Wet Babies and Leading the Charge through Change

baby change meOne of my favorite quotations from Mark Twain is “The only one who likes change is a wet baby.”

As a thought leader, you are defining the change you want to see: in your employees, in your company, in your industry…or perhaps even in the world. Making change happen requires determination and rhetorical skill to persuade stakeholders to adopt your viewpoint. You’ll want to apply as many levers of change as you can muster to put those changes into effect and make them “stick.”

A 2012 piece by Morten Hansen, author of the book Collaboration, in Harvard Business Review online offers 10 approaches to get people to accept change. He categorizes these approaches in four buckets:

  1. Sharpen the destination
  2. Activate social processes
  3. Tweak the situation
  4. Revamp traditional HR levers

Are you pulling all of the levers and using all of the approaches you can to introduce change? Are you hesitating to do what needs to be done because some are ”crying out” in protest? Are they perhaps crying because they know they need changing? Ask, assess, then act. We’re here to help!

Photo credit: texturl on Flickr


Sharing the Know-How to Know How

When explaining complex topics, thought leaders make a clear distinction between two key terms: ”knowledge of” and ”knowledge how.”

Let’s say, for example, that you want to shape your industry to be more agile and responsive to changing demands of the economy. You shouldn’t only show colleagues what that future will look like so that they have ”knowledge of” that vision. It’s important also to show them the way to reach that goal — to give them ”knowledge how” to get there.

to define and articulate change, use knowledge of and knowledge howSimilarly, if you want to change the culture of your organization, it’s important not only to give them ”knowledge of” what the changes look like and the advantages the new culture will bring. You must impart to them ”knowledge how.” Articulate clearly the steps each employee — no matter where in the organization they sit — will need to take to move toward the defined future.

Cultural change is a journey, not a destination. Employees need ”knowledge of” the destination and ”knowledge how” to navigate the path ahead.

Do you need help defining and articulating the roadmap to change internally or externally? Ask, assess, then act. We’re here to help!

Tagged , ,

Resistance and Renaissance: A Metaphor for Managing Change

Renaissance Resistance West Zurich

Renaissance or resistance? Diverging views on change may stall or stop important initiatives. Photo:

In the trendy western part of Zurich is the Renaissance building, a tall hotel-apartment complex that has continued since its conception to draw the ire of some vocal Swiss opponents who object to the placement, size and scale of the ”skyscraper” with 15 stories. Local residents have staged a form of permanent protest by attaching a sign to an older, more traditional building in the neighborhood. That sign, in the same font and style as the Renaissance one nearby, declares the owners’ point of view: Resistance.

The juxtaposition of the two buildings presents a metaphor for cultural change in the world of business. How often do you, as a leader, try to regenerate your company and meet with reluctance to change? Are you looking to promote a rebirth or renewal of your firm for the future only to find that some employees are still holding tight to the past?

How can you effectively achieve that Renaissance and mitigate any Resistance you might be facing? Ask, assess, then act. We’re here to help!

Tagged , , ,

How to Live Well in These Exponential Times

what happens in an internet minute infographicYou may have heard the old phrase ”in a New York minute” to describe something that happened very quickly. A new term might be better to reflect today’s fast pace of business: ”in an internet minute.” Continue Reading…

Tagged , ,

Impossible is nothing

Larry Page, the Google co-founder, once recommended that people “have a healthy disregard of the impossible.”

Photo by Jim Hipps

Thought leaders would most likely agree with that general advice, but they would also recognize that it’s critical to know your own limits and those of your organization…especially when you’re making changes in the company and its culture.

How do you know you’re pushing your employees and your company as a whole just that wee bit too far?

Having good communications processes and practices in place will allow you to quickly and efficiently gather feedback so you can sense that limit before you reach it.

A good communications team can help you sense what’s happening in the organization so that you can respond appropriately. They can read the signals and clarify how employees are reacting to your messages, how change is being perceived and where –or whether — it’s taking hold.

Your communications team can be a barometer for you…by frequently tracking the”barometric pressure” during a change initiative, they can tell you whether a storm is brewing or whether there’s clear weather ahead for more change.

Is your “disregard of the impossible” healthy for your organization or are you stretching it beyond its limit? Ask, assess then act

Tagged , ,

A Culture of Learning and Unlearning

learning and unlearningThere’s a saying that goes something like this: “History is the best teacher, but we are the worst pupils.”

Have you ever found yourself repeating the mistakes of the past, even when you know what the outcome will be? It’s human nature to cling to old habits and thought patterns, and it’s not always easy to break such cycles of thinking.

But cultural change is more difficult when an organization has failed to learn from its past poor decisions and mistakes. That kind of blindness to the long-term impact of a lack of organizational learning can make a company resilient to change — even when it’s change for the better.

Guiding an organization through the usual rough waters of cultural change is a challenge for even the most determined leaders. These leaders have to help their teams learn the lessons that corporate history should have taught them…and they may have to help their organization “unlearn” some other lessons along the way before they launch a cultural change program.

As a thought leader inside your own organization, is it time to begin learning and unlearning before you sow the seeds of cultural change? Ask, assess, then act.

Tagged ,