Leaderly Quote: Change starts with unlearning

You don’t need a big team to make a big impact if you know how to lead change.

Srishti Gupta, President and General Manager, Media with IRI leads a small team of passionate, entrepreneurial individuals who are bringing cultural change to a much larger organization.

When she took on her current role Gupta took on the challenge of building IRI’s digital media business, a suite of digital targeting and measurement solutions for companies in the retail, consumer goods and healthcare. She and her team needed to move rapidly to start up a completely new business line while bringing the entire 4,000-person organization along.

Three steps for leading change

So how have Gupta and her small team brought cultural change to a much larger organization? While she is a fan of Kotter’s 8-step process for leading change Gupta acknowledges, “The pace at which we are moving is so fast that there’s no time for the 8 steps. They get shrunk and combined.”

In this rapid-paced environment, some of Gupta’s techniques for leading rapid, company-wide change have been:

Communicate early and communicate often.
• Identify evangelists.
Fail fast.

The approach yielded success. “We scaled it up to be one of the highest growth areas of the business,” reflects Gupta.

Embrace “unlearning” and lifelong learning

“Any change starts from unlearning what you already know,” says Gupta, who advises emerging leaders to develop a personal roadmap for “unlearning” and learning again, as a way to keep themselves and their team members up to date. In practice, this involves techniques like reverse mentorship, fostering an organizational culture of growth and change, and celebrating risk-taking.

If your team is being challenged by change, providing them with opportunities to upgrade their skills can help them adapt. “We all need to be lifelong learners,” says Gupta. “The water’s changing really fast. Preparing the team for the future will help to put them in control.”

Connect with Srishti Gupta at @srishtikgupta  or on LinkedIn.

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Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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