Look Up: What Was Entrusted To You? Pay Attention

Philando Castile The System Is BrokenLook up and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock that was entrusted to you, the sheep of which you boasted?” -Jeremiah 3.2

Look up and notice

with open minds and open hearts
Put yourself in the shoes of an opposing view
Pay attention and listen to those sharing their reality
They have something to say. Their experiences are real.
Their voices matter. They are suffering in despair
They deserve to feel heard. To be heard.

Are you listening?

Because when someone says “I am hurting
The only appropriate response is; “Tell me more, I am listening
Be patient; consider that the first story may not be the whole picture
Be open to new information, in a world full of endless possibilities
These things together will expand minds, hearts and our world

Look up and look around

We continue to see repeated patterns we know exist
Minimizing them torments our intelligence
The idea “if we don’t name it, it can’t exist” is excruciating denial
Inaction leaves us feeling stuck in perpetual wait
What are these patterns trying to tell us?
They are saying that idly standing by is no longer enough
They are directing us to take a stand and to do something
They are making it clear that we have so much more to learn from one another
When different views come together, they merge to create new knowledge, and that is a good thing. I have never known a time when we didn’t need ideas to continue to evolve


Entrust: to give someone the responsibility of doing something or of caring for someone or something  (Merriam-Webster)

  • Police officers are given the responsibility of protecting people, property and the law
  • Humanity is given the responsibility of being kind and compassionate to one another

Look Up2Look up:  Today, Philando Castile, who was killed last week in Minnesota by a police officer, will be laid to rest. Say his name. He is not the first and sadly, will not be the last. Let’s work towards coming together and leaving our differences behind.

Pray for these families, because they are our families. Our families are hurting.

Pray for parents of young black men and women, who are faced with presenting a balanced view about systemic injustice, because the dialogue is very complicated. May they be given the words to adequately conduct constructive discourse in a loving manner so that it leads all of us towards the right solution, together. It is time to set our differences aside because we owe it to ourselves, and one another.

I want to hear from you. Please leave your comments and thoughts below, and thank you for visiting my blog.

Sparkles, S’mores and Land that I Love | Happy 4th of July

Smores Fourth of July NostalgiaI love the Fourth of July (or Fourch of Guly as I said when I was little), it makes me feel a bit nostalgic. One of my first 4th of July parades I remember being sad because I wasn’t fast enough at getting candy and I’m sure there were one or two thoughtful kids & parents who saw that and walked over to make sure I had some. Then there was the first parade I was in with my sister where we both wore costumes and tap shoes from dance lessons. My mom told us to march holding our batons with one hand lifting them straight up and down with each step and of course, we thought it was a great idea.

As we grew older, we were blessed enough to spend the first two weeks of July up north with my dad and dear friends at Crane Lake in Voyageurs National Park on the Canadian Border. The only way to get to the cabin was by boat. Imagine hauling 3-5 adults, 5-7 kids and a dog, 2 weeks worth of food, clothing  and fresh water for drinking. Sometimes it would take 2-3 trips and the boat would be so heavy the waterline was about a foot below the top. While we did have a short wave radio to hear the closest weather reports and listen to the international time, we did not have phones or television and we actually learned to appreciate that.

It was there we explored the chain of lakes where water is so clear you can look 15+ feet straight down and see the bottom. We learned how to water ski, responsibly shoot guns at targets, become great fishers and use a filet knife to clean and prepare our catch. At night, my dad would bring Crane Lakeout his guitar and we sang songs together around the fire, roasted marshmallows for S’mores and later hear the cracking and snapping of the fresh burning wood. Some evenings we would go out “on the rock” and enjoy the sunset, seen in the picture to the right. I would close my eyes and take in the fresh smell of the Norway Pine trees and burning fire. I would listen to the water lapping up on the shore, loons, seagulls or a boat humming in the distance. It was heaven on earth.

After fourth of July celebrations in the small town across the water, we would take the boat to the middle of the lake, cut the engine, watch the fireworks and have rich conversations about freedom, life or whatever was on our minds. It was there we discovered breathtaking views where stars are so clear you could see them sparkle right down to the horizon. In a good year, we could see the northern lights dance, displaying colors of green, blue and red.

