Three Change Facilitation Questions

There are many reasons given for why employees resist change, including:

1. They don’t know why the change is needed

2. They fear the unknown

3. They fear they lack the necessary skills

4. They have a fear of failure

5. They are comfortable with the current state

6. They do not trust the change originators

7. They believe that it is a temporary fad

8. They were never consulted

9. They have no information about the change

10. They are exhausted

11. They worry about the effect on the status quo

12. The benefits and rewards are inadequate

13. They fear they will lose their jobs

14. They believe that they will be expected to do more with less

15. They have a fear of losing control

16. The change is occurring at a bad time

17. Their support system will be lost

18. They had a prior negative change experience

19. They have empathy for employees who will be adversely affected

20. There is too much uncertainty around the change

21. They still resent the effects of past changes

22. There are real threats associated with the change

23. They fear any change

24. They don’t like that their routines will be changed

However, the change consultant, William Bridges, says that it isn’t the actual change that employees resist, but rather the transition that must be made to accommodate the change. If the employees do not make the transition, the change will not work.

“Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational [and external]: the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, new policy.

Transition is the inner process through which people come to terms with a change, as they let go of the way things used to be and reorient themselves to the way that things are now.

In an organization, managing transition means helping people to make that difficult process less painful and disruptive.”

It does this by answering three key questions introducing the change initiative. The first two questions relate to the external changes taking place. The third question relates to the internal psychological transition that the employees need to make.

Question #1: What is changing and why is it happening?

Employees need to know what the change is and why it is necessary.

Employees will not buy into a change if management cannot explain it in a clear and simple statement without any jargon. The statement should also be brief- Bridges recommends that it be only 1 minute!

Question #2: What will actually be different because of the change?

Employees need to know how the changes will affect their lives, their jobs, and the functions of their department.

Management should be able to explain in specific terms the actual differences that the change will make in how programs and procedures operate, where staff will be located, and how functions will be organized.

Question #3: Who is going to lose what?

Employees need to let go of their old situation before they can start something new.

Management should take the time to understand how the world looks to the employees and use that as the starting point to help them identify the losses and endings they are experiencing. This will get the issues out in the open, give the employees the tools they need to move forward in a difficult time, and build trust by showing that management cares about the employees.

Business Agility in a World of Artificial Intelligence

Business Agility, AI and Remaining Human

“The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most intelligent, caring and supervisory roles remaining.” Stephen Hawking.

It doesn’t take one of the world’s greatest living astrophysicists to understand there is a major shift going on in not only our workplaces, but in our society as a whole. The difference between what humans can do and what machines and computers are capable of is shifting, and at an accelerating rate. This reality becomes truly scary to those who currently earn a living by doing repetitive tasks or thinking in repeatable patterns; in other words, most of us.

If you are not able to distinguish what you do from that of a machine or a computer, then how can you really call yourself much more than a human doing? To remain a human being requires more!

The difference between a human doing and a human being?

Your ability to feel and relate.

Going forward, this will be most obvious in those roles that as Professor Hawking reminds us require feelings, leadership and creativity combined with intelligence. For the foreseeable future, this means that your economy will increasingly be influenced by your ability to listen, understand, empathize, create and lead. In short, the more you cultivate your ability to consciously feel, powerfully communicate and relate, the better chance you will have of getting paid. Transacting can be left to our increasingly sophisticated creations.

Even if increasing your ability to use your senses to relate is reduced down to the economics of being employed or not, just that is a positive start! Most of us are now being forced to learn that trying to compete with computers and machines only leads to increased stress and ultimately dis-ease.

“Life in a Spreadsheet”

A good friend, Tim Finucane, came up with this appropriate metaphor over ten years ago, and it rings truer today than when he first coined it. Since the advent of Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel, 30 plus years ago, we have been able to measure job performance with increasing accuracy as well as more intrusiveness. Whereas, spreadsheets were first used to help us perform better, they have now morphed into being used to dictate and monitor increasingly challenging performance metrics. Is it any wonder that each little box in a spreadsheet is called a “cell”? Just like prison, these cells keep getting smaller and just like government budgets, each metric usually increases over time.

