Joy – The Result of Unity/Resilience

I learned today that Beethoven wrote his immensely successful Ninth Symphony to convince people that the only way to Joy is through unity. In writing it, he became so absorbed and then personally infected that by the time he and, ultimately, his audience came to the “Ode to Joy”, they were consumed by it.

Beethoven read Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” poem and started setting it to music in 1793 when he was only 22.  He returned to his “Ode to Joy” themes numerous times over his lifetime but did not complete a piece of music on it until he was commissioned to write the Ninth Symphony in 1822. He wanted to introduce the human voice to this special symphony about Joy and became the first classical composer to include a chorus and soloists within a  symphony.

The Ninth Symphony intended to reflect Schiller’s themes about human conflict resolved by unity. The Symphony’s fourth, “Ode to Joy”, movement begins with outrage and tumult, then restates themes from the first three movements, but interrupted and rejected – signifying conflict. A new theme is introduced, is slowly accepted, and ends with a triumphant statement of the new theme. Human voices are introduced to sing the new theme, “O friends, not these tones. Instead, let us sing more pleasing and joyful ones.” Beethoven’s objective was to display two concepts: the universal brotherhood of man through joy, and love of the heavenly father.

Without knowing the Beethoven story behind the Ninth Symphony, Joy is also how I ended my recent book about the concepts and strategies for sustainably achieving organization change, The DNA of the Resilient Organization When I began writing the final chapter, I recalled that when organizations achieved the higher levels of unity that lead to greater Resilience, they also reached high levels of organizational Joy. I realized that unity and joy are linked. That is the surprise and wonderful result of working towards unity/resilience!

“By now, you should understand that Resilience = Unity . . . And that true unity leads to joy. The greater the unity, the greater the resilience. . .

“Unity, a collective heartbeat, is achieved with organizational wisdom and strength. The greater the collective Wisdom and Strength, the more likely the entity is to achieve a collective heartbeat, as . . . winning teams . . . all demonstrate.

“It is unity – with one another and with the Higher Power – that enables individuals to take risks, to innovate, to work zealously to accomplish the Mission and achieve the Vision. Unity enables resilience and, ultimately, the Joy of working for a greater good that sustains resilience.”

Excerpts from Chapter 10, The DNA of the Resilient Organization – How One Collective Heartbeat Creates Continuous Competitive Advantage.

 

 

 

My New Course – A Unique Linking of Two Disciplines

My new adventure – teaching a graduate course at Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management – starts August 26. Clients, friends and family keep asking “What is the course about?” Its base is my new book, The DNA of the Resilient Organization, expanded to teach the skills necessary to effectively accomplish the concepts.

Clients, readers of my book, and Willamette University professors have said that the Book is very important because it is the first to link two major disciplines: Organization Development and Risk Management. 

In other words, the book and the course teach how to unify an organization’s people while simultaneously building high quality infrastructure to support their work. The result is greater Resilience. Several experts have said the Book is the first true sequel to Peter Senge’s Fifth Discipline, written in 1990. The DNA of the Resilient Organization moves several steps beyond – to organization Unity/Resilience.

Here is a description of the course, which is titled, “Enterprise Risk Reduction for Sustainable Growth”:

This course is the first to link Organization Development and Risk Management. Linking the two enables resilience. When the two disciplines are effectively linked, the result is sustainable change, leading to greater unity/resilience.

Contrary to popular perception, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) need not stifle innovation. Effective ERM, linked with strong Organization Development, can assure successful and sustainable accomplishment. Therefore, ERM enables organizational resilience, defined as strength in adversity and the ability to bounce back in difficult situations. Reducing the impact of risks enables organizations to make positive changes more effectively and react to challenges more efficiently, with less trauma to the organization.

This course focuses on ways to reduce enterprise risk and thereby build resilience and greater sustainability for all types and sizes of organizations. Several concepts utilized in the course are derived from basic auditing concepts. These steps are simple but iterative, linking and constant, displaying how every change initiative can be used to define and assess related risks and to develop solutions that improve and embed greater resilience.