I’m grateful for the people and all of those memories we created together. It shaped me in growing a deeper appreciation for this land where we live. Today, I think about so many people around the world who don’t have the same choices we do. I celebrate the fact that we are so fortunate to be citizens in a country where we have freedom to express ourselves, choose to practice our faith, celebrate diversity, practice servant leadership,  be educated and to make a difference in the lives of others. Wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences about how this day has shaped you. Please share below and thanks for visiting my blog!

“I AM” and “SPIRIT” In Sync With One Another #FierceForward

Fierce Forward - I AM and Spirit = Parters

I AM – two of the most powerful words you could ever declare to yourself. This is your declaration, your choice to stand in your power and allow your vision to come to reality/ #FierceForward

SPIRIT – Your truth. Freedom is found when you live you truth and let your spirit live out loud. Do not hide. Do not deny your truth. Do not let her stay quiet. Go forward, fiercely and let your SPIRIT lead the way. #FierceForward

Knowing who we are and being grounded in our truth are at the core of what teaches us to be great leaders and even better human beings.

These bracelets are handmade using African Trade Beads to support women in Africa. They are special because they support a worthy cause and they were an authentic gift from someone whose friendship means a great deal to me.

This post is inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge themed: Partners: Whether two of a kind, or ten, give us subjects that are in sync with one another – show us partnerships.

Learn more about #FierceForward at fierceforwardforlife.com

Remembering Prince in Minneapolis ★ My Story

Before I turned on any media today I got in the car, my heart sunk and the words popped in my head; “Prince is Dead. OMG, I just can’t believe it.” As a home-grown Minnesotan whose stomping grounds used to be downtown Minneapolis, the reality left me feeling empty, then I turned on the radio to find every-single-station playing his music and talking about him. Later, I return home and turned on the Remembering Prince In Minneapolis - My StoryTV to see the “Let’s Go Crazy” song from the movie Purple Rain and BOOM, I briefly see myself on National TV.

In 1983 my friend Holly and I went to a casting call to try out for Purple Rain as extras. The line was long, they took our pictures and information. After a few months it was out of sight, out of mind.

Then the call came one evening in November somewhere between 10-11:30 P.M. asking if we could be downtown by 5:30 A.M. “Um……YES!” (No hesitation whatsoever.) So the next morning we arrived, exhausted because of the time spent freaking out about what to wear, how to fix our hair, getting our makeup just right, etc. We stood around much of the day at First Avenue between scene takes and Prince’s wardrobe changes. I chatted with his body-guard Big Chick (Some called him Jake). He was more than 6 1/2 feet tall with white hair and he had a long beard. He could have been mistaken as a biker one might see as part of the Hell’s Angel club. Despite his intimidating appearance, he always took the time to chat when we saw him. 

Back then in Minneapolis it was not unusual to run into Prince out on the town, body-guards in tow, or to see him hop into or emerge from a cool sports car with a beautiful woman, orThe Purple Skyline of Downtown Minneapolis even attend impromptu concerts at First Avenue, The Fine Line, Glam Slam (later called “The Quest” nightclub.) He rarely spoke to anyone. Minnesotans respected his privacy and for the most part, knew not to approach him, unless, of course, we were feeling mischievous, like one night when I was with my cousin, Stacey, who had recently moved to Minneapolis from Omaha Nebraska. After a few cocktails I triple-dog-double-dared her to try to talk to him (knowing what would happen). Of course, she did, and he didn’t speak. Yes, I set her up and to this day we still laugh about it. But I digress.

Between takes and wardrobe changes, movie directors passed out free packs of cigarettes, telling everyone to smoke up the bar. We were front and center stage as he sang Let’s Get Crazy, Baby I’m a Star, I Would Die 4 U, Little Red Corvette, The Beautiful Ones, etc. Looking back now, it is so great to have such an intimate connection to that moment in history. Sometimes I hear the music and think; “wow, I was really, literally right there” it is kind of surreal. Feeling reflective, I went online today and watched those performances again and found myself in other crowd scene shots I hadn’t seen before. Technology sure has made it easier to find these kinds of things. Imagine trying to find information using fast-forward and rewind on VHS tapes. 😏

In 1984, Prince performed here on Christmas Eve and I went with my sisters, it was my youngest sister’s first concert ever. My grandpa had rented out a YMCA that night for a family celebration, so we headed there after the show. I remember hearing someone say; “What kind of person has a concert on Christmas Eve?” followed by a sarcastic; “What kind people attend a concert on Christmas Eve?” Prince was a die-hard, born and raised Minnesotan. Looking back, now, if I were to put myself in his shoes, of course it makes sense. This is and always has been his home, he wanted to celebrate with his people, who he loved – us.

