Maya Townsend, Elizabeth Doty

Change champions need to draw out others’ opinions about the reasons their hunch won’t work as a starting point for problem-solving and design. By treating the potential downsides and limitations of an idea as legitimate, rational concerns, people can work together to design solutions that both achieve intended goals and preserve what the organization wishes to safeguard while building commitment to implementation.

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So-called resisters have … [ Read more ]

Eric Hoffer

Where self-advancement cannot, or is not allowed to, serve as a driving force, other sources of enthusiasm have to be found if momentous changes, such as the awakening and renovation of a stagnant society or radical reforms in the character and pattern of life of a community, are to be realized and perpetuated.

Buckminister Fuller

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Jeanne Liedtka

One longstanding and popular theory of how change occurs, attributed to Richard Beckhard […] argues that behavioral alterations are a function of four factors: the dissatisfaction with the status quo, the clarity and resonance of the new future, and the existence of a pathway to get there, all balanced against any perceived loss associated with making the change.

Bill Schaninger

Historically, we’ve been disproportionately focused on the value of the cascade, the leader, change leaders. They’re still all very important. But, increasingly, as we are a workforce comprised of a generation that has a lot of their actions that are digitally based, we’ve had to come to grips with the idea that influencers and opinion leaders and people in the social network, their role modeling … [ 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 ]

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.

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.

Richard Hooker

Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.

Paul Saffo

It takes 30 years for a new idea to seep into the culture. Technology does not drive change. It is our collective response to the options and opportunities presented by technology that drives change.

Susan Cramm

In thinking about change, I like to use a simple three-part framework: capturing attention, securing approval, and orchestrating adoption. Like any simplifying framework, this has limitations. But it has one primary benefit: It emphasizes the need to go slow to go fast. What do I mean? Investing sufficient time and effort to gain attention and secure approval will increase the likelihood that organizations will adopt … [ Read more ]

Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini

Today’s organizations were simply never designed to change proactively and deeply—they were built for discipline and efficiency, enforced through hierarchy and routinization. As a result, there’s a mismatch between the pace of change in the external environment and the fastest possible pace of change at most organizations. If it were otherwise, we wouldn’t see so many incumbents struggling to intercept the future.

Edward E. Lawler III and Christopher G. Worley

Organizations need to pay individuals for their skills and knowledge, not for their jobs. In a work situation in which people have changing task assignments, paying the person according to their market value is much more effective than paying the job, particularly when it comes to retaining the right people. When all is said and done, it is people that have a market value, not … [ Read more ]

Lars Faeste, Jim Hemerling, Perry Keenan, Martin Reeves

Each [change] leader should be assessed for past performance, current readiness, and future potential across four dimensions: knowledge, soft skills, experience, and motivation and personality traits. Leaders also must have a foundation in adaptability and change leadership. A shortcoming in any one of these can be a warning sign.

However, the right leaders will fill roles in varying ways throughout the journey, from champion of the … [ Read more ]

Perry Keenan, Kimberly Powell, Huib Kurstjens, Michael Shanahan, Mike Lewis, Massimo Busetti

The process of identifying and prioritizing stakeholders by their level of support for the change effort and their degree of influence in the organization promotes targeted engagement. We find that in many cases, influential supporters are underleveraged and skeptics underengaged. Effective stakeholder engagement sees business leaders arming influential supporters as change agents, giving them the information and messages they need to influence the organization. At … [ Read more ]

Jon Katzenbach, Rutger von Post, and James Thomas

We have found, through numerous cultural interventions with a wide range of organizations […] that companies that eschew all-encompassing culture change initiatives and instead focus on three specific elements—critical behaviors, existing cultural traits, and critical informal leaders—have the most success. We call these “the critical few.”