According to the WSJ, Nokia is searching for a new CEO to revive an organization that sells lots of cell phones but has been unable to compete in the high-end smartphone market. The WSJ says, “The company’s failure to get back in the race has taken a toll.” Selling in the mainly lower-end market limits profit margins. So what does the company do to push change…they search for a new CEO.
Leadership is a prime driver of change, and top leadership is the primary influencer of an organization’s culture. Thus, several things must be decided before looking for a new leader.
- First, decide what is working with the culture and what needs to be changed. Is a new strategy with corresponding values what leadership must advocate or is the problem deeper? A clear assessment of the Core Culture and particularly the Purpose and distinctive and enduring Philosophy of Nokia must be assessed. What are they and can the organization survive sustaining that Purpose and those distinctive organizing principles that are the character of the company. Is a character change needed or a strategy change? Hopefully, it’s just a strategy change because the former requires a much more complex process of transformation.
- Next, if the change is just a strategy change, be sure the new leader personally advocates and believes in the Purpose and Philosophy. If that leader sees the organization in a new way, changes may be made that were not intended.
Selecting new leadership is a delicate process. But first understand what must be sustained and what needs to alter. Then, choose the leader that will take the organization in the right direction rather than destroying those attributes that matter most to employees and the customers who identify with it.