Spreadsheet technology gave way to the idea of Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. For your company, these are metrics based almost entirely upon historical performance, yet are prone to increase or tighten every time they are reviewed. This is fine for a machine that you can tweak and improve with newer technology, but when the key components are you and your co-worker, constant increases can stifle your creativity and crush your ability to care. The machine literally drains you of your humanity and what are human beings without that?

Powerful forces, problem or Agile Opportunity?

Thus we have two powerful forces working against us. Firstly, constantly increasing performance metrics keep limiting our ability to be human. Secondly, increasingly efficient computers and machines make obsolete more of our opportunities to earn. The good news is that those who understand these powerful forces and the change they are bringing can begin directly to increase their creativity, as well as hone their ability to sense, relate and lead.

What if this measurement trend also is forcing us to take more personal responsibility to relearn and improve the skills necessary for not just emotional, but social competence? Don’t think this is important? One of the seminars held at this year’s Davos World Economic Forum was titled, “Maintaining Your Humanity“. Even the Elites now get it.

Competing with an increasingly sophisticated computer or machine for jobs that technology can do better is not a winning strategy! Especially if you wish to remain healthy and prosperous. The one area that for the foreseeable future will remain the domain of humans is where feelings and relationships come into play. These areas include but are not limited to:

  • Customer Service
  • Healthcare
  • Sales
  • Leadership
  • Music and arts

Each one of these areas of human endeavor requires feeling and sensitivity to succeed. Computers and machines cannot do that. Machines can measure and they can perform without rest, but they cannot not feel anything while performing or when they objectively measure and communicate the results. This job is left for us to interpret and enjoy, or not.Conclusion: Remain Human, Get Agile, or Be Swallowed by the Technology

If you want to insure your ability to earn a living going forward, you need to begin now to optimize your use of computer and machine skills, while simultaneously rediscovering and mastering your ability to be vibrant human being. Missing this opportunity may not affect you tomorrow, but sooner or later the Technologically Weighted Future we are all tumbling into will catch up to even you!

Leading A Disruptive Workplace

We seem to be facing a world where changes happen so quickly and customer expectations seem hard to pin-point. The ever-reliable market research before developing a marketing strategy stance is thrown out the window because the parameters used become irrelevant.

Change is the new normal.

The calculation of ROI appears impossible when investment function appears infinitely variable and non-stop.

To compound all this is an inter-generational divide in the workplace of baby boomers, Gen X & Y (and soon Z). we have a big mix of chaos.

So how can a business-owner create some order in a disruptive workplace?

Comparative Advantage

The familiar Ricardo’s Theory of Comparative Advantage is a good starting point. In a world where it is really hard to create a totally unique product or service, the reason is very simple. Technology and social media has made the transfer of information move in break-neck speed.

R&D and Patents merely protect your invention for a brief period of time. But will your customers taste and preferences stay constant within this protected period?

Not so.

Thus you must use a very short product life cycle and never stop improving your expertise.


You must develop a culture of open-communication with you employees because a single suggestion of improvement can make provide clues to how your organisation should proceed. The days of depending in the flair and bravado of the marketing team is over. We are now looking at the might of the entire company becoming one malleable and flexible entity.

Watch out for the tipping point

Gladwell was right. The only difference now is that the tipping point of your future customers will be reached faster and with more complicated variations. We are now looking at a few minor tipping points leading a very big tsunami of a change. Think GPS having an effect in driverless car technology.


Widen your definition of who are your stakeholders. The reason is very simple. The more relevant is your organisation to different demographics, the more chance of it having a strong mindshare and branding. The operative idea here is there must be the development of your product and service that your customers be hooked like Google Search.

Embrace robotics and automation

The earlier you embrace robotics and automation, the faster your team will too. Do a matching system and enquire how each member can use this technology.

Change of employment contract

There must be a willingness to look at a new employment contract where the potential employee will be committed to follow through with a robot or an automated process especially in training. Of course the role of the organisation is also to ensure that the robot is relevant to a dynamic workplace or it should have to be replaced.


The idea of one-size-fits-all motivation has to be thrown out as different people have different expectations and beliefs. It is not good to assume that high pay and large fringe benefits like free travel will necessarily be good motivation tools. Go to the ground to find out what rocks the world of your team. You may be very surprised.

Are You Resistant To Change? You Should Try New Things!