We listened to Prince and The Time (Now called The Original 7ven) before it was “C-O-O-L” to listen to them. Was that because we were all from Minneapolis? Most likely – it was the Minneapolis sound, keeping us front and center. 

Prince was a brilliant, creative, compassionate talented artist and fellow community member who cared about humanity. He profoundly changed the landscape of music and it will never be the same because of him. I’m grateful for the memories the old songs bring; smiles. friendships, laughter, tears, flirting, after parties, connection, dancing and more.

Prince’s untimely death is a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves when we are ill and that in this world obsessed with the glorification of “busy-ness,” life is short. In the distraction, we forget to slow down and pay attention to this moment.

Today my prayer is that more of us figure out how to “be here now,” fully present for others in fellowship and as servant leaders. May we discover all that comes along with remembering to be mindful and grateful for how blessed we are.

Do you have any thoughts or memories related that you would like to share?

If so, please leave a comment below. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Enterprise Change Management w Organizational Agility as Strategy

I recently met Tim Creasey, who facilitated two days worth of advanced change management certification workshops, a change summit and round table discussions for The Minnesota Change Management Kakie Fitzsimmons and Tim Creasey during Prosci Advanced change management workshopNetwork. We had rich discussions about the past, present and future of Enterprise Change Management and Organizational Agility as a strategy.

On the first day, an executive breakfast was held at Target Corporation where Tim broke down change management as a capability into four eras that included pre-1990’s, 1990’s, 2000’s and 2012 and beyond. He then went on to discuss the topic of Organizational Agility as a Strategic Imperative. He presented different definitions of agility, along with the many pillars various enterprises use to build agility in institutions along with the diverse ways they think about what it means to be agile. A huge take away was a shared concept of thinking about agility as a state of being.

One good question that Tim asked was “How many projects in your organizations impact just one area?” Of course, the response from the crowd was laughter and then our small groups led to rich discussions about complexity that encompasses market volatility, increased amounts of information and communication, varying levels of leadership commitment, how are changes triggered, launched and funded, different ways change is governed and whether it is integrated into an organizations governance structure, we talked about ways to find the pockets of support that can exist in organizations, change and project methodologies, maturity and application of change and project management, deciphering and translating how different leaders are interpreting what the same change means for them.

In Enterprise Change Management, we integrate change into projects, programs and across releases, which means there are three very important words to take in context when working to obtain executive buy in.

  1. Context_Gap_between_what_Project_&_Change_Management_DeliverContext – the way we have conversation about change management should be relevant to that person, so when we tell a story it must be in a context that matters to them. This is why it is essential to have the ear and attention of executive sponsors early in the process, because how they are processing what the change means is critical to the way we will work with them. It is easy to say that we focus on the people side of change, but that means different things to a lot of people. Employee engagement? Morale? Training? Communication? While all of those factors may be important to senior leaders, it will mean more when we stay focused on their desired outcomes that demonstrate what we deliver, how we will integrate change to ensure it is sustainable so realization of benefits will add value to the organization. ROI, results, etc. All of this context is important because according to Prosci’s annual benchmarking research on change, the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorship.
  2. Language – How we talk about change and how we tell the story of change management matters, so we need to make it a point to understand the language used in the organization. Many will agree that using too much “change management terminology,” (academic or otherwise), or throwing change curves in front of people results in that look where eyes are suddenly glossed over and we have lost them.
  3. Problems – It is essential to have clarity in understanding the problem they are trying to solve, because if we are there, it isn’t that they don’t have change management. What is their expected return on the initiatives? The killer questions of what the Return on Investment (ROI) % will depend on how change behaviors are adopted by people in ways that will make it sustainable.

Monitoring and measuring people change and organizational change is different, so it is imperative we create sponsor road maps and use them as guides to remind sponsors, steering committees and our change networks how to scan the environment, maintain awareness of who takes action during each project phase. These road maps also will be a coaching to for how to identify, address and correct resistance. They will lay out tools to build individual competencies for Executives, Senior Leaders, Middle Managers and Supervisors as well as Front-Line employees. It is critical to pair that with ensuring consistent messaging, from the right sources at the right time.

