In Boardrooms across the globe it is easy to see how leaders become disconnected from those at the coalface. In such busy times, Leaders get less chance to see the operations and engage with their people. A recent article by Robert Sutton in the HBR (http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/11/) demonstrated the importance of leaders actions in achieving cultural change.
Paul Anderson led BHP through a major turnaround in the late 90′s and early 2000′s. His success is well documented. However, Sutton highlights that his efforts to change safety performance were not as successful until he changed his own behaviour. Paul had to accept that if he didn’t show commitment to safety in his actions then why would the rest of his people? Examples included driving to the speed limit in the office car park and holding the handrail when using the stairs on site.
Simple, yet effective examples of leading by example, creating long term cultural change that created value for the BHP business.