Sharon Rich wants to keep your organization from inadvertently sabotaging the change it needs. For the past five and a half years, Sharon has focused just about every waking hour on facilitating people and organizations going through major change. Her interest stems back over a decade to her experience as a member of the management team of the LA office of a global ad agency, when she witnessed a spectacularly botched change effort that decimated the entire company.
After 25 years in hands-on business leadership roles, working side-by-side with many incredibly smart and talented people who were never professionally developed to become effective leaders, Sharon found her true calling. She became an accredited business coach, certified professional behavior analyst and trusted consultant to the heads of (primarily) mid-market organizations approaching major change who do not want to unintentionally undermine their own objectives.
Sharon has worked with leaders going through change at an Ivy League university, a Fortune 10 company, a major motion picture studio and other organizations in the media, technology, manufacturing and financial sectors. She is the author of the increasingly popular leadership blog, Inspired to Succeed, about which readers have said, “your messages fill a void in my life priorities, and show me answers I already know, but am somehow not able to bring forth,” and” your messages are sometimes uncanny in their relevance to something going on in my life and work.” (To sign up, go to http://www.leadershipincorporated.com.)
Sharon lives in Los Angeles with her husband, who is an IdeaMensch in his own right, and two budding creative teenagers. She works with clients all over the world as well as throughout the U.S. Sharon also is on the faculty of Coach, Inc. and the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.
She is also the author of Your Hidden Game, a book about the unconscious rules that determine how people work together in organizations without the entrepreneur’s awareness…that completely determine their outcomes. It’s about how people go on autopilot in the ways we work together and continue to take collective actions that don’t support our success. It’s about ten invisible “agreements” that entrepreneurs need to bring out of the shadows to take control of the business culture and the results it produces. Her book has been an Amazon Bestseller in Teams, Workplace Culture and a few other categories.
What are you working on right now?
I am working with a marketing guru on getting the message out to leaders of businesses approaching a major change. Very few change situations (mergers, acquisitions, business sales and even workforce reductions) meet expectations. All we have to do is look at the oil, banking and home loan industries to see that intelligence and talent alone do not predict success. I’m developing my ability to get out the message that companies who want to survive and thrive in the future must assess and develop their management teams.
3 Trends that excite you?
1. Professional Development
More and more organizations are getting that nothing has as strong of a positive impact on the bottom line as the skills, preparedness and nurturing of their people. It is incredibly exciting to see what people are capable of when they are given the space, structure and encouragement to grow.
2. Corporate Responsibility
Although we still have a long way to go before every organization is on board, there are a growing number of businesses committed to the triple bottom line: people and planet, as well as profit. When leadership starts looking at how they can leverage responsibility to enhance success all kinds of new possibilities appear.
3. Opportunity Creation
This is the realization that we can proactively create what we want in our work and lives rather than passively accepting and conforming to existing opportunities. (OK, so maybe it’s not a trend yet, but I’m working hard to make it one. And my clients are blown away by the miracles that are happening in their work and lives.)
How do you bring ideas to life?
The most basic tool of creation is the word. So I begin by completely visualizing my ideas in as much detail as possible. Then I work to articulate them as simply and clearly as I can. I get them in writing and loosely scripted so I can speak of them comfortably in all kinds of situations. I speak of them as if they already are happening. And before I know it, they are!
What is one mistake you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
In the early days of my career, when I saw a clearly better way to do something I thought I could change the way others worked and lived. I’ve learned that I can’t change others. I can only invite them to change themselves.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
My favorite tool is also a book: “The Work” by Byron Katie. (The book, which explains the tool, is “Loving What Is” also by Byron Katie.) This simple, yet profound approach to working with our thinking, removes barriers and opens up possibilities like nothing else I’ve seen. I’ve yet to find a situation that The Work didn’t enhance.
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The idea that change is not an event but a continuous process seems critically important right now. Whether you are leading an organization or leading your own life, if you are not in a conscious state of change, you are in a state of denial. Being aware and embracing that change makes all the difference in the results you produce.
What is the most satisfying thing you’ve done in your career?
Two years ago when the economy bottomed out and people were laid off by the tens of thousands, after a moment of feeling completely helpless, I realized that I could apply the leadership work I was doing to people in transition and make a real difference. I launched a program called Layoff BounceBack, which shows job seekers an alternate path to finding work that is both more empowering and more effective than the traditional. I have supported more than 100 people in finding work since then. And many have found not just work, but their dream jobs.
What is the biggest change you have gone through personally?
I have been through corporate change, career change and helped many other leaders through business change situations, but the biggest change for me was becoming a parent. I had to fundamentally change who I was as a human being, and I notice that as my children get older I have to continue to be fluid at a deeper level than any business change has ever asked of me.
You can find more about me at:
Sharon Rich on Twitter: @sharonrich
Sharon Rich on LinkedIn:
E-mail: [email protected]
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.