Using experiences with hundreds of organizations (for-profit, not-for-profit and governmental) and from guest speakers, students will learn organizational issues, tools, and solutions that can affect change initiatives, for better or worse.

For more information, visit Sandra’s Faculty Page

Another New Role — University Professor!

Willamette UniversityI just signed a contract to begin teaching a course in the Fall that I developed at the request of Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management. The course is called, “Enterprise Risk Reduction for Sustainable Growth”.

Teaching has been a lifelong dream but I never thought it would happen. As a result of my new Book, The DNA of the Resilient Organization, the dream has come true. The course mirrors and expands the Book’s theme of combining risk management and organization development tools and approaches to achieve resilience. That’s the only way to effectively build resilience in this rapid-paced, constantly changing world.

The DNA of the Resilient OrganizationThe 2nd year graduate course defines and describes Organizational Resilience – strength in adversity and the ability to bounce back in difficult situations. Resilience is the goal of all risk management tools, processes, systems and structures. Resilience also enables sustainable growth through the embedded ability to respond to opportunities while minimizing risk of failure.

The process to achieving greater resilience is simple but iterative and constant, using every change project to define and assess related risk and to develop solutions that improve and embed greater resilience. This process builds group wisdom and organizational strength; together they build unity. Greater unity = greater resilience.

I am especially excited because I will teach at Willamette University, at its Atkinson Graduate School of Management. Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 business school rankings named Willamette’s MBA program a “top business school.” The Willamette MBA is the only program listed in Oregon and one of only two in the Pacific Northwest.  The Willamette MBA program is also one of only two MBA programs in the world to achieve dual accreditation in both Business and Public Administration.

On almost every change project, the leader who hires me asks that I also coach a promising leader as part of the project. Now I can help many more people and organizations through teaching graduate students who will become strong, knowledgeable leaders!

 

© The Suran Group, 2015

Sandra Suran’s article honored by national professional journal as one of Top 10 of All-time

JCAF CoverSandra’s 2003 article “How to Implement Change Effectively” was published in the Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance (John Wiley & Sons). It was recently selected as one of the Top Ten of All-Time articles published “based on frequency of access by readers and the ongoing usefulness of its content.”  The Journal is “directed to CEO’s, corporate accounting & financial executives, and to outside auditors and accountants working with corporations.”

Kelly Sullivan, Wiley Journal Editor, Knowledge Services, notified Sandra this week that her article will be featured in the upcoming “Best of JCAF” May/June Issue, scheduled to print on April 18, 2015. Kelly said, “New readers will find these articles engaging and thought- provoking, while prior readers will appreciate the review of such enduring works.”

After publishing “How to Implement Change Effectively” in 2003, Wiley & Sons editors asked Sandra to write a book focused on the article. It took a while but Sandra’s book, “The DNA of the Resilient Organization” was printed in late 2014. The honored article topics are a core concept of the book, expanded and integrated with the strategies necessary to simultaneously build long term resilience.

To read the full article, click below:

“How To Implement Change Effectively”

For more of Sandra’s publications:

The DNA of the Resilient Organization

 

The DNA of the Resilient Organization 

A variety of Articles & Speeches

 

 

barnes-and-noble-icon  Amazon-icon

Cultural Barriers that Create the Glass Ceiling

SpeakingWhileFemaleI was invigorated by a recent New York Times article, “Speaking While Female” written by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.   It is a superb example of why the problem of ‘not enough women in upper management and the Board Room’ hasn’t been solved in the last 30 years as it should have been. Finally, people recognize the problem – now it can be fixed!

The article summarizes very recent research that proves that when men speak, people (both men and women) listen. When a woman speaks, “she’s barely heard or she’s judged as too aggressive!” When men say almost the same thing, their ideas are appreciated. New studies, undertaken at Yale and at the University of Texas, are described in the article. The results conclusively confirm this gender bias.

As I read the article, I was reminded of an effort I led almost 30 years ago after my firm merged with KPMG (then Peat Marwick Mitchell). The goal of the effort was to help KPMG make greater strides in developing women as Partners. Women were not making Partner in the percentages they should have, given the average time for men to achieve Partner status.

