Hawaii Business magazine held the first of its new quarterly breakfast series yesterday at the Plaza Club called “C-Suite: CEOs with Foresight.” Publisher David Tumilowicz led a panel of three top executives, including Dee Jay Mailer, CEO for Kamehameha Schools, Peter Ho, CEO and chairman of the board for Bank of Hawaii, and Robert Hiam, CEO for HMSA, who shared their thoughts about how to create a “change-ready” organization.
Ho said the days of command and control are long gone, so one of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to create buy-in, trust and alignment. Employees today ask a lot of questions, he said, and many have no problem questioning your judgment. “But that’s a good thing,” he insisted, because it gives leaders the opportunity to communicate their goals and hear from people with different perspectives. “If you can’t listen and motivate others, maybe leadership isn’t for you,” Ho said.
When dealing with organizational changes, Mailer added, too much change all at once causes employee fatigue and could impede morale and productivity. To keep employees engaged during challenging times, it’s important to remind people of the organization’s mission and not just their functional responsibilities. “That’s why we always try to let our people experience the programs and meet the people that are impacted by their work and energy,” Mailer said. “It creates a sense of purpose, and that’s very powerful and is a great motivator.”
Hiam said much of HMSA’s continued growth and success is a result of the organization’s ability to adapt to and embrace new technologies.