Category Archives: Change Managers

How Do We Make Change Stick?

I would be hard pressed to list more than a handful of organizations  that have endured longer than 400 years and I guess that you would have a similar problem. Why is it that some ideas succeed for a short time and then don’t last? Sometimes, it seems that even better ideas don’t take root! I think that the secret to success is in the people making it happen.

After many years of observing people in the business and civic arenas, I noticed a pattern that gave me insight into why people acted the way they did in situations of organizational or process change.  I found that it applied at work, at home, and in volunteer organizations. It even applies across international borders. I am not a psychologist, nor have I done any academic research in this area. However, I believe that knowing what change management personality ‘type’ you are can make a big difference in how you see yourself…and knowing what type others are can help you (and whatever it is you are involved in) be more successful.

That’s why I’ve written the book Visionaries, Builders, and Maintainers.  I want to help you bring successful change to your organization by helping you identify these critical resources.  In my next blog post, I’ll introduce you to these important people.


Don’t Outsource Change Management – Do It Yourself!

This recent Harvard Business Review post reminds us, “If you want something done right, do it yourself!”  Lots of organizations have ‘outsourced’ their change management planning and actions to an ‘internal consulting’ function.  However, does this absolve management of responsibility?  I think not.


How do we identify the ‘right’ role for managers to have when things are changing all around them?  Don’t they need help (sometimes all of the help they can get!)?  Absolutely.  Change management specialists are just as critical as financial experts are to investors or mechanics are to car owners!   And just like those examples, everyone has a special role to play.  We’ll be exploring those roles in the coming weeks.


What roles have you seen played well (and not so well) in organizational change projects?

Goals vs Focus Areas…the Difference and Why You Should Care

I love goals and lists.  For me, crossing a goal off of a list is a sign of accomplishment…achievement…and success!  Except when it’s not.  The unintended consequence of my ‘goal focus’ is that if it’s not one of my goals, it doesn’t get ANY focus.  So, when Peter Bregman over at proposed that I  “Consider Not Setting Goals in 2013“, I was at least an interested reader, and I thing you might want to be as well.

Bregman’s concept of replacing goals with ‘focus areas’ is a little scary for me, a list-o-holic.  However, I’ve been burned by my single minded pursuit of goals enough times that it makes sense to me.  Here are his definitions:

A goal defines an outcome you want to achieve; an area of focus establishes activities you want to spend your time doing. A goal is a result; an area of focus is a path. A goal points to a future you intend to reach; an area of focus settles you into the present.

So, as we help people change in 2013, maybe we should consider changing our thinking from – “Get that project completed” to “Ensure the people impacted by the project understand and accept its importance.”

When we focus on project completion, we can forget about the people impacted by the change.  If we focus our attention on the buy-in of the people, the project will get done with less ‘collateral damage’ along the way.  In 2013, I want to focus more on the people than the project.

How about you?  What might your focus area be in 2013?

What We Should Focus on as Change Managers in 2013

2013Recently on facebook, my friend Audrey was mentioned in a link to  I navigated over there to learn that the site challenges you to find :

“One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.”

As an agent of change in 2013, I pondered what word I might choose.  For your consideration, I propose a word that might sound counter-intuitive at first:


500 years before the birth of Christ, Heraclitus said (over some Greek chicken in the shadow of the Acropolis surely) “the only constant is change”.  I can certainly say that has been the case for me and may also be the case for you.  However, the site challenges us to choose a word that describes “who you want to be” not ‘the situation around you’.

So, why in the world would a change agent need to be consistent?  After all, isn’t the goal of a change agent, well, change?  That certainly implies being a lot of different things to a lot of different people…the opposite of consistent!

We need to remember that although change is a constant for us, that’s not always the case for the people impacted by the changes we’re trying to implement.  They need us to be a steady presence, helping them see the positives AND negatives of the change.  When things don’t go as planned, we can’t afford to freak out…surely someone else will take care of that role!

So, in 2013, I’m challenging you, and me, to be consistent.  A calm, steady presence in the storm-tossed sea of change.