Mary Schapiro and Leadership
In her role at the SEC, Mary Schapiro was known as one of the world's most powerful female regulators. She was named chair in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. As chairman, she helped strengthen and revitalize the agency by overseeing a more rigorous enforcement program and shaping new rules for Wall Street. During her tenure, the agency's work force brought about a record number of enforcement actions and achieved significant regulatory reform to protect investors.
Schapiro leaves behind an agency that has regained its footing, stature, and morale following desultory leadership under its previous two chairmen and its embarrassing lack of action preceding the financial crisis.
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When I arrived at the agency last January, we began a process of assessing our operations and determined we could do better. We determined that we needed to change. And that is the path we have chosen.
The personnel changes instituted at the SEC may be seen as examples of sweeping change. The discomfort and discontent of the SEC staff in response to the personnel changes may be evidence of the brash nature of these personnel changes. Kotter's work predicts this kind of reaction. He notes that "bold moves that reduce complacency tend to increase conflict and to create anxiety, at least at first."
2. Creating the Guiding Coalition
Leading change is not a solitary task. Because major change is so difficult to accomplish, a powerful force is required to sustain the process. No one individual, not even a monarch-like CEO, is ever able to develop the right vision, communicate it to large numbers of people, eliminate all the key obstacles, generate short-term wins, lead and manage dozens of change projects, and anchor new approaches deep in the organization's culture. Instead, what is required is a strong leadership team-a team "with the right composition and sufficient trust among members." In terms of composition, "four key characteristics" are important: "position power"- the entire group who will be charged with making progress in areas of