Changing the Change Rules at Google

There is no single way that Google manages internal change, like a reorganization. But we’ve been piloting a new approach that has been used in different parts of the company, impacting thousands of Googlers. After piloting and iterating on our work, we came up with a four-step approach to business-driven organizational change we call “ChangeRules.” Four analytical questions drive this approach: Why? What? Who? How? … [ Read more ]

The 6 Personalities of Change Rejection

Is it any wonder that so many of us are scared of change?

Before we completed our research into this phenomenon, I often wondered how rational and intelligent people could make such sloppy and irrational arguments against obvious improvements.

Today, I have a much better idea why people resist the inevitable. If you’re unsure why those around you are having such a difficult time embracing a new … [ Read more ]

Merlijn Venus

A root cause of resistance to change is that employees identify with and care for their organizations. People fear that after the change, the organization will no longer be the organization they value and identify with — and the higher the uncertainty surrounding the change, the more they anticipate such threats to the organizational identity they hold dear. Change leadership that emphasizes what is good … [ Read more ]

Nancy Koehn

Widespread transformation always unleashes waves of collective fear, discontent, and doubt—emotions that often translate into vocal, and potentially more destructive, opposition. …If left unacknowledged, adversaries have the power to derail even the worthiest attempts at reform, and thus it is a leader’s responsibility to identify and, when necessary, neutralize his or her most powerful critics. But how is the person at the center of the … [ Read more ]

Scott Keller, Mary Meaney

To most leaders, the speed and flexibility that drive innovation lie at the opposite end of the spectrum from standardization and centralization, which promote efficiency and control risk. Not so. Rita Gunther McGrath’s research sheds light on agile organizations. Large companies that raise their income disproportionately, she found, have two main characteristics: they are innovative and experimental and can move quickly but also have consistent … [ Read more ]

Research: To Get People to Embrace Change, Emphasize What Will Stay the Same

In overcoming resistance to change and building support for change, leaders need to communicate an appealing vision of change in combination with a vision of continuity. Unless they are able to ensure people that what defines the organization’s identity — “what makes us who we are” — will be preserved despite the changes, leaders may have to brace themselves for a wave of resistance.

How to Find and Engage Authentic Informal Leaders

Authentic informal leaders (AILs) are not people in your organization who have been endowed with formal authority by title or by memo. Rather, they possess and exhibit certain leadership strengths such as the ability to do something important well and showing others how to do it (exemplars), or they demonstrate the skill of connecting people across the organization (networkers). Some AILs influence behavior by being … [ Read more ]

Elizabeth Doty

Rather than assuming critical thinkers are resisters, we would do better to treat them as guardians. Guardians see what needs to be protected, and the trust that can be destroyed by a broken promise or a shortcut. Who else will ask the hard questions? Guardians keep us honest in the face of self-delusion or blind spots. […] When you approach guardians as responsible, thinking adults … [ Read more ]

Doug Yakola

What you need to do in a transformation is to get people to act differently. When people begin to act differently, they will begin to think differently.

Randy Cook, Stefan de Raedemaecker, Jacek Fabianowicz, Alessandra Fantoni

The change-management literature has long focused on the need to overcome resistance. But resistance can imply intent, when in reality people often revert to old behavior out of habit or instinct, reflecting old mind-sets that may persist even after an apparently successful initial transformation.

Strategic Change Is All in the Timing

Large organizations have many different heartbeats, and change managers need to listen to them all.

Change Management Is Becoming Increasingly Data-Driven. Companies Aren’t Ready

Data science is becoming a reality for change management, and although it may not have arrived yet, it is time for organizations to get ready. The companies best positioned to change in the next decade will be the ones that set themselves up well now, by collecting the right kind of data and investing in their analytics capacity.

The key to building predictive models is knowing … [ Read more ]

Keeping Transformations on Target

Analysis of high-stakes transformations reveals a few pragmatic lessons that increase the odds of meeting the organization’s objectives.

ING’s Agile Transformation

Two senior executives from the global bank describe their recent journey.

Quy Huy

Human beings’ temporal awareness includes a personal, subjective sense of continuity between past, present and anticipated future. If that internal flow of events is crudely interrupted and nothing promises to restore it, we tend to resist. Even the most obviously necessary improvements will meet forceful opposition.

How to Communicate Clearly During Organizational Change

Why is it so hard for leaders to send clear, effective signals to followers? There are three main ways in which leaders too often send confusing signals to their organizations. Get them right, and you can signal clearly and effectively; fail to pay attention to how and what you are signaling in these three modes, and you will have confusion at best — and at … [ Read more ]

An Operating Model for Company-Wide Agile Development

The benefits of agile are by now well known. Under agile development methodologies, IT organizations and product developers cocreate products and services with the business, rather than simply collecting feature specifications and throwing them back over the wall, as would happen under the waterfall development model. Teams can experiment with minimally viable products, test and learn from those prototypes, and ultimately deliver new software features … [ Read more ]

Turning Change Upside Down: How New Insights are Changing Old Assumptions

Many executives believe organizational change is an inherently messy, chaotic process. Without a doubt, change can derail business. But that’s because leaders have been managing it using faulty assumptions and outdated mental models. Learn how today’s wealth of data and powerful analytics capabilities have uncovered predictable patterns of how organizational change unfolds.

Reorganization Without Tears

Under nearly any circumstance, reorganizations consume a great deal of time and energy, including emotional energy. When proper communication plans are in place, though, leaders can at least reduce unnecessary anxiety and unproductive wheel-spinning. Planning should start long before employees get word of the changes, include constituents well outside the boundaries of the company, and extend far beyond the announcement of the concept design to … [ Read more ]