Dave Osh Emphasizes the Importance of Starting Change at the Top

In a world filled with uncertainty and complexity, businesses and organizations are constantly striving to navigate these challenging times. One key aspect that often gets overlooked is the importance of leadership alignment and the ability to make effective decisions in the face of uncertainty. Dave Osh, the CEO of Varlinx, a company specializing in leadership development and organizational change, sheds light on the significance of starting change at the top.

When asked about the key pain points that Varlinx addresses, Dave Osh points to the misalignment of leadership teams as the primary challenge. This misalignment, most times subtle, manifests in various ways, such as different teams executing decisions in different directions even when the leadership team made decisions cohesively. In uncertain times, this misalignment becomes even more pronounced as leaders grapple with executing decisions amid rapidly changing technology and business landscape.

5 Big Mistakes Organizations Make

Dave Osh believes that companies spend millions on executive coaching and leadership development without receiving a return on their investment. In Dave’s view, companies make three big mistakes. 

First, they pour money down the drain, focusing their development efforts on middle management in order to develop a leadership pipeline. Second, they spend resources on leadership training and executive coaching without real-time relevant business context. Third, their development efforts are fast paced and short term 6-12 months while it takes 18 months to transform leadership teams and three years to transform organizations because transformation doesn’t happen when teams slow down. Fourth, the developmental efforts don’t go deep enough into changing the mindsets, beliefs, and assumptions of individuals, teams, and the culture. Last but not least, they don’t engage a critical mass of pivotal influencers across the organization to reach a tipping point.

In a nutshell, the lack of breadth, depth, and length of leadership interventions yields no significant change despite the time, effort, and money organizations spend.  

The Importance of Top-Down Change

Dave Osh strongly emphasizes the need to start change at the top of an organization and only after 6-18 months when the leadership team transforms, expand it to the second leadership tier and after 6-18 months when the second tier transforms, expand it to the third tier. He argues that companies cannot perform at a level higher than that of the collective effectiveness of their top team. Therefore, leadership transformation should always start at the top. 

One of the significant outcomes of Varlinx’s work is the transformation of organizational culture. Dave Osh highlights the interconnectedness of individual and organizational culture. By helping the individual executives of the senior leadership team change behaviors, Varlinx generates a cultural butterfly effect across the organizations. This transformation starts at the top, with leadership teams setting the tone for cultural change.

Many believe that culture is a set of a company’s values, beliefs, and attitudes. Dave Osh claims that culture is a set of collective behaviors organizations can change when the senior leaders start to demonstrate new behaviors. That’s why every change must start at the top. Dave Osh’s coaching empowers the executives’’ behavior change to shape the team’s culture and, at the same time, let the changes in the team culture shape the executives’ behaviors. This is the most crucial interdependence and interconnectedness of successful leadership development. 

The Transformational Journey

Dave Osh’s approach to leadership development is grounded in the belief that leadership is not merely a learned skill but a developmental capacity that can be upgraded. Leadership teams cannot run new behaviors on an old operating system. Most leadership development programs’ mistake is that they try to change behaviors without upgrading the operating system. Varlinx focuses on developing the leadership capacity, which is the upgrade of the operating system, to enable new leadership behaviors effectively.

When organizations partner with Varlinx, they embark on a transformative journey. The most significant change often observed is the breaking down of silos between different functions within the organization. Teams that previously operated independently start working interdependently, leading to greater cohesiveness and innovation. 

However, interdependence starts with the senior leadership team. It is the single most important virtue that makes a leadership team a team. If team members work independently, for example, the CRO leads sales, the CMO leads marketing, and the CFO leads finance, all independently of each other, then they are not a real team. They come together to aggregate the results, and the CEO is the aggregator, the hub and spoke, while they are missing an opportunity to create a whole that is bigger than just the sum of the parts. They play like a Golf team rather than a football team.

Dave Osh challenges the conventional idea of “realizing your full potential.” He believes that leadership potential is not fixed but expandable. Varlinx aims to help teams and organizations expand their leadership potential. This expansion leads to more extensive choices, better decision-making, and a greater capacity to thrive in a complex world.

Dave Osh and Varlinx offer a wider, deeper, and longer organizational transformation.  Starting change at the top, aligning leadership teams, and breaking organizational silos are the cornerstones of their approach. By focusing on cultural transformation and helping individuals and teams realize their full potential, Varlinx provides a path for organizations to accelerate growth in an ever-increasing complexity and uncertainty.

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