Standing in the Future.”

Tim asked to imagine that three years from now we have been identified as the most change competent organizations in our industry. In small groups we wrote and shared short descriptions of what we would see if we walked around in our environments at that time and the descriptions were positioned as “We statements.”

Some of the comments I heard when we shared as a larger group included the following

  1. We have a change management capability in and across organizations
  2. We have change and project management capabilities that are mature and aligned
  3. We value creativity and innovation as part of the change management capability
  4. We have dedicated change resources and change management curricula that leads to career paths
  5. We create our own future and are empowered to make decisions and innovate
  6. We know how to help leaders position the change in ways that get all people impacted by the changes excited because they understand what is in it for them
  7. We partner with sponsors and steering committees as a unified team to drive the change
  8.  We have transparency where people have permission to speak with candor without fear of retribution
  9. We have robust data about feedback to people and performance
  10. We are using common language
  11. We have increased adoption and minimal resistance to change
  12. We celebrate success

It was a great session and a pleasure to meet Tim and his team. We look forward to having him visit again!

Tim Creasey is Chief Innovation Officer at Prosci and the has played a key role in developing extensive research, methodology and capturing best practices as the lead analyst for many of the Prosci benchmarking studies.  Tim is a dynamic international speaker and thought leader on the topic of change management. He is also author of “Change Management: The People Side of Change.”

Do you have additional “We” statements you would add? Please leave any thoughts or comments below and thanks for visiting my blog!

Forming the Basis for Revolutionary Change in Organizations

Many of our traditional business system models have evolved out of the industrial age and are no longer relevant. As a result, we need to adjust paradigms towards a new way of thinking. We will refer to this new thought process as the “emerging mindset“.

Today’s businesses are in a constant state of flux, adjusting in ways that entail combinations of reacting to unplanned fires blended with strategic planning. The external economic atmosphere is changing so fast that often, internal environments are unable to keep up, making organizations complex and more vulnerable than ever. Our world has seen intense progression in technology as of late, pushing us into a mode of hyper-connectivity, creating new open global capital market economies and new business models, impacting internal and external environmental factors in organizations. As a result, many businesses that were in place five or even ten years ago have ceased to exist. Many organizational  cultures are in the midst of punctuated equilibrium we refer to as Revolutionary Change as they attempt to seek the right amount of stability. 

The emerging mindset will need to constantly scan what is happening on the outside, monitor the expectations of behavior complexity, maintain alignment of strategic direction and plan how to begin the momentum in ways that get everyone participating and excited about a new vision for the future. The new mindset will need to continue asking what can be done differently and whether anything is being missed. The consequences of not doing so have far reaching implications. 

Factors Involved in Revolutionary Change

Revolutionary change happens when something shakes an organization, presenting a clear need for a major overhaul, which will change the culture because the enterprise will never be the same again. Revolutionary and constant, accelerating change are not the same thing because accelerating change evolves. (Hence the term, evolutionary change). Revolutionary change is not linear or constant. It is chaos that disturbs the organization and leads to reshaping of its culture. Examples could include an unforeseen crisis, a merger or acquisition, new leadership comes in and changes business models and structure of organizations change, which may involve the process of forming a new vision and mission.

The emerging mindset would view revolutionary change as an opportunity for all people impacted by the change to provide input so they feel they are part of the process and are building a future together.  The way the change is led will set the tone inside and outside of organizations. When entities shift, it takes place in a context that surrounds human capital, which means the ways people respond in different environments are not predictable and how individuals interact individually and collectively will vary. It will be essential to observe social systems across many groups with varied norms. Radical change will introduce a broad array of issues that include managing resistance and emotions. The emerging mindset needs to keep in mind that employees have their own external factors they bring to work with them every day. Some of these issues could involve financial challenges, family conflict, supporting young children, caring for aging parents, striving to find the appropriate work life balance, and more.

Table 1 Systems affecting employee powerSystems affect employee power[i] because human capital has a broad array of needs and wants. (See table 1). Enterprises consist of one or many social systems with established rituals and decision making processes. The executive intellect will establish the climate for all of the relationships that go in, out and through the organization and feedback will come from it. That creates a framework and is an ecosystem by itself.

