That a management consulting firm’s e-zine holds a TV chef up as a model for organizational improvement is reason enough to open this link (Eat Your Peas: A Recipe for Culture Change (strategy+business) ). But Booz Allen’s Rutger von Post is on to something as he relates how “Naked Chef” star Jamie Oliver transformed the eating habits of the U.S.’s unhealthiest city to the obstacles leaders face when they need to increase their company’s performance.

Oliver came to town storming, norming and getting nowhere. He re-scaled (a single elementary school vs. a population of 50,000). He discarded his assumption that celebrity status would win hearts and minds, and recruited advocates from all walks of the community. And he began the behavior-change journey with one small but significant step: Convincing students to try peas when most had never eaten a vegetable other then the pickle in their cheeseburgers.

As a leader, Oliver faced the reality that Marshall Goldsmith described to Page members at this year’s Spring Conference: What got him here wouldn’t get him there. How many of our organizations’ leaders (and maybe some of us) are in responsible positions based on their individual contributions vs. their ability to incite others to be their best? If a TV celebrity can turn off the bright lights and find the culture carriers, the authority figures and the pride builders to help him achieve his vision, organizational change is within reach of us all.

Lynn Casey
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Padilla Spear Beardsley