Posted in change, leadership

Driving Change

I read a book on the history UPS on a travel day back to Buffalo. It was a quick read, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. If you are looking for a successful change case study with more than 100 years of evidence, give this book a read soon.  Below are some thoughts that I found interesting:

“To be constructively dissatisfied is to be far more interested in improving what is bad than crowing about what is good.”

UPS used constructive dissatisfaction to continually tinker with status quo. Each year would be a different theme – one year fleet efficiency, another year innovation, and yet another expansion into a new city.

“Corporate values cannot be seen or touched, but they can be discovered  indirectly. Bedrock corporate values reverberate through an organization, shaping behaviors and driving companies to exhibit, collectively, many of the same characteristics as people.”

  1. UPS CEOs stepped for the next person after their “unspoken” term was up.
  2. No nepotism rules were created at the company long before most companies thought in those terms.
  3. During the intensive holiday busy season, new hires are assisted by thousands of supervisors in an all-hands-on-deck effort to meet customer needs.
  4. Metro college was created around the UPS night schedule so that UPS employees could attend college courses with tuition paid by UPS, allowing for the student to attend college and have a part-time job without conflict.


  1. Create a culture of constructive dissatisfaction
  2. Little things matter – perhaps most of all
  3. Express empathy for your employees
  4. Emphasize training
  5. Lead employees out of their comfort zone
  6. Believe in your employees
  7. Promote from within

Reference: Mike Brewster and Frederick Dalzell. (2007) DRIVING CHANGE: The UPS Approach to Business. New  York: Hyperion


For a list of Sheila’s books, check out


Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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