Revolutionary change presents opportunities to re-evaluate effectiveness and configuration within an organizations deep structure of each division as well as the human capital that adds the most value. The talented emerging mindset realizes this is the time to capitalize on that and build social bridges by understanding who are the connectors, mavens or salespeople.[ii]

The emerging mindset will determine how to respond through the constant tension across technology, operations and sales.

Strategies to prevent negative entropy will be a factor. How will the company entice, inspire and maintain talent to include a broader definition that is a blend of five areas that combine compensation, benefits, work-life balance, performance and recognition along with development and career potential?[iii] How these issues are addressed and presented to members in the enterprise will set the tone for employee morale, attitudes and momentum towards the vision. Communication must remain open, linking to organizational structure and culture while understanding that at the center is the emerging mindset, its capabilities and abilities. It will be important to pay attention to that context, not ignoring frustrations and encourage mentor, mentee relationships because organizational change is not a linear process. (p282)

Forces Interact to Impact Open Systems

The emerging mindset personality, how they are perceived, how they receive information, interact with others and communicate change will establish how those in the organization will be impacted and adjust. Revolutionary change begins with considering the system as a whole and examining each individual part. When something in an organization changes such as processes, policies, procedure or structure, a few parts will evolve and others will eventually be affected. It is imperative the emerging mindset know how to position and communicate revolutionary change. Planning for radical change requires mapping out thoughtful messaging by understanding how the past is affecting the present and what the future will look like. It creates a story and will help all in the organization have context for the vision.

Emerging mindsets will understand the inputs, outputs and feedback that will come by scanning the social and political landscape to deepen relationships by understanding what is important to employees in ways that are authentic, and lead with that. While rewards may be one component of revolutionary change, an article by Luthans and Stajkovic, demonstrates reinforcing behavior for results is more successful than pay for performance[iv].   The emerging mindset can leverage this information to take swift action, then develop and point workers in the direction of the vision. Empowering workers to make good business decisions will help them feel more creative and part of the solution. When this occurs the result is more involvement and increased commitment.  As employees go through change, leader behavior will be observed as well, so being centered and doing self-examination by paying attention to one’s own emotional intelligence and moral compass because they will play an important role.

The goal and vision must be clear, direction understood and messaging consistently repeated.  Announcements, communications and series of events should create a sense of urgency and be thoughtfully introduced with a tone of optimism that can get employees excited. Forming strong advisory coalitions for each division in an organization with subject matter experts will demonstrate a sense of order and that the work is already underway. If resources feel they have input towards the intended outcome and are part of the solution, buy-in could occur with minimal disruption. Response will also tend to be favorable if there is a way to celebrate, create rituals, establish norms and provide enterprise wide sensitivity or change management seminars facilitated by a 3rd party. Bringing people together from different areas creates open source opportunities where ideas merge and new knowledge is formed.

Governance, departments, groups and individuals have power. Systems interact with their atmosphere, but the process of organizational change originates and winds up in the hands of the external environment. A system’s ability to thrive and survive is dependent on it.

Next: The Emerging Mindset – Revolutionary Change

Do you have thoughts, questions or comments about this kind of change? Please leave a comment below and thanks for visiting my blog!

[i] Luthans, F., & Stajkovic, A. D. (May 01, 1999). Reinforce for Performance: The Need to Go beyond Pay and Even Rewards. The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), 13, 2, 49-57.

[ii] Gladwell, M. (2000). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. Boston: Little, Brown.

[iii] Forrester, R. (August 01, 2000). Empowerment: Rejuvenating a Potent Idea. The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), 14, 3, 67-80.

[iv] World at Work: Total Rewards Model. pp. 1-8. 2008. World at Work, (8 pages).