In life, there is one constant: change. Around us the world is constantly changing. Everything is in a constant state of flux: fashion, architecture, technology, and most of all – business. While some people have been successful by sticking with the same old thing, it’s a pretty short list.

If you look at yourself and what you know and do, and compare it to all the knowledge and opportunity available in the world, it’s probably a pretty small chunk. There are so many new avenues in business that are open to you; you just have to be open to them as well. While most people resist change, you may find that a lot of these avenues will not only make you more successful, you may just like them more than what you do now.

Willingness to change makes you a better investment to customers and clients.

If they only see you as a one-trick pony, they may come to you for that one thing, but that’s about it. But if people see you as adaptable, they’ll have more faith in your ability to keep up with the changing world and be more likely to take a chance on you, or come to you with new business opportunities that might be something you haven’t tried before.

In today’s business market, technology is one of the best resources you can have.

And the technology available is changing at a remarkable rate. It used to be that if you were out your business for ten or twenty years, you’d get behind and probably couldn’t go back without learning a lot of new stuff. Now, if you’re gone for just six months, you could be totally out of date. While you don’t need to get the latest or most expensive gadget, you do need to make regular changes and upgrades to the equipment you’re using.

Some of us are just more resistant to change than others; it’s just en-grained in our DNA.

But just because you don’t like change doesn’t mean you need to be left behind. Small changes can make big differences too.

Instead of turning your life upside down, just start by looking in different directions. Attend a seminar about new ideas or technologies, subscribe to a new newsletter that you didn’t before. By themselves, these are pretty small changes, but when you do them, you might find options of bigger changes that won’t be too hard either.

Don’t change too much.

Warren Buffet is one of the world’s richest men. He got there by being fairly resistant to technological change. He invests mostly in stable businesses like insurance and food, rather than more unstable things like dot-coms. The reason? Just because something is new, doesn’t mean it’s good.

It’s always a good idea to research anything before getting involved with it, and to never put all your eggs in one basket – no matter how big an opportunity it is. If you change smart, then you’ll likely find yourself in a better situation.

Seven Deadly Perils That New Charity Leaders Face (And How to Overcome Them)

Being a Charity CEO is like leading a mountaineering expedition in a storm. You move ahead, with the elements raging against you, but at times it’s all you can do just to hang on. New Charity Leaders encounter common hazards when starting a new role. Here are some ways to overcome them…


Everything depends on you. Funders expect maximum outputs in return for minimal resources. Trustees and staff rely on you to provide consistent, strong leadership through thick and thin.

But as CEO you are isolated. You have little managerial or collegial support; you have no-one to confide in. You lack opportunities to test out your ideas and avoid common pitfalls. Your trustees help where they can, but they can’t provide objective performance management, feedback or guidance.

It’s lonely at the top, especially for new charity bosses, but you can find support. Outside help from a trusted mentor, perhaps from a previous role, say a former colleague, can be a lifeline during this critical career transition. It will assist you to negotiate the turbulent charity terrain.

Blurred Vision

Many charities suffer from lack of clear vision. It’s like trying to navigate without a map. You lose track of where you are heading. Planning suffers, resulting in confusion and overall ineffectiveness. With no definition of ‘why’ you do what you do, you get bogged down in ‘how’ you do it.

As CEO your task is to bring everyone together with a common purpose. Consult trustees, staff and beneficiaries, and clarify the vision (‘why’) and mission (‘how’) of the charity. Facilitate this process to engage those involved, and to encourage their investment in the overall direction. Now you can start to formulate a strategy and action plan to ensure the best outcomes for the people you serve.

Weak Infrastructure

Muddled vision, mission and strategy, all lead to ineffective planning and inadequate structures, policies and procedures, and poor outcomes for beneficiaries. You need a new strategy and clear action plan. You need a staff structure with appropriate roles and responsibilities, and clear lines of accountability.

Ensure your organisation is fit-for-purpose by reshaping policies, and sharpening operational practices. Naturally, these changes will be met with some resistance. It will take considerable courage and conviction on your part to see them through.

Poor Morale

People working in charities want to achieve the best outcomes for the vulnerable people they serve. But funding chaos and threats to jobs leave staff feeling demoralised. Team working also suffers.

