Design for Change—Be SPEC’L

January 2013, by So-Young Kang

It’s the New Year. Happy 2013! I just got back from 5 weeks traveling around the world starting from Israel through NY, LA and Korea with a stopover in Mammoth to go snowboarding in beautiful, fresh white powder. I feel rested and energized. I hope that you have had some time to really enjoy the power of rest.

As we start out the year, many are planning for the year – What should our targets be? How can we grow the business? What should our priorities be? How do you want to change and grow your business? While you are in the midst of planning, how many are you are challenged with thinking about how to execute your plans? What is required to transform your business? Who is needed? What skills are required? Does your culture support your desired outcomes? What does that mean for you as the leader?

Whenever your business strategy changes or shifts, your people strategy must also shift to get into alignment.

So how can we get ready and intentional about managing the required changes? Is our environment conducive to attracting the ‘best and the brightest’ and keeping them? We have developed a holistic framework we call the SPEC’L Framework to help our clients navigate the complexities of aligning purpose and strategy to people.


It starts with the center – “Purpose.” Is everyone clear on your new vision, values and strategy for your organization? Are you clear on what that is? For example, why do you want to drive more sales? Who do you want to stand for? From here, organizations typically start with recreating the “Environment” which encompasses everything from the physical to the virtual space as well as the systems and processes to support the new strategy. These are the most visible and tangible areas to change and influence. The irony is that the ‘hard’ tangible parts are typically much easier to focus on than the ‘soft’ or ‘heart’ parts of strategy – the people side. From there, organizations often realize that their people are not able to sell more widgets because they lack some hard or soft skills so then there is a focus on “Capabilities” to start training people on the new capabilities required. All of this is a great starting point but insufficient to drive the true change and get the results you desire. The top two areas tend to be the tougher areas as they are harder to measure and intangible. But we realize that in order to truly be SPEC’L, you need the “Story” and “Leadership” to hold everything together.

“Story” is about crafting messages and communicating the changes in a way that resonates with everyone in your organization from staff to managers to partners and investors. It’s about authentic connection of the corporate purpose to the individual person. For example, what does it mean for me personally to drive more sales? Why do I care about that? “Leadership”, which tends to be the hardest part, is about leadership embodying the changes they desire through role modeling it first. It’s about ‘walking the talk.’ If you say you want your staff to be empowered to create a wow experience for customers, do you really empower them in your day-to-day interactions? What do you do when they make a mistake? Leadership is about an expansion of who you are and how you lead to drive the organization forward to truly be…SPEC’L.

Are you ready for the changes you wish to see in your organization? Do you want to be SPEC’L?

Please contact us if you are serious about designing for change within your organization and want to be SPEC’L. We have a 20-point diagnostic that will help you assess where you are to get started on your journey.