The Emerging Mindset – Revolutionary Change

The purpose of this post is to explain the four cornerstones of an emerging mindset that would form the basis for determining a revolutionary change in an organization.[i] We define the term “emerging mindset”  as a series of assumptions held by collective intelligence in an organization that embraces new ways of thinking. The emerging mindset has four cornerstones which include

CONSCIOUSNESS IS CAUSATIVE: Emotional and social dynamics are part of organizations and when change is introduced, this lens becomes more pronounced. Leadership must set the tone focusing on communication strategy and messaging with a sense of urgency that is optimistic and gets people excited about opportunities. The way change will be planned, introduced and positioned is critical and this process should include explaining the following:

  • What needs to change
  • Why it needs to change and the impacts to people
  • Address anxiety with transparency and enthusiasm
  • Paint a clear picture of what the outcome will look like
  • How results will tie to rewards

ABUNDANCE: This is where energy, inputs, throughputs and outputs are constant and required in order for the organization to remain sustainable. Often, this activity is a good tool to reassure employees that extensive planning has taken place to ensure the company has the resources to carry out the change successfully.

RELATIONSHIP AND WHOLENESS: This takes into consideration that the system has moving parts within it, all of which are interrelated, making up more than the sum of the parts.

CONTINUOUS PROCESS: All of the forces, progression and processes are constant

Industrial and Emerging Mindset Comparicson Revolutionary ChangeBurke explains revolutionary change as an unexpected event or activity which makes it clear a new mission, vision and strategy of a business are imminent. This accelerated change could be a form of punctuated equilibrium, which occurs between long periods of the being in steady state and requires a call to action in order for the enterprise to survive. Examples of revolutionary change might include a spin-off, merger, acquisition or significant alteration in the organization’s products or services. It could also be the result of an economic episode similar to the events of 09/11 or the market downturn of 2008.

My next blog post will discuss details about forming the basis for revolutionary change and how emerging mindset influences interact to impact open systems.

Do you have thoughts, questions or input? Please leave a comment below and thanks for visiting my blog!

[i] Burke, W. W. (2008). Organization change: Theory and practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

The Industrial Thinking Mindset

Dance_Reflect_Move-1The industrial mindset has been much of our world view since the mid-1700’s and many of its scientific breakthroughs evolved out of Newton’s laws of motion[i] where forces act respond. Everything is in motion and process dynamics influence results. For generations, organizations have been built and have operated out of this concept. The industrial thinking approach is a dance which has four basic characteristics.

  1. Productivity & Perception: Focus on productivity first because scientific efficiency maximizes productivity. Individual thoughts and perceptions are not valued and as a result, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, values, intuition or things which motivate people aren’t important.
  2. Scarcity exists everywhere and assumes that there are solutions and resources, but they must be found.  Focus on things that aren’t working, taking on a perspective of inefficiency. (resulting in attitudes of defeat.)
  3. Isolated measures happen because it is easier to see the things that make up the system, instead of how they relate to one another. An example of this would include silos or departments in organizations. It is easy to see what makes up the system, but it is harder to see how they relate to one another because it is a lot of work to isolate reality into smaller and smaller parts. The challenge lies in answering the question; “How can these parts work together to ensure the whole system wins?” As opposed to fighting for my budget over yours. (see table below)
  4. Disconnected incidents. Change happens in separate episodes, so we can provide assessments at any given moment and analyze where the organization is at a point in time. Isolating each of these pieces across time could discount the process nature of change.

Change Management Isolated Measures as Part of the Whole

Change practitioners often refer to delta as evolutionary, transactional, operational or transformational. In more recent years, a newer emerging mindset has evolved that would form the basis for revolutionary change in an organization.[ii] Revolutionary change is larger than transformational change and occurs in a different way, which will be covered in a series of posts as a follow up to this one. It is a dance in a world of continuous motion and evolution. More importantly, it requires thinking differently about organizational agility because entities with this capability will possess a competitive advantage.

Please feel free to leave comments, thoughts or perspectives below! Thanks for visiting my blog!

[i] Jacob, M. C. & Stewart, L. (2004). Practical matter: Newton’s science in the service of industry and empire, 1687-1851. Harvard University Press.

[ii] Burke, W. W. (2008). Organization change: Theory and practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Next: The Emerging Mindset – Revolutionary Change

Weekly Photo Challenge Photo Details theme: Glass.  Distortion=7. Smoothness=4. Texture: Blocks. Scaling 78%

Things Change, People Transition: Change as a Process

In general, change isn’t complicated, but it is complex. In its simplest form we use terms like; to alter, shift, adjust, move, switch, transfer, etc. Change is a transformation or transition from one phase, condition, or state, to another.

