Manage episode 240053989 series 1039141
When Judy Bjornaas first arrived at ManTech International eight years ago, the company relied on a variety of processes and policies that were widely accepted across its various parts—not because they were efficient or cost-effective, but because they were widely accepted.
Not unlike many companies that have enjoyed a steady diet of success, ManTech had, over its decades (the firm celebrated 50 years in 2018), adopted the old mantra “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as part of its list of cultural dictums. However, shortly after her arrival, Bjornaas began advancing her own watchwords: “Always question everything—and don’t assume that we have to do something the same way that we’ve done it in the past.”
This new mantra was no doubt a neck-snapper for executives who found comfort in the status quo, and it simultaneously solidified Bjornaas’s credentials as not just a finance leader but also a change agent.
“I realized that I could add a lot of value to the company by sort of pushing things along,” says Bjornaas, who characterized her blunt approach as being almost like that of an inquisitive five-year-old. “I’d ask, ‘But why do we do it this way?,’ and I’d receive an answer to which I would then reply ‘But why?’”