As CEO you listen to and respond to people’s hopes and concerns, gain their trust and get them on board with the charitable aims. An inclusive approach will foster enthusiasm and autonomy in your staff as they commit to their role in the charity’s success.


Leading major change is not easy, and you now have a massive workload. There are financial issues, staff redundancies and related disputes. You are doing other people’s jobs and focusing on operational, rather than strategic issues. You are working far too many hours and this is impinging on your personal life.

You need to take a step back and prioritise your workload. Consider delegating more to key individuals, and developing your staff’s confidence to shoulder more responsibility. Now you can begin to protect your time, regain your work-life balance and focus on your own professional development.

Hair-Shirt Syndrome

Charities are driven by altruistic values. While honourable, being austere and self-sacrificing has obvious downsides. Organisations that cut corners in areas such as staff development can seem advantageous to funders, who want more and more outputs for their money. It seems a luxury to allocate precious funds to improving your human resource.

But continuous professional development is regarded in the corporate sector as essential for businesses to be responsive to ever-changing and challenging environments. Teams are allocated training budgets and CEOs are offered leadership support as a source of independent managerial expertise and professional feedback.

As a charity CEO, you’ve worked hard to get where you are. You’re already good at what you do. But how often do you give yourself a little time to reflect on your own performance, to develop your skills, and to consider your future? Make this a priority.

Fear of Flying

You’ve reached the top! So now you raise your sights and scan the environment for new opportunities. You look to form new partnerships, engage new stakeholders and represent your organisation in the public arena. You want to make the leap to new heights, and broader horizons. But you are uncertain of what lies beyond your comfort zone. Your own fear is the deadliest peril of all.

You deserve a little affirmation of your strengths as a leader. You now have a track record of delivering life-changing outcomes for the vulnerable people you serve. You are dependable, courageous and you inspire everyone with your devotion to the cause. You might consider a new role, launching your own venture, or offering your expertise as a consultant. Who knows what the future holds? It’s time to prepare for that leap of faith towards your next thrilling adventure!

Why Isn’t an Open Mind Enough?

I have always thought that it was important to have an open mind- and prided myself on having one.

According to Z. Hereford, people who are open minded are: “willing to change their views when presented with new facts and evidence.” They are more accepting of others, have fewer prejudices, are more open to change, and have better problem solving skills.

Based on this description, an open mind seems to be a desirable characteristic for a lifelong learner and a change agent.

However, information I’ve received from two different sources has given me new perspectives.

In a recent cartoon, Randy Glasbergen shows a man sitting in a psychologist’s office. The man is saying to the therapist: “I used to have an open mind, but people kept leaving their trash in it!”

In this man’s case, having an open mind wasn’t enough. And there is another more compelling reason that supports the title of this article.

According to Dr. C. Otto Scharmer and Theory U, an open mind is merely the second of the four levels of listening or attention necessary for movement from an I-focus to a we-focus.

“Theory U proposes that the quality of the results we create in any social system is a function of the quality of awareness, attention, or consciousness that the participants in the system operate from.”

At the first level of listening, we simply “download” information that is consistent with our beliefs. If something is inconsistent with our world view, we simply don’t hear or accept it.

An open mind occurs at the second level, where we “see with fresh eyes.” At this level, we suspend our habitual beliefs and set prejudgment aside so we are able to listen to and accept facts that differ from what we thought we knew.

The understanding of an open mind is at a cognitive or intellectual level. We don’t listen with empathy until we achieve the third level, where we have an open heart. This is where we open ourselves up to experiencing on an emotional level what others are feeling.

It is only when we reach the fourth and deepest level of listening that we are able to listen in a generative (or procreative) manner. At this level, our open will enables us to let go of fear and the baggage of the past, and let the new vision and intention come. Instead of learning from the past, we “connect with and learn from emerging future possibilities.”

If meaningful change is to occur, the fourth and deepest level of listening must be achieved.

Dr. Scharmer calls activity at this level presencing. “Presencing is a blended word combining ‘sensing’ (feeling the future possibility) and ‘presence’ (the state of being in the present moment): presencing means ‘sensing and actualizing one’s highest future possibility… “

The question for trainers and other change agents is “How do we help people get to the fourth level?” The Presencing Institute offers six tools: dialogue interview, prototyping, guided journaling, sensing journeys, shadowing, stakeholder interviews and a case clinic.