Armed with a White Paper describing the situation, possible change initiatives, and the benefits of making changes to accelerate the professional development of women into partners at the firm, several male senior partners and I made a presentation to the Human Resource Director. He listened to our pitch politely, then dashed our hopes for any changes when he said, “You are wrong; we don’t need to make any changes. Now that we proactively seek out women as new hires, it is only a matter of time until they start making partner in the same percentages as men.”

The HR Director was wrong; it didn’t happen. The Accounting profession has some of the lowest rates for women at the top of any profession (an average of 20% for the four largest firms), despite the fact that the number of women new hires has averaged over 50% for decades. To their credit in the last ten years, KPMG has moved to vigorously change their percentages and now has aggressive programs to enhance career growth for women.

It still isn’t enough in the accounting profession, banking, law or in most industries. Women are in the workforce at almost equal numbers as men; they are in high percentages at middle management, but their numbers are abysmal in upper management, the C-Suite and in the Boardroom.

The problem is the culture and the environment. Nothing has been done to change it, or to even recognize that as the problem, until very recently. This article is the first recognition of the culture and environment problem I have seen, not only in accounting but for any industry.

We have to change the culture in business for women to make greater progress in reaching the top and succeeding in those positions. Promoting more women and selecting more women for Boards is a good step, as suggested in the article, but not good enough. True integration and equality of women in the workplace won’t happen until cultural issues are recognized as the problem, addressed, and solutions developed in each industry and within individual organizations.

The DNA of the Resilient Organization

Game Changer

Sandra A. Suran was just featured in the January 2015 issue of ASPIRE Magazine, a very cool, online, international magazine.  

ASPIRE’s mission is to inspire people around the world to use business as a force for good and to shine the spotlight on Game Changers.  

Susan SuranSo, they tell the stories of Game Changers to inspire and share their best practices to empower others to follow their lead.

Here is a link to the article about Sandra, written by Susan Bender Phelps:

“The Collective Heartbeat – The Foundation for Organizational Resilience”

Click to hear more about ASPIRE:  www.theaspiremag.com

What’s greater than a Magic Bullet?

Magic Bullet imageDo you know how to improve the resilience of your organization?  There is no magic bullet. But, there is a way to improve resilience constantly while making changes more efficiently and sustainably.

Changes don’t stick unless the people in your organization want them to happen. And people don’t want changes to happen unless they truly believe it will be successful and will benefit the organization, their department and their job.

Even great “magic bullet” solutions soon lose their impact.  The best improvements to infrastructure (processes, systems and organization structure) and cutting edge improvment tools don’t necessarily accomplish their intended purpose if they aren’t effectively linked with each other and with all stakeholders.  And none of these changes by themselves will help build resilience for the long haul.

You can improve your organization’s ability to make sustainable changes while also increasing people’s desire to make changes.  That’s the key to success: build ability (with tools, improved infrastructure) and desire (through increased group knowledge and trust) at the same time.   My new book The DNA of the Resilient Organization and the Workshop of the same name will teach you how to embed resilience with every change project you undertake.

Buy The DNA of the Resilient Organization at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s and other great book stores. Ask about Group Presentations and the Workshop: info@thesurangroup.com.

The DNA of the Resilient Organization“Great book for the large or small organization. It has so much content focused on connecting the pieces of the structure, the culture and the thinking of the organization. And then Sandra gives example at each step on how it works and how it doesn’t work when those pieces do not come together. This is a book that pulls together the missing links to help an organization determine what is missing, so they can fix the problems moving toward synthesis and resilience.”  Steve Harpham, Living Water Financial Advisors, Former Controller, UPS

“In this book Sandra Suran does a beautiful job of bringing together all the concepts that make up a resilient organization.  Sandra has worked with our company a number of times over the years and has helped us be the resilient company we are.  My management team is reading it to prepare us for the future.”  Tom Kelly, President, Neil Kelly Company