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Organizational change doesn’t have to be so hard!

We’ve all been there.

Senior leadership announces a change intiative. It’s important. It’s necessary. A lot of hard work ensues. There are delays. Difficulties. Missed deadlines. Revisions.

When it finally comes to an end, it’s less than was planned, and more expensive than was budgeted. And the statistics are grim: by some accounts, up to 70% of change initiatives either fail outright, or aren’t sustained over time.


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Change Leadership: Strategies for Success

There’s tremendous – and necessary – focus on the practice of change management.

But managing change isn’t enough for success. We must also lead change.

And that means understanding the people aspect of change. Why people resist change. Why it’s so hard to communicate change in a way that gets everyone on board. The hidden, conflicting issues of identity and competing commitments that create stumbling blocks and barriers. And the essential aspect of trust.

Especially if we’re talking about culture change (versus operational change).

We need a new type of leadership, a new vision of what leadership can be, for today’s very different (and never going back to the “old normal”) world. Change is, and will continue to be, constant, and it doesn’t care if we wish otherwise. Knowing how to lead ourselves and others through change has become non-optional.

Strategic change doesn’t have to be an expensive struggle and disappointment!

With effective change leadership, teams can be motivated, engaged, and excited about change initiatives. And we all know that motivated, engaged, excited teams are high-performing teams who meet – and exceed – objectives.

I’ve been part of plenty of change initiatives in my 20-plus-year corporate career – and since then in my consulting, training, and coaching practice.

Photo of Grace with a glass of wineI watched some fail, I was part of some that struggled, and I’m happy to say that I celebrated leading some that exceeded expectations.

The apparent reasons why change fails are obvious: poor communication, insufficient attention to the basics of project management, disengaged leadership, and so on.

But these are all relatively easy to fix. So why do they keep happening?

There are reasons. Hard, solid, neuroscientifically factual reasons about how the brain reacts to change. Blind spots that old-school leadership practices tell us to overlook or ignore.

Which led me to research about managing those reactions and acknowledging the realities.

And that resulted in this program, in which I offer simple tools that leaders can use to guide their teams through the resistance – and themselves, too, since resistance is universal.

If you’ve ever struggled with change – personal or professional – this course will show you why and teach you what you need to do differently.

Offered for individuals (with or without coaching) OR cohorts, with group and individual coaching options.

Organizational change doesn’t have to be a hard slog. It probably won’t ever be easy, but it can be a whole lot more clear and less uncertain, for the change leader and for the team creating the change.

What if you could…

  • Understand – and therefore stop being frustrated by – your team’s various reactions to change
  • Know how to help each individual team member deal with their concerns and questions about the change
  • Create a clear vision for the desired outcome – even if your leadership hasn’t provided it to you
  • Understand the crucial differences between cultural change and operational change – and how to approach each
  • Know exactly how to communicate to and with the various stakeholders – which starts with knowing exactly who all the stakeholders are (you’re almost certainly overlooking some)
  • Realize the key component that enables successful change – and whose absence inevitably leads to failure
  • Learn how to handle mistakes, delays, and other project mis-steps so they have the least possible impact
  • Discover how to handle pushback from peers and even senior leaders
  • Know how to cope with your own reactions and responses to the challenges of change
  • Have the confidence, clarity, and certainty to be a truly excellent leader of successful change!

This program is not a course on change management or project management

I assume that you already know how to manage a project – planning how to achieve the desired goal, defining tasks, timelines, and milestones, assigning tasks, managing your team, tracking progress, and so on.

If you aren’t already familiar with and at least somewhat experienced in project management, this may not be the program you need to take right now.

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Change Leadership: Strategies for Success

Each module includes multiple bite-sized videos, worksheets, and prompts to help you consider how the principles, concepts, and practices apply to your specific situation.

The program can be self-guided, or with options for individual coaching and cohort-based group support. Note: I strongly recommend coaching support. Seventy percent of learning lies in doing and being accountable for practice.

Paper and pencil iconModule One – Course Objectives

An introduction to what you’ll be learning, including the best way to get the most from the program.

  • Understand what’s to come (just what are you getting yourself into?!)
  • Learn exactly what you need to do to get the most value from the program

Icon of human juggling a lightbulb, gear, and personModule Two – Change Management or Change Leadership?

Are they different? Yes!

  • Identify the key aspects of change management
  • And the key aspects of change leadership
  • Gain clarity on why they’re each essential – but not sufficient – for success on their own

Icon of human juggling a lightbulb, gear, and personModule Three – What is a change initiative?

So yeah – what IS change – and what are the key components of a successful change initiative?

  • Create a clear definition of change and a change initiative
  • Notice that culture change and operational change are different, and need to be handled differently
  • Discover the differences between transactional change and transformative change – and why both are part of a successful change initiative
  • Understand the drivers of change – and whether they’re sufficient to undertake the initiative
  • Discover why understanding what might happen if you don’t change is an important factor in success
  • Learn how to clearly define the problem you’re trying to solve
  • Learn how to identify risk factors and define mitigation plans

Icon of human juggling a lightbulb, gear, and personModule Four – Define your change project

What project will you use to work through these change leadership steps and practice the tools?