From a change management perspective, assumptions that each individual impacted by a new initiative will always experience change on time, on budget and on schedule, is flawed, because this approach lacks context and doesn’t always consider the people side of change. It may not consider outcomes and results after the change or ask what behaviors need to change and be sustained. Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently because people embrace or resist change differently. No two are alike.

Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently because no one will embrace or resist change the same. Individual Response to Change Management BestBehavior doesn’t happen in a predictive order and as a result, it is imperative to think about change as a process, rather than a project.

Things change. People transition.

The change curve was created in the 1960’s by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as a way to explain the grieving process. Over time, it has evolved as a tool to help people understand responses and reactions to significant change. Since change is a non-linear process, some people may take two steps forward and one step back along this curve for a number of reasons. Some examples might include:

  • Assumed or no role clarity for the change
  • No visible support and commitment from leadership
  • Lack of project, organizational and individual change integration
  • Those impacted do not feel they have had input into the process
  • Leaders and/or impacted people are not engaged
  • No consistency in change messaging formats, channels and frequency
  • Lack of transparency about why the change is happening
  • People impacted don’t understanding of “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
  • Business readiness or training may have limited or no understanding of adult learning theory application
  • People don’t feel permission to speak with candor
  • Past performance with organizational change could create assumptions that history will repeat itself
  • Impact on current role and/or fear of losing a job

There are countless strategies and tools we can use to help us to understand where people fall on the change commitment curve and then subsequent strategies to take corrective action. As change management practitioners, we focus on results, outcomes, reinforcement and realization of benefits (including ROI), for the people side of change. We do this using a structured, yet flexible set of tools, processes, skills and principles to achieve the required goals of projects and initiatives.

What challenges and approaches have you experienced or used to help bring people impacted by the changes along for the journey?

Please leave a comment below. I’d like this blog to be a forum where people feel comfortable sharing what they agree or disagree with along with best practices or key learnings.I will honor desired anonymity, so if you would like to leave a response without having your name listed, please feel free to let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Individual and Organizational Change Management Integration Plan

Individual and Organizational Change Management Integration Plan

The complexity that accompanies change and the process that goes along with it means different things to different people. As a result, we must view change through two lenses of individuals and organizations  because they are parts of a complex system. This intricacy blends art, science, culture, inputs, outputs, feedback, leadership, strategy, governance, competency, internal and external forces, change impacts, individual needs and values, management practices, change activities, skills, communications planning and more.

Convergence, the concept that there are always many ways to get to the same result, is a reality when we are creating strategic plans for new endeavors. Good change leadership involves anticipating how we will navigate potential impacts to individuals, teams and organizations collectively because they are inextricable. Assessments and coaching tools are available which can help us in performing readiness temperature checks, identifying potential pockets of resistance and understanding where people are on the change curve so we can determine appropriate action plans.

The three-phased Prosci® approach in the diagram is an example of a tool that I like to use with leadership early in the process because it clarifies the mystery of change management. It illustrates that we have a structured approach to managing people (teams, and organizations), processes and technology from a current state towards the program’s desired future state. In addition, it builds off of previous posts where we examined using Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement (ADKAR®) as a tool for gaining commitment from individuals to increase adoption. It is also tied to how we implement strategic engagement by partnering with the PM and Senior Leaders to integrate change management into the project plan. This is important because according to Prosci’s annual benchmarking research on change[1], the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorship

There are countless templates, tools, and approaches used by Change Management Practitioners everywhere. It is important to me that this blog is a forum where people feel comfortable sharing what they agree or disagree with along with best practices or key learnings. As a result, below are some questions I invite you to answer:

  1. What approaches (good, bad or indifferent) have you taken that integrate changes experienced by people and organizations and what did you learn from it?
  2. What approaches have you observed and what did you think about it?

I look forward to hearing from you, thanks for visiting my blog!

I will honor desired anonymity, so if you would like to leave a response without having your name listed, please feel free to let me know!

Root Cause Analysis – Getting to the Why

There are many ways to approach problem-solving, one of which we often use in business, is called Root Cause Analysis. Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a systemic approach and a way of linear thinking that gets to the bottom of why a something occurs and figuring out what might be done to prevent these problems in the future. Below is one five-step process used to solve for RCA.Root-Cause-Analysis-Getting-to-the-why

1.  Clearly define the problem:

  • What is happening?
  • What symptoms come along with what is happening?