Clearly, an open mind is not enough!

Seven Things to Ask When Choosing an Executive Coach

The most valuable resource of any organization is its people. An organization that supports, values and acknowledges what staff bring, is more likely to survive and prosper. Executive Coaching, the support process of choice for many organizations, can enhance work satisfaction along with productivity and staff retention. But Coaching is not cheap. How do we choose a Coach most likely to give us a great return on our investment?

1. Ask about the Executive Coach’s Methods

A professional Coach uses proven techniques to establish clear goals, explore situations, consider ways forward and take positive action. They use models that enhance communication and promote learning and professional development in an empowering and sustainable way. Find out what their methods are.

2. Ask about their Coaching Philosophy

Accredited and experienced Executive Coaches will consciously work to ethical codes and philosophical frameworks, to ensure the best possible service for their clients. Ask them to tell you about their coaching ethics and philosophy.

3. Ask about Quality Assurance

Professional Coaches assure quality by regularly reviewing progress with their clients. Their programs will also be evaluated with clients to demonstrate exactly what the outcomes are for the individual and the organization. Ask them about their review and evaluation processes.

4. Ask for Testimonials

Satisfied clients will be happy to reflect on the benefits of the Executive Coaching service as part of the evaluation process, and after coaching has ended. Ask for written testimonials, or to ask to talk to previous clients about their experience.

5. Ask if they’re trained

No less relevant, is the coaching knowledge and practice a Coach has attained. A professional Coach will have undergone extensive training and accreditation, including key theoretical perspectives and considerable practice, gained under supervision by experienced coaching professionals. Ask about their training.

6. Ask about their Continued Professional Development

A competent Coach will be working on their own development, for example, by being coached themselves. Professional Coaches also receive regular Coaching Supervision as part of their ongoing professional development. An opportunity to explore and improve one’s coaching practice, Coaching Supervision is considered in the coaching industry as essential to Quality Assurance. Ask about their Continued Professional Development.

7. Ask yourself: How comfortable do you feel?

Probably the most important thing to ask yourself in your quest for the right Executive Coach is how comfortable you feel with the person. Do you feel listened to? Is there an increasing sense of clarity and inspiration to achieve your goals? These are some of the clues that this person will help you work smarter and create the changes you want!

Character Counts, But It Can Lead You Astray

Let me start by saying I place a high value on a person’s character. However, unlike like many coaches and executives I have worked with, I also understand that it is not as determinative as it is often portrayed to be in the media or as much as most people think it is.

Coaches often brag about a player being of high character. Teams and businesses often proudly state that they only hire people who possess fine character. Yet we are inundated with news stories about workers who commit malfeasance against their employer, and players who run afoul of the law from these same companies and teams that only hire people with great character.

The assumption we tend to make when things like I just described happen, is that the business or team was wrong about those individuals’ level of character. While that certainly is a valid possibility and perhaps accurate in some cases, chances are much higher that the reason for this is what is known as the Fundamental Attribution Error. This is where we take a perceived trait in someone and assume that since they possess it in one area, it applies to all areas. When it is a positive trait, like high character, it is often referred to as the “Halo Effect.”

We forget that good people sometimes do bad things; like the clergyman who cheats on his taxes, or the man who volunteers to help underprivileged children and then goes home and abuses his wife. Not long ago, several professional athletes were taken for millions of dollars by a financial advisor and when one of the bigger victims (QB Mark Sanchez) was asked about it, he said he trusted him because he was a Christian, thereby assuming he was honest and trustworthy. That is an excellent example of an attribution error in action.

New leaders often start by saying they are only going to bring in high character people. This is a great and noble idea, but if you start bringing high character people into a corrupt environment, they are more likely to become corrupt as well, rather than be able to convert the corrupt people into people of high character.

Sometimes it is better to clean house and build back up. When trying to salvage what was good, you may end up making an attribution error or two when deciding on what or who to keep, and be back where you started before you have a chance to succeed.

So, my advice to businesses and teams is to evaluate the character of all of your prospects, but do not use that evaluation as a heavily weighted factor in your hiring decision.

How to Overpower Anger

If we have anger towards someone it will hurt us more than the subject of our anger. We all humans feel anger towards someone for one reason or the other. In fact we also keep angering other people frequently. However, a good way to tackle anger is to let go of it.

