Co-Founder and Partner of Business inSITE Group (BiG), a strategic partnership focused on
coaching, leadership development, and HR transformation

Co-Founder and Leader of the Consortium for Change
(C4C), a community of coaches and consultants

Co-Founder of the CHREATE Project, designed to address the
future of work and HR.

More About Ian

Ian Ziskin, President of EXec EXcel Group LLC, has 40 years of experience as a business and human resources leader, board advisor and member, coach, consultant, entrepreneur, teacher, speaker, and author. His client base and corporate work span the aerospace and defense, automotive, chemical, consumer products, education, electronic components, energy, entertainment, financial services, health care, high technology, information technology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, professional services, retail, and telecommunications industries, among others. He is the Co-Founder and Partner of Business inSITE Group (BiG), a strategic partnership focused on coaching, leadership development, and HR transformation; Co-Founder and Leader of the Consortium for Change (C4C), a community of coaches and consultants; and Co-Founder of the CHREATE Project, designed to address the future of work and HR.

Ian’s global business leadership experience includes 28 years in Chief Human Resources Officer and/or other
senior leadership roles with three Fortune 100 corporations – Northrop Grumman, Qwest Communications, and TRW.

He has served on numerous Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards for organizations including Humantelligence, Randstad RiseSmart, SucceedSmart, Fluenzy, Allegis Partners, Axion Health, Executive Networks, the SHRM Foundation, USC Center for Effective Organizations, USC Marshall School of Business, HR Policy Association, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS) at Cornell University, Personnel Round Table, and Human Resources People & Strategy. He has also held appointments as an Executive in Residence at the Binghamton University School of Management, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and USC Center for Effective Organizations.

Ian has written or co-edited four books, The Secret Sauce for Leading Transformational Change (2022), Black Holes and White Spaces: Reimagining the Future of Work and HR with the CHREATE Project (2018), THREE: The Human Resources Emerging Executive (2015), and WillBe: 13 Reasons WillBe’s are Luckier than WannaBe’s (2011), and he is a contributing author to The End of Jobs by Jeff Wald (2020), The Rise of HR: Wisdom From 73 Thought Leaders edited by Dave Ulrich, et. al. (2015), and The Chief HR Officer: Defining the New Role of Human Resource Leaders, edited by Pat Wright, (2011). He has written dozens of articles, blogs, and book chapters on the future of work, HR, and leadership, as well as on coaching and HR’s role with the Board of Directors, among other topics.

Ian has a Master of Industrial and Labor Relations degree from Cornell University, where he held a research and teaching assistantship based on scholastic achievement, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Binghamton University, where he graduated magna cum laude. In 1988, Human Resource Executive magazine named Ian one of twelve “Up and Comers in HR.” In 2007, he was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources, considered to be the highest honor in the HR profession.

Episode Highlights Timeline: The Secret Sauce for Leading ERP Transformational Change

07:02 What inspired you to write the book, “The Secret Sauce For Leading Transformational Change“?

10:10 How would you define transformational change?

12:29 What drives the need for Transformational change?

15:37 How would you define successful transformational change?

21:02 You mention that “The book also includes the practical experience and perspectives of an additional several hundred leaders and thinkers who contributed through essays, interviews, a survey, and tools, all focused on the art and science of leading transformational change.” As a practitioner, I agree that leading transformational changes is a bit of a craft and an art. As a researcher, I also believe that applied research has a significant role and value in practice. The “science” part of leading organizational transformation can teach us a lot about fundamental principles that can be applied across organizational contexts. What are your thoughts on this?

23:10 What do you (and your book) say about the value of strategic vision? It seems to me that a shared vision would be the place to start any transformation. Do you agree?

27:01 I really appreciated the idea behind your Chapter 2 titled “The Beauty of And” In it, you share that “Leading transformational change, perhaps more than any other aspect of leadership, is highly dependent on the will and skill to reconcile competing priorities. It often comes down to balancing incongruous interests, and to mastering paradox. But truly effective transformational change is not about winners and losers, or either/or. It is about the beauty of “and.” Can you elaborate more for our listeners, please?

34:38 In general, what does your book share with us in terms of the value of teams and teamwork? Often in ERP organizational change, there are various stakeholder groups that have various levels of diversity in terms of experience, knowledge, motivation, etc. What can you add in terms of stakeholder alignment (and the idea of “toxic positivity”)?

39:08 How would you define organizational culture? And what is its impact on successful transformation?

42:43 Your books shares many factors that leaders “deploy” such as “set a new vision, mission, or sense of purpose”, “drove culture change and innovation”, “built a new team”, “insisted on collaboration”, “held people accountable”, “communicated more transparently”, “made people feel like owners”, “recognized change champions”, “built trust”, “took risks”, “learned from failures”.  It seems to be that throughout your book, a common theme is that successful transformation leaders are quite reflective, and “Every leader learned – both from what they did and did not do”.  Is reflection a natural “thing” for leaders or does it come with intent and practice?

46:03 Piggybacking on the previous question regarding a common denominator, you have a chapter That “is a compilation of great input from 150 people who have led transformational changes, been affected by them, or both.” Your book share that the primary themes that emerged were:

  1. Go First, but Not Alone, 2. Define, Align, and Refine the What and Why, 3. Energize the Village.

But please talk more about “energizing the village”.  What does that look like tactically?

50:16 In Chapter 8 titled “Don’t Do It”, you share a fantastic point, don’t “confuse doing things differently with improving results”. Can you elaborate on this idea? And, in your experience, how much do you see this happening?

52:47 Without giving away the full sauce (we’ll leave it up to our listeners to explore your book), you shared a lot of insight with us today, but what is the key idea of the secret sauce for leading transformational change?

57:54 If you were going to give advice to an organization regarding successful transformational leadership what little golden nugget would you like to leave with our listeners?

More Related Episodes from TheERPocj & Blog Posts: 

Episode 3 – Transformative Leader Ron J. West

Episode 4 – Achieve Organizational Culture Change Success Dr. Daniel Denison

Episode 10 – Leadership: Myths, Behaviors, and Practice Dr. Gary A. DePaul

Episode 15 – Effective organizational Change Dr. Eric A. Canny

Episode 23 – Organizational Transformation: Keys to Success Joe Choorapuzha

Episode 46 – ERP Organizational Change: Process, Practice, and Management David Amborski

Episode 49 – ERP Organizational Change: Stakeholder Dynamics Samantha Jung-Fielding

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