Posted by Soumitra Dasgupta on Feb28th 2011

Last Thursday 24th Feb, once again we hosted the CEO Forum in Noida at Hotel Park Plaza. By 5.15 in the
evening, the participants started filling in as we geared up for an exciting evening ahead. Mr Saugat Sen, from
Cadence who also leads the Education initiative in Noida, delivered the welcome address. He spoke briefly on the
various SIGs, that of NRC Noida and the progress made in the last couple of years, since inception. The body was
well on its way in creating “islands of sanity,” Mr Sen remarked. Incidentally, this was Curtis Bateman’ s
(the speaker) tenth visit to India, so it was really familiar territory for him. Mr Sen then introduced the speaker –
the CEO of Spencer Johnson Foundation.

Curtis Bateman has the looks of a film star and a pleasant personality to match. “Good evening, and how are you
tonight?” as he thundered in and suddenly the atmosphere became charged as CEOs shed their expected
weariness after a long day and perked up to listen to him. Curtis, then went on to introduce the topic – the
importance of change and how it can necessarily be a competitive advantage. He also spoke briefly about Spencer
Johnson’s other bestseller – The One-minute Manager. “Who moved my cheese,” was a bestselling brand, having
sold 27 million copies worldwide, and published in 42 languages. It even sold in countries where they don’t consume
cheese, like Japan, he remarked jokingly much to the loud guffaws of the participants. Even today, it sold 20-30000
copies a month and the Spencer Johnson Foundation has worked with the likes of Microsoft, VMWare and large
government entities.


Is all about speed. To get the community buy-in, an initiative, which is expected to yield results and lead to greater
alignment. Where do we really experience change? New technology that has come in, or a changing business
model. If done well, change can lead to greater success. It has been observed that 75% of change initiatives result
in failures and more often than not, only partially succeed. Recent studies conducted, indicate, that amongst the
CEOs that were fired, a staggering 28% were because of mismanaged change. The gap between expected change
and the ability to manage it, has quite simply trebled over the last four years, Curtis said. More likely, technology is
at the forefront of change.

Why do we need change?

  • Reduce cost
  • Move from good performance to great performance
  • Mergers
  • Turn around crisis situation

Cost of disengaged employees:

They become disengaged when they go through a change and are not sure about it. Gallup studies indicate
that 400 Bn US$ is lost due to productivity.

Cost of replacing employees:

At entry level, it is 50% of annual salary. Mid-level is 150% followed by 400% at the highest level.

Change Assessment:

It is based on study that evaluate companies based on their ability to change: Readiness, Innovation, Influence,
speed and results.

Many moods of change:

Negative: Anxiety, Confusion, frustration, fatigue and resistance. The positives are: Sense of focus, enthusiasm,
hope and confidence.

How big is the change? Impact?

  • 34 % of change can be classified as very large; 26% is large and only 5% is small. The change that we experience is really quite
  • 68% of respondents are unsure of their role in a changing environment
  • 56% cited lack of stability
  • 73% were willing to give in their best
  • 60% feel that change will not necessarily make things better
  • 50% responded, that they understand why the change was necessitated
  • 70% feel that they don’t really need to do anything about it

Communication during such times, is a major differentiator, Mr Naresh Gupta from Adobe added to the discussion.

Who Moved My Cheese Story:

The story resonates with the IT industry, which is largely about Change Management. IT companies constantly
strive to be more agile and provide better services.

Change Management and Change Leadership

5 elements of leading change: Vision, communication, alignment, engagement and accountability. Few people in
the organisation really and truly understand why things are changing. Mostly, only information is communicated.
That is not effective communication, for which a two-way communication needs to be opened. If your front-line
employees get disconnected, it results in dragging down the entire organisation.

IT Change Management is about:

  • Programs
  • Plans
  • Procedures
  • Practises
  • Processes and,
  • Projects


  • It’s not about change, it’s about what change brings
  • Simple is better without being simplistic
  • Encountering change does not make you unique, it is your response to change which does
  • The market, company, your business will encounter change
  • You always have a choice – the Hem & Haw story
  • Communication has to be initiated
  • Change is not an event – takes time and commitment. If you are a leader – don’t stop

Change Management skills:

  • Take new actions
  • Recognise abstracts and
  • Have a sensible vision of success

High performers:

  • They are all flexible to change and develop a competitive advantage

We thanked Curtis Bateman for his wonderful presentation as the evening opened for some networking. It was time
well spent, we all agreed.