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What Has Changed without Your Awareness?

This weekend I watched parts of several football games – both college level and professional. And, while watching them I had an aha moment regarding how things change without us being aware of the changes.

My aha was regarding the offensive lineman and specifically their technique. What I was playing football, lineman were not allowed to grab the defensive player at any point. In fact, we were taught to grab our own jerseys and basically use our arms as big flippers to hit our opponent. Therefore, it was easier for the defensive players to attack the offense and make plays.

Today the rules of the game have changed. It appears an offensive lineman can grab as much jersey as he wants as long as he does get outside the opponents arms. Therefore, watching these football games was an exercise in watching basically wrestling matches at the line of scrimmage.

My initial thoughts were – wow I could have really good if I could have grabbed hold of the defensive player’s jerseys during a game. With my long arms this would have stopped my opponents dead in their tracks and I would have won even more of these battles.

Okay, so what does my story of football have to do with leadership today?

When Thinking Outside the Box – Whose Box?

Interesting thing happened last week as a client was reflecting upon how much they wanted to “Think Outside the Box.”

Now, normally when I hear this statement I get all excited about doing something new and out of the ordinary. To take a risk – a calculated risk for sure – and find new ways to do things. These new things or ways should lead to differentiation and greater results.

Well, a funny thing happened along the path to working outside the box. I felt resistance to a number of ideas and thoughts about ways to change how things were being done. I was excited as the visions of significant improvements and greater results were dancing in my head (I know it sounds like I’m talking about Christmas – sorry!) Then I began to truly listen to the blocks and comments about the new ideas – which were not coming from the originator of the statement – Thinking Outside the Box.

I realized we were still playing in their Box rather than another Box where the ideas were flowing rapidly.

Five Keys To Maximize Success Changing Processes

One of the major concerns for executives is how to make sure a major change process becomes successful.

When an executive in today’s corporate environment signs up to lead a major change within the organization, their creditability and job security rests with the successful completion of the project. This is not a time for hope or “just do it” or the people will know what to do when the time comes for a real leader. Change is hard enough – add the word major to it and the stakes increase ten fold.

Looking at the Change Process as a project management point of view, then there are five keys to maximizing the progress of successful completion of the change process. Here are the five keys…

4 Steps to Positive Change

One of the funniest Dilbert cartoons I’ve seen had the caption, “Change is good.  YOU GO FIRST!”

That is how most of us feel about change.   Change is scary.  Even positive change can be a bit uncomfortable until it “fits”.

Change is actually good for us.  Yes, it truly is!   It takes us out of the mundane “ruts” of life as well as makes our brains work in a different pattern.  Have you heard that working crossword puzzles is good for us as we age?   That is because it causes us to stretch.  And it makes us work the parts of our brain that are important to staving off age-related mental and cognitive problems.

What Can An Executive Coach Do For You?

Do you find that you have more on your to-do list than you can possibly get accomplished?   Do you have trouble getting some of your employees engaged?

Is your life out of balance?   Do you experience difficulty in communicating with some key individuals?

All of the above problem areas can see excellent results when you work with an executive coach.   Change comes rapidly in today’s business environment.  When you couple that with a changing social structure, stress is almost inevitable.

Ways for Embracing Change

Change is difficult even for people who enjoy change.  Many change initiatives fail because education and buy-in are not in place.

Ways to get others to embrace change:

  • Show them the “why” before the “how”
  • Use persuasion instead of force
  • Speak their language.  Use words and terms that speak to their specific style
  • Speak to their auditory/visual style (pictures, text, conversations)
  • Show them what’s in it for them (WIIFM)
  • Engage them in the process
  • Always be honest

Ways to nurture “self” when faced with change:

  • Accept change as a part of life
  • Build simple changes into your life
  • Develop and nurture support relationships in your life (both work and home)
  • Live a balanced life to offset the negative impact of sudden change
  • Change your thinking

Either we manage change or it will manage us.


”Change is good, you go first.”

Five Key Principles for Change Management Success

Continuing the theme regarding Managing Change and the importance it will take in the coming years – assuming you want to be successful. These five principles are directed to leaders of organizations. Use this these keys as a guideline and your change initiatives will turn out positive.

The five keys are:

Change Management Methodology – the Big Question for Success

Okay, continuing the theme of change management, one thing jumped out at me. There is a lack of information regarding formal methodology for creating change. When you compare the formalized processes found for total quality processes and even project management – change management systems are lacking or just more unknown.

The reason this is important is because formalized systems allow for complete – wide and deep – coverage of change processes in an organization. At best, today’s change management occurs in the form of improvised solutions using a number of different methods – both proven and unproven relative to getting results.

Change Must Start at the Top Levels

In reading a research paper regarding how change is impacting our companies, I was not surprised to learn that “Top Management support” of change projects was both the top reason for success and a top five reason for failure. This shows the power of influence from above.

I have seen this time after time with clients. When the top management team or key leader supports a change initiative then it gets done. When the top leaders do not lead the change, it is no surprise that it fails due to lack of support.

So if change is going to be become one of the key methods to lead our organizations out of the current economic environment, what are you going to do as the leader of the organization, team, group, division or department? Leading change is a key competency of the best leaders I seen during the years.

If you don’t like something, tell the people that are promoting it that you don’t want it and will not support it by withholding the resources and direction they need to succeed. Simple. Just tell them rather than wait until there are major investments in time, energy and resources. Leaders are at the front – not on the side or at the back-end. Get out front and lead your people.

If you like something they want to accomplish, then get involved and show everyone that this one counts. Let people know that you want to see results from the change initiative. It is interesting how fast people will rally around the initiative and get things done. Again, leaders make a difference during periods of change.

If you need assistance in a change management situation, contact us at 901-757-4434. We have been assisting our clients with change initiatives for over twenty years.