  • Select the change initiative you’ll work with through the rest of the program
  • Use what you’ve already learned to envision, define, plan, and be ready to take action

Icon of people around a circleModule Five – Stakeholders

Your change initiative impacts many more people than you might think – and identifying them all is crucial for designing your communication plan.

  • Identify all the groups impacted by the change
  • Evaluate the magnitude of the impact on each
  • Begin defining your communication strategy

Icon of human juggling a lightbulb, gear, and personModule Six – Culture change vs. operational change

Are there different ways of approaching the initiative if you’re dealing with one versus the other? Maybe. And maybe … not.

  • Dig deeper into the overlap between the two
  • Understand why you really can’t do one without the other
  • Notice that culture change doesn’t come to a defined end; it requires maintenance

Icon of a hammer and screwdriverModule Seven – Trust: the truly essential component for success

Without trust between all stakeholders, but especially between you and those stakeholders, you’re simply not going to get very far.

  • Define trust in a way that actually works
  • Learn the crucial steps to establish trust between yourself and your team, your peers, and your management
  • Explore the differences between change leadership as an internal employee, versus being hired in from outside
  • Discover how to manage setbacks

Icon of emojis - sad, nauseated, angry, happy, with a heart in the middleModule Eight – The emotions of change

A change initiative is much more than a project, even though that’s how it’s often viewed. To lead change, we must understand how people experience change.

  • Learn about the fascinating neuroscience of resistance
  • Recognize the building blocks of resistance: habit, identity, loss aversion, and more
  • Understand why identity – at the individual, team, department, and company level – matters so much
  • Explore the potential unconscious competing commitments that may get in your way
  • Understand the full emotional range, from fear and grief to celebration

Icon of a hammer and screwdriverModule Nine – Tools for leading change

Change leadership requires us to understand the actual science – brain science, neuroscience, hard facts – behind people’s reactions to change. Only then can we guide our teams through and create forward momentum toward the goal. Failing to manage employee the emotional impact of change is a failure to truly lead.

  • Discover the practice and power of professional empathy
  • Learn the Truly Transformative Question – and how to use it
  • Add the tools of mirroring and labelling to your leadership toolbox (credit: Chris Voss and his book Never Split the Difference: negotiating as if your life depended on it)
  • And discover the power of looping back your understanding
  • Learn why “No!” can be your friend
  • And never forget the power of ritual and celebration

Icon of two people talkingModule Ten – Communication

Communication is where many change initiatives start breaking down. Once you know who (your stakeholders), you can define the what, when, and how to engage their interest and commitment and overcome resistance.

  • Become very, very clear on what happens when communication is inadequate or breaks down
  • Learn why different stakeholder groups need different levels and types of communication
  • Understand exactly what needs to be communicated to each group
  • Identify the different communication formats and how to pick the right one at the right time
  • Define and plan your communication schedule for each stakeholder

Icon of a hammer and screwdriverModule Eleven – Being the Change Leader

What does it really mean to be a Change Leader? Whether you’re a new hire brought in to lead a change initiative, or you’re an estabished employee tapped to lead the change, there are key elements you need to understand.

  • Learn how to hit the ground running as a new hire
  • Understand the differences between building trust as a newbie, versus someone well known
  • Recognize that you need to integrate what you’ve learned into how you operate as a leader
  • Discover how to identify and engage with the nay-sayers among your peers

Unhappy faceModule Twelve – Self-care through the change

Your employees aren’t the only ones who have these reactions and challenges. You do too, and you need support just as much as they do.

  • Explore options for self-discovery and self-care that feel right to you
  • Learn ways to apply the tools you’ve learned to yourself as well as others
  • Plan your options for support, including potential mentors, venting partners, accountability processes, and so on

Unhappy faceModule Thirteen – Practice

Have you ever taken a course or attended a workshop, loved and enjoyed what you learned, and then, back at your desk … um. How do I do this again?

There’s a reason for that: the brain learns by doing, not by reading or watching. Of course reading and watching is essential to gain the basic information, but then we must do.

Which means practice is essential, and in this module you’ll have opportunities to practice all the tools you learned throughout the course. And I promise: most will be practical and real, and very few will be hokey or cheesy!

Icon of an open bookCase studies

How does this actually work in the real world? In this module, you’ll explore case studies of successful as well as unsuccessful corporate change initiatives, drawn from interviews with leaders and employees who actually experienced them.

  • Creating a cross-department Knowledge Management function within a highly siloed tech company
  • Solving excruciatingly high (80-plus percent annually) turnover at a healthcare non-profit
  • Restoring professionalism and trust at a police department deemed in an external evaluation to be “the worst in the country”
  • Implementing modern development procedures in an old-school, old-guard technology company
  • Restructuring the business model of an insurance company
  • Fixing a problem with employee experience / employee satisfaction

Icon of an open bookFinal exam

To receive your certificate of completion (always helpful for impressing your manager and including on a resume!), you’ll need to complete the final exam with a passing score.

Having a hard time convincing your boss to support you in taking this course? Tell them there’s a final and a certificate, and they might be more interested! And download this guide to asking your manager for training.

Change initiatives should succeed more often than they fail.

It starts with you, the leader, and your skill at leading change.

Ready to learn more?

Want to provide this program to a group or cohort of your managers? Here’s my calendar linkwe’ll explore your needs and options.

Want to purchase for yourself? Click that calendar linkWe’ll have a quick talk to see if this is the right program for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions