Free Change Management Articles

Don’t Accept Problems at Face Value.

When adversity hits, our innate response is to focus sharply on the dangers, difficulties, and downside. Nothing wrong with that per se. The question is, how long should we let it continue?

As soon as the initial shock wears off, we need to give equal time to the upside. Shift your focus away from what’s troubling about the situation, and search intensely for what’s potentially good. Reinterpret the situation from a positive...

Want to know the #1 reason why change management projects bog down? Or why so many eventually fail?

Here’s the dirty little secret: communication failure. The problem is hiding in plain view. And that’s probably why companies don’t catch on. “Communication failure” sounds so boring. So mundane. But you need to look at it this way—communication is the oxygen for change. It’s how we get things done…or not. If your messaging approach lacks muscle, your change efforts will cripple along...

Trying Harder can create a culture of desperation

People commonly respond to the stress of change by putting out more effort. The greater the change (that is, the bigger the adjustment they need to make) the harder they try. But they stick with the same old habits. They bet the future on “more of the same.” Their heart is in the right place, their intentions are good, but they fail to realize that many solutions of the past don’t fit the problems of the future. In fact, a lot of today’s problems are actually caused by yesterday’s solutions...

Piece of Action

People put more of themselves into the job when it means they’re likely to get more out of the deal. Let them share in the outcomes, and see how their commitment changes.

Outcomes matter to us only when we have something at stake. The more we stand to . . .

Most Common Mistake dealing with uncertainty

Hands down, the main foul-up is people mismanaging themselves.

One of the best examples of this mistake is when people try to control things that are beyond their reach. This happens when we seek to run other people’s lives, or when . . .

Businesses know about our love affair with quick. They realize we’ll like their products and services better if they somehow build in speed. So because of us, they keep trying to squeeze more time out of everything they do.

It should be perfectly clear to all of us that speed is a key source of competitive advantage. The dollar value of time keeps climbing. That means organizations need to save as much of it as they can.

Delay gets deadly in a world of high-velocity change. The...

We’re all creatures of habit. Sure, we like the idea of making big improvements, but none of us really likes change. So we plow on, mindlessly doing the same old things in the same old way. It comes natural. Trouble is, our routines close our minds and lives to the breakthroughs that we say we want.

Of course, some of our habits are valuable. Familiar routines can be efficient and economical, freeing us from having to think. So if we get into the habit, for example, of daily exercise...

It is you and I–along with everyone else–who keep pushing the world to change.

As consumers, we get more demanding all the time. We want better quality stuff. We want it faster. And cheaper. Plus, we want more choices to pick from. Whoever comes along that can satisfy all these wants the best gets our business. That is, until somebody else shows up offering us a still better deal.

Whomever we’re doing business with must be improving constantly, or pretty soon they simply can’t...

Change keeps picking up speed. Before the organization can finish getting adjusted to one change, it gets hit with several others. We’re living in a constant period of transition, and the shelf life of our solutions keeps getting shorter. “What works” becomes history in a hurry.

Where is all this change coming from? Well, to begin with, people create change. So let’s look at what’s happening to the head count on Mother Earth.

Human beings have been around for some 6 to 7...

THE HIGH-POWERED BENEFITS OF HOPE

Hope is an emotional force that points the imagination toward positive things. It energizes and mobilizes us, serving as a catalyst for action. Because it links directly to our confidence level, hope inspires us to aim higher, put forth more effort, and have more staying power.

Under the influence of hope we think in terms of possibilities, answers, and solutions, instead of limits, losses, and fears. This positive mental slant brings a...

Customers as well as investors have many choices these days. They can choose to do business here. Or they can easily get their interests satisfied somewhere else, maybe by some company based halfway around the world.  This puts more and more pressure on our organization to perform. Either we outdo the competition or our days are numbered.

As a starting point, all of us need to understand clearly how we personally can contribute to value creation. So maybe you need to ask some...

We have four options we can choose from in handling change.

First, we can resist change and struggle to cope with the situation. Second, we could decide that we’ll merely comply with what’s happening, passively accepting change but failing to offer meaningful support. A third option is to capitalize on change when it comes our way, trying to capture potential benefits it brings. Finally, we might create change on purpose, using it as our tool of choice to favorably shape our future....

THIS IS A CLUTCH OF FOSSILIZED DINOSAUR EGGS
DISPLAYED IN AN OFFICE BUILDING IN DALLAS.

Some companies’ eggs hatched ages ago. And the powerful beasts are devouring productivity plus any chance for innovation.

Dinosaurs despise change. Sometimes they lurk inside a bloated bureaucracy, subtle as bacteria yet deadly enough to kill an organization’s ability to adapt. Other times they roam the company openly, seemingly benevolent, but still crippling its competitiveness....

Don't ask for blind loyalty from your work force. We’ve all learned that the world puts hard limits on how loyal the organization can be in return.

But apart from that, right now you need a lot more than allegiance from employees. Loyalty can get lazy. Or be misdirected. Some of the so-called “loyalists” actually cause big problems, because they resist change and try to perpetuate an outdated culture that could kill the organization.

So what about high morale? Should that be...

You can’t do everything fast. So you have to figure out where speed will count the most. Decide where your growth can make the biggest difference, then drive hard in that direction.

Fast growth is a sacrificial act. To pull it off, you have to steal from other areas of your life. Something has to give over here in order for you to grow over there. We’re talking about significant tradeoffs. Serious compromises. A hard-fisted rationing of resources, such as your time, energy ...

The eleventh most famous movie quote of all time comes from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke. In that scene, the prison warden clobbers prisoner Luke (Paul Newman) with a billy club and sends him tumbling into a ditch. The warden then looks across at the rest of the chain gang, pauses, and in a strained voice says,

"WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE."

Corporate America has a similar problem—it’s losing the battle for people’s attention ...

Leaders who have edge have an unflinching readiness to face reality and the courage to act. Edge decisions may not be pleasant or popular in the short term. But a great leader has the willingness to do things that will make the organization better, even though they may be scary or painful. And great leaders are unwilling to let the difficulty of the decision cloud what they know is the right thing to do.

Great leaders have edge in all their decisions. They make tough decisions about...

Beware of natural impulses

As organizational change closes in and uncertainty clouds the future, a primal alarm goes on deep inside your brain. Without any conscious effort on your part, this basic survival instinct warns you: “Be careful!” Automatically you start scanning for danger.

This natural impulse, designed purely for your self-defense, asks questions like these:

  • How could I get hurt in this deal?
  • What do I stand to lose?
  • Where could things go...
How much resistance to change is normal

Push-back is predictable when a major organizational change program gets under way.

If you have a reliable frame of reference, you can put things into perspective. Knowing what’s “normal,” you’ll have a better feel for how you should react to the particular situation facing you. So let’s look at the typical scenario.

We’re dealing in generalities here, but the breakout usually goes about like this. Some 20 percent of the people are “change-friendly.” They’re clear advocates who...

Let’s accept the fact that change affects employee attitudes.

You just can’t get around it. The bigger the change, the more likely you’ll see it damage the way people feel toward the company. During major organizational change, the trust level drops dramatically. Morale gets mushy. Loyalty, the tie that binds, comes unraveled. Job stress hits new highs. The overall effect can be punishing, like a hard fist slammed into the stomach of the organization. And it can knock the wind out of...

As organizational change closes in and uncertainty clouds the future, a primal alarm goes on deep inside your brain. Without any conscious effort on your part, this basic survival instinct warns you: “Be careful!” Automatically you start scanning for danger.

This natural impulse, designed purely for your self-defense, asks questions like these:

  • How could I get hurt in this deal?
  • What do I stand to lose?
  • Where could things go wrong?
  • What should I...

Push-back is predictable when a major organizational change program gets under way.

If you have a reliable frame of reference, you can put things into perspective. Knowing what’s “normal,” you’ll have a better feel for how you should react to the particular situation facing you. So let’s look at the typical scenario.

We’re dealing in generalities here, but the breakout usually goes about like this. Some 20 percent of the people are “change-friendly.” They’re clear advocates who...

Let’s accept the fact that change affects employee attitudes.

You just can’t get around it. The bigger the change, the more likely you’ll see it damage the way people feel toward the company. During major organizational change, the trust level drops dramatically. Morale gets mushy. Loyalty, the tie that binds, comes unraveled. Job stress hits new highs. The overall effect can be punishing, like a hard st slammed into the stomach of the organization. And it can knock the wind out of...