Change is … the new black

Yes, I said it: change is the new black. It’s a cliché, certainly. But the rate – and impact – of change is not stopping. If you want a different cliché, I could say it’s the “new normal.” CEOs of major corporations, according to a recent study from consulting firm Alix Partners, are worried. They’re worried that they don’t have …

You can’t do change perfectly

There’s no such thing as “perfect” change, no matter how well or how thoroughly you plan. As boxer Mike Tyson observed, “Everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the mouth.” Change is inherently unpredictable and uncertain, and expecting it to be anything else will earn you the equivalent of a punch in the mouth. While not physically painful or …

Culture, identity, and change

All change is culture change. And all culture includes identity. Two simple statements with a lot to consider. Let’s unpack them. All change is culture change This one is fairly simple to explain, though not so simple in practice. Any time you change how something is done – whether it’s a systems change, a process change, a reorganization, new technology, …

Got uncertainty? Good!

There is nothing certain about change. So if you, as a leader of change in your organization, are feeling uncertain? Good. That’s real, realistic, and normal. Trying to pretend otherwise isn’t going to help you succeed – in fact, it’s likely to lead to problems. Your people probably feel even more uncertain. And while there are plenty of proclamations out …

The Comfort Zone and Change

We’ve all heard it. “Get out of your comfort zone!” And (absurdly), “Get comfortable being out of your comfort zone!” It’s considered the bare minimum, Captain-Obvious-level advice for anyone who wants to change, grow, and succeed. (As a side point, I consider the second directive to “get comfortable” outside the comfort zone to be ridiculous. If you’re comfortable, then by …

Is change hard? Or …?

There’s a common belief that change is hard. I disagree. I think mostly change is uncomfortable. The human brain loves routine, habit, consistency, familiarity. Shifting away from that – creating change – means the brain has to work harder… and fundamentally, the brain prefers to be lazy. It’s a neurobiological energy-conservation thing, as I wrote about here. Leaders of change in …

Changes to change?

All your change initiatives roll out precisely according to plan – right? No? Hmmm… Welcome to reality. As boxer Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” And as the Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth Carl Bernard von Moltke said, “No battle plan ever survives the first encounter with the enemy.” In other words, your …

What’s under the resistance?

Resistance is the bane of many change managers’ and leaders’ existence. And many of them try to just power through, using carrots and sticks – offers of rewards and threats of punishment – to get employees on board with change initiatives. In the timelessly annoying words of Dr. Phil… how’s that workin’ for you? My experience would indicate: notsogreat. When …

The lingering scent of … problems

I bought a new-to-me used car about five years ago. It’s a good car. I like it, it’s got plenty of space for the dog, it drives well, and it gets decent gas mileage. The previous owner clearly loved her perfume. After five years, the car still stinks has a distinctly perfumey scent. Even my husband, who’s (yay for him) much …

Consulting and “hoof in mouth” disease

“This will be so much simpler than what you’re doing now – there will be so much less to do!” That was me, many years ago in my early days of tech project management, cheerfully extolling the benefits of the new software I was at the client’s to install. Whoops. Open mouth, insert foot. The client project manager’s eyes got …