Peter Stewart, Managing Partner, John Parker Stewart, Founder & CEO and Daniel Stewart, President
“A leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”—John C. Maxwell, a renowned author and speaker.
As a change, talent, and leadership development consultant and coach, Daniel J. Stewart is well-versed in what goes into the making of a leader. Since childhood, Daniel had grown up listening to discussions of leadership development at the dinner table with his dad, John Parker Stewart, founder of the global human capital consulting and coaching company, Stewart Leadership. Today, Daniel, along with his father and his brother, Peter Stewart, lead Stewart Leadership leveraging their proven experience of over four decades guiding senior leaders, leading change, and creating leadershiprich organizations.
At the length of his remarkable career, Daniel has seen what leaders can do to inspire, guide, and sustain change as they earn the hearts and minds of their people. On the flip side, he has also noticed the impact when a leader ignores or fails to lead change. In such cases, leaders have a disproportionate impact on their teams and organization. While this is true at any point, it proves to be most disastrous during periods of intense change and disruption. Change can sometimes be challenging to deal with, and the stress can show up differently and at various times during the change process.
"Our change management model assists clients in adopting change and ensuring organizational alignment with goals by creating custom strategies for leaders"
The way leaders position themselves, model the change, and involve others leaves a lasting impression on everyone in the change not just for the short term but in the long run. In a nutshell, it really matters how leaders react and manage through times of change and disruption. To this end, Stewart Leadership has identified five change drivers that leaders need to adopt, including strong communication, modeling a new way of doing things, navigating employee responses during change, setting priorities, and rewarding employees for their accomplishments.
Leveraging these drivers, Daniel and his team of change consultants have devised a change management model at Stewart Leadership to empower organizations to navigate through the winds of change by enabling managers to effectively lead their teams into each new chapter. “Our change management model assists clients in adopting change and ensuring organizational alignment with goals by creating custom strategies for leaders,” remarks Daniel, president, Stewart Leadership.
Change Management Simplified
In essence, change management is about not only managing risks but also achieving three specific objectives of adoption, productivity, and engagement. Elaborating on each, Daniel states that employees have to adapt to change by transitioning into new behaviors from legacy activities. Next, they need to be productive with the new setup to bring more efficiency. Lastly, he explains that employees need to know what to do and how to do it, but just as importantly they need to know why they are doing it. Stewart Leadership enables organizations to mitigate risks in the change management process while accomplishing these three main objectives.
We have a broader perspective on human resources which helps us create solutions that focus on change and a sustained effort on building greater capabilities
To begin with, Stewart Leadership’s onboarding process kickstarts by entering into a collaborative and deep partnership with each client organization. “Even before we engage with a firm, we believe that partnering is extremely important as it creates a strong foundation of trust,” says Daniel. For a strong alliance, the company listens to clients to understand their pain points and tailors each solution based on their requirements rather than offering a one-size-fits-all solution. Stewart Leadership works with senior teams to craft a change strategy based on the ultimate goal. It carries out an organizational scan and scenario-based planning to devise multiple frameworks for effective change management. The company then uses its change model consisting of six elements of change to create a change plan that is flexible, nimble, and effective in managing risks.
The Change Management Model
The model starts with understanding the ‘why and what’ of the client’s change effort to help them communicate their vision clearly to employees. The company helps clients determine the resources and skills they already have and need to accomplish their change goals. The next step in Stewart Leadership’s model is to determine who will be affected by the change and how.
Here, the company works with clients to engage with key stakeholders and support them during the change to simplify the process. They also support clients in modeling a new way of change. The final stages in Stewart Leadership’s model assist clients with action and measurement by creating a plan to prioritize actions. Clients can get insights into metrics to track their strategy and success targets around the specific objectives of adoption, productivity, and engagement.
After creating the change plan, Stewart Leadership shifts into supporting the implementation through ongoing consulting and targeted executive coaching. Training and workshops are conducted so that leaders at all levels in an organization understand their role in the change process, and learn how to use proven tools and techniques. The company provides executive coaching assignments with key leaders to guide them through change.
To ensure alignment of goals within the organization, Stewart Leadership offers team alignment workshops that help managers identify strengths, weaknesses, and management styles of each member so they can lead others more efficiently. Alongside this, the company also carries out cultural and talent development programs to build change management competencies and increase the level of skills that each leader at each level has. This also prepares employees and leaders to embrace change efforts in the future.
At the same time, Stewart Leadership understands the importance of collaboration and supports leaders by strengthening the overall relationships with their boss, teams, peers, as well as customers. “Typically, a single voice is not sufficient to direct and guide people; it requires collaboration across teams with a constant flow of information.
We empower leaders to understand each of these relations and respond to the needs accordingly,” says Daniel.
A Wider Perspective
Importantly, Stewart Leadership focuses on change management and offers complete human capital consulting services with expertise in leadership, teaming, organizational alignment, talent, and succession service areas. “This way, we have a broader perspective of human capital needs which helps us create solutions that focus on change and sustaining new capabilities,” explains Daniel. The company’s consultants and coaches bring this broad perspective to identify areas to focus on and specialize in, to continue supporting clients as appropriate. Similarly, Daniel elaborates on Stewart Leadership’s other distinct differentiator, its size: “Since we are a boutique company relatively smaller in scale, we are nimble and can quickly understand client requirements and be efficient and versatile in our delivery.” As there are a couple of consultants assigned to each project, they have a clear idea about client requirements and facilitate a streamlined flow of communication cost-effectively.
Stewart Leadership’s broad expertise and experience in human capital consultation have empowered numerous organizations over the years. A recent example is that of a healthcare company implementing an ERP Workday solution. Stewart Leadership helped create a change strategy to implement the Workday solution across the organization and developed a governance structure, workstreams, and overall change strategy and plan. The client foundgreat value and assurance in the change plan and consultation as it helped them successfully launch the Workday solution.
What’s more, Stewart Leadership is well-versed in scenario-based strategic planning. A unique approach to strategic planning, scenario-based strategic planning helps clients consider multiple future scenarios so they can prepare themselves for a range of potential outcomes. “Scenario planning will help clients confidently move forward even if things don’t go according to plan as they will already be prepared for multiple instances.”
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, Stewart Leadership intends to provide virtual services. “While in the past there has been face-to-face training and meetings, the way ahead is going to be about virtual and digital workshops. We are now offering a lot of our onsite change management workshops virtually,” says Daniel. Similarly, the company is conducting numerous webinars and providing informative articles to support change management. He believes that change management will have to be quicker and more nimble in the future. To support this shift, Stewart Leadership’s workshops will not only offer general learning but also enable clients to rapidly create change plans specific to the challenges they face. Further, the company will be adding extra coaching services related to change elements for leaders as well as for managers. These coaching programs will help understand the personal side of employees going through change. With such a clearly plotted roadmap, Stewart Leadership will continue to build strong and agile leaders to form the foundation of successful organizations.