2.  Collect and analyze the data:

  • How long has this problem existed?
  • What is the impact of this problem?
  • What can we learn about it?

3.  Determine possible causes by asking “Why?” continually until you can go no further:

  • What happened first, second, third that brought us to this setback?
  • What conditions are allowing this to occur?
  • Why?  Why?   Why??

4.  Identify the root cause:

  • What is responsible for the problems identified in #3?

5.  Brainstorm & implement solutions to fix it

Time: Stop, Travel, Escape, Feel, Release | Weekly Photo Challenge

|  How to stop time:  kiss.  |  How to travel in time:  read.  

|  How to escape time:  music.  |  How to feel time:  write.

| How to release time:  breathe.


 How to stop time: Kiss


anotherkiss copy







How to travel in time: Read





 How to escape time: Music











How to feel time: Write


   How to release time: Breathe

Breathe copy








This post was inspired by Lignum Graco who asks us to show him time as part of The Weekly Photo Challenge over at The Daily Post. Please feel free to leave any comments below and thanks for visiting my blog!

Engagement: Integrating Change Management with Project Plans

Change Management and Project Plan IntegrationFocusing on the people side of change is arguably one of the most important tasks as we begin phase one of preparing for a change initiative. In early phases of a project, we are seeking to understand the nature of the change and preparing the organization for it. Exceptional change management works when we partner with leadership to ensure timely and consistent messaging, early and often.

According to Prosci’s annual benchmarking research on change, the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorshipAs facilitators’ of the change, we have the unique opportunity to bring sponsors along on the journey at this point, so they understand why their role is critical in mitigating resistance, driving uptake and ensuring positive end-user adoption. We also can provide them with coaching and tools needed to carry out their roles throughout the change process.

As we move towards phase two, managing the change, we need to think about how we are going to engage the project manager for discussion to integrate change deliverables and change activities into the project plan. Building rapport starts with laying out the process of how we will prepare for, manage and reinforce the changes. It is the perfect way to set up role clarity and frame desired outcomes; while ensuring a shared vision.

What is your integration approach in partnering with the project manager for these discussions? Please join the conversation and share your best practices below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Advanced Change Certification Opportunity in Minnesota – Feb 18-19th

Advanced_Change_Management_OpportunityI am excited about a rare opportunity I wanted to share with my readers. February 18th & 19th, the Minnesota Change Management Network (MNCMN) is hosting a once in a lifetime chance for anyone interested in the people side of change, to participate in conversations, hear and share best practices and receive training about navigating advanced change management at the enterprise level.
MNCMN is bringing in Global Change Management Thought Leader, Tim Creasey, to host advanced change management certification workshops through Prosci®. Below are high-level details and a link for more details about the agenda and how to register. 
February 18th & 19th Professional Development Days Agenda:
1. A conversation about the current state of Organizational Agility as Strategy (Executive Breakfast)
2. Creating a roadmap for building an organizational change management capability (Roundtable)
3. Building a business case for change management (Change Summit)
4. Building organizational agility through enterprise change management (Advanced Workshop)
5. Creating a change scorecard (Advanced Workshop)
For more information, visit the Minnesota Change Management Network Website and select “events.”
I hope to see you there!

A Vibrant Picture – Weekly Photo Challenge

Today over at The Daily Post, Jen H asks us to share a photo of something vibrant as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge. Here, I show my interpretation of “before” and “after.”

A Vibrant Picture - Before

A Vibrant Picture – Before

A few years back on a whim, I purchased Photoshop because I was curious and wanted to see how I could get creative with it and what I could learn, so I began the process of exploring. One of the things I like best about it is I can take an image I am not crazy about and turn it into art.

I took this picture a few years ago at the Orchid Gardens in Singapore. It was extremely hot that day and as a result, orchids in some of the photos appear more wilted than I would have liked. In this picture, I used the impressionist brush tool to blur out the people in the upper left-hand corner and over to the right where we could see the sidewalk through the greenery. Next, in the filter gallery, I used the brush strokes and the cross hatch option to give it this look.Vibrant_edited-1

  • Stroke length =  12
  • Sharpness = 3
  • Strength =1

That is it. No sharpening or highlighting. I like it. It is definitely something that could be blown up and put on a wall. What do you think? Please share below and thanks for visiting my blog.


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