Eric Kulikowski wanted to be an astronaut.
He pursued this dream early in his career, attaining a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering and eventually landing a job designing rockets. It wasn’t until later that Kulikowski found his true calling as a leader-development coach.
As it turns out, his new career was nothing like his old one: It wasn’t carefully planned with education. It wasn’t number- or design-focused. And it didn’t allow for his introverted personality. But it made sense to him and he wanted to help others learn as he did how to become an effective leader.
Kulikowski’s transformation into an award-winning operations leader is the subject of the Nov. 12-14, IWLA Technology & Operations Solutions for Warehousing Conference keynote in Chicago, Ill. The topic, “Why Should They Care: Overcoming the Resistance to Change,” will focus on how to get your employees to:
- understand the change and why it’s necessary;
- understand the process of change; and
- understand what the new order looks like after the change occurs.
According to Kulikowski leaders determine whether a change is successful. “Leaders are the catalysts to helping people be successful. But first, they need to look at the situation and each individual to figure out what motivates them.”
One tactic he cites as key to figuring out motivations: Listening.
“We all have a movie playing in our heads of all of our life experiences; and you are the star. Successful leaders need to encourage employees to share these life experiences with them. Listen to their goals and objections of wanting to change or not wanting to change,” Kulikowski says.
He says that when leaders figure out where employees are coming from it takes the guessing out of how to get people behind them.
People, Process, Technology
Every system requires the right people, process, or technology to operate successfully. Kulikowski believes that most of people are natural leaders in one or two of these areas.
He also believes there is no technology in the world that can overcome resistance to change. If people don’t get it, they don’t care, and they don’t have the skills, it will never be achieved, he says.
To achieve change a leader must employ a self-awareness of his/her strengths and a willingness change his/her mindset to improve skills in the other core areas.
“Steve Jobs, for example, was brilliant in process and technology, but a horrible people person,” Kulikowski says. “Most people are not born leaders: We need some help.”
What does successful change look like? According to Kulikowski it will never be perfection.
“When leaders are working through a change, the goal should never be that everyone in an organization adopt the change without any resistance. There will always be disagreement. The goal is to communicate the future state, the benefit of the change and the risk for not adopting this change. When that happens, it will lead the transition into change and people will adopt it based on their understanding.”
To discover Kulikowski’s leadership tactics (effective engagement methods, reasons why resistance occurs, and communication techniques to increase your effectiveness), register for the Nov. 12-14, 2014, IWLA Tech/Ops Conference.