Because my passion in life is helping CEOs make high-performance organizations, I’m often asked: “How long does this process take?” Or, “What’s required?” Or, “What are the steps?”
The answer to the first question is, “As long as it takes.”
You can’t make something great by going at it with a short-term frame of mind. Plus, it depends. It depends on what level of effort the CEO puts forth. The lower the priority, the longer it takes. A sadly high percentage of CEOs don’t put enough into it to make it happen in their lifetimes. A CEO who gives it the highest priority could achieve remarkable results in 2-3 years.
The second question: What’s required is whatever it takes. CEOs who are not capable of thinking or doing from that perspective probably shouldn’t undertake the journey. If you don’t have what it takes to climb Mt. Everest, you probably will never do it - even if you try.
Third question: What are the “steps?" Every project of this sort—undertaking to make a great and sustainable high-performance organization—requires a great deal of “customization.” The process has to be adapted to fit that particular CEO, that particular organization in its present circumstances, the existing culture, the orientations of the top people and their competence as people-makers.
There is no magic bullet. There is no one size fits all. There are no “steps.” They have to be improvised out of what’s in place.
Not very satisfactory answers if you thought you could get there by wishful thinking or by business-as-usual. You can’t. What it takes is whatever it takes.