You can try to rationalize your anger and forgive the person. Or if it’s not possible then you can maintain a distance from the person so that you don’t feel anger in future. One good way to get rid of your anger is to write down all your angry feelings on a piece of paper, and then tear it. It works for many people. This is also a reason why so many people love to blog. It unburdens them of their feelings and emotions and they feel light and happy. If you don’t express your anger and keep it in your heart for a long time then it will make you feel miserable. Anger is like acid. Get it out of your heart and mind. Your mind deserves better things.

Consider the big picture

Once you realize that the cause of your anger is very small in the overall scheme of things you will realize it’s not worth it. The reality is that the world is full of things we can’t control. We should not feel angry about them.

Take slow, deep breath to relax

If you are feeling angry then try to relax. It will make you feel good and you will feel less stressed out. If we just delay our anger for few minutes we will feel no need to get angry.

Try to understand why you are angry

Just by understanding the reason behind your anger you can become less angry. Once you understand it you can remove the reason, and thus anger.

It’s a fact that many times we fail to realize the reason behind our anger. Many times the reason is complex and we feel we can’t understand it. However, if you think about the reason with the peace of mind you will be able to find it.


It’s a fact that just by smiling you can change your mood. If you are feeling angry, just smile. It will dramatically alter your mood and you will begin to have positive thoughts in your mind.

This is surprising but true that by just changing our facial expression we can change our mood. For example, if you make an angry face you will begin to get angry and have negative thoughts. On the other hand if you make a surprised face then all things related to the feeling of surprise will begin to come to your mind. Take advantage of this natural fact. Just give a broad smile when you feel angry.

Process Improvement Has No Boundaries

Recently I was approached by a community college administrator about working with them to improve some of their processes. As I read her request one of the things I noticed was she wanted to know what other community colleges had I worked with to improve their processes. In my mind, it doesn’t make a difference if you worked with other community colleges at all because process improvement doesn’t differentiate as to industry or organizations.

I enumerated to her the breadth of my process improvement experience and asked if it made a difference if it did not include community college organizations. To which she responded that it did not make a difference. I said, “you should consider yourself a forerunner because I don’t know of many institutions of higher learning willing to look at improving their processes.” I mentioned to her that I teach at one these institutions and have tried numerous times to get them to look at some of their critical processes as a means of reducing costs, increasing efficiency and becoming more customer(student) centric.

The point I am trying to make here is that continuous process improvement has no boundaries. The tools and concepts you use to improve a manufacturer or service provider processes are time-tested and proven. They are the same tools and concepts you use to improve the processes of an institution of higher learning.

Process improvement originated in the improvement of manufacturing and distribution operations of large business enterprises. Up to now few have considered that the lessons learned in manufacturing and distribution could be applied to the activities in any organization. In fact, process improvement can be applied to virtually every act that every person does. It also pertains to every activity that people do collectively in teams, groups, or organizations.

Process improvement is in no way limited to manufacturing or distribution of products. Service industries like healthcare, fast food, banking, and so on can benefit from the continuous process improvement methods applied in manufacturing. Literally, process improvement has no boundaries.

The continuous process improvement methodology is a systematic approach you can use to make incremental and breakthrough improvements in your processes that produce products and services for your customers. By taking a detailed look at your processes and discovering ways to improve them you will experience faster, better, more efficient, or cost-effective ways to produce your product or service. It involves breaking down walls and barriers between departments, functions, and parallel activities within your organization to form cohesive work teams. Processes slated for improvement must be understood in depth and their boundaries clearly defined.

Organizations should disregard this notion of uniqueness and open their minds to the possibilities of using these time-tested and proven continuous process improvement methods regardless of their origin. The goal is to adapt the tools to your organization not adopt them. It is exasperating sometimes to get organizations to think “adapt” not “adopt.” If they are in the adopt mode, then their thought process is “that won’t work in my organization.” How many times have you heard service providers say, ‘Lean, that is a manufacturing concept it won’t work in my business.” Yet today many service providers have implemented Lean and have experienced unprecedented cost reductions and efficiency increases.

So, keep this in mind when you are considering improving the processes in your organization-process improvement knows no boundaries because all work is a process whether it is enrolling students or making widgets.