Thursday, July 29, 2010


As you prepare to embark on a journey of change, it would be well to reflect on the implication of several vital concepts:

• Change is closely related to development with both concepts having to do with raising the purpose, state, and capability of a person, organization, or thing to a higher and more useful level.

• Development implies that possibility for change exists within the reality of a given situation and within the capacity of a person, organization, or thing to become something better than they presently are.

• Non-living things (products and technology) are developed only in response to external forces.

• Living things, other than human, develop through a process of evolution which is quite accidental and has a very low probability of a successful outcome on an individual scale.

• Human systems, (individuals and organizations) require development in order to achieve their potential and as a condition for survival in a changing environment.

• Development must proceed in response to intentional design or its products will be the result of accident vs. purpose and not sustainable.

• In order to produce desirable and sustainable outcomes, developmental efforts must be led from within the person or organization being developed, in order to tap the primary source of will and energy for the process. When external sources attempt to impose development on human systems the result is invariably unsatisfactory and often leads to an end-state worse than initial state. This does not surprise people who understand the true nature of development.

• Many things in a process of change and development require capable managing. The overall effort however must be led. Attempts to manage change in individuals and organizations reduce them to the status of things, and will cause them to misunderstand, resist, and/or be indifferent to the process.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Our business depends on investments individuals and other companies make in us and who therefore expect and deserve a return on their investment. They like us, are always looking for an improved return and if they find that a competitor can provide a higher return (because of changes for the better in products, technology and organization) they are likely to transfer their investment (stake) to that competitor leaving us high and dry without sufficient investment base to run a successful business.

A primary challenge to business is to encourage leaders in their natural desire for new and innovative approaches and support their initiative to set the stage for constructive change to take place.

A fundamental framework that describes essential elements of change:

Current State                                  Desired State


KNOWN?               UNKNOWN

What is not change:

• If the “desired state” is one we have visited before, it is NOT change.

• If methods we use to fill the gap are tried, true and familiar; they are NOT change.

• When we successfully solve difficult problems, it is NOT change.

• When we improve something incrementally, that is NOT change.

• When we feel like resting on our laurels, fear the unknown, and are never dissatisfied with current state we will NOT change.

Premises about change:

• Managing involves making effective and efficient use of what we know. Change is not a process that can be managed because it involves the unknown and is in the domain of leadership.

• We must accurately and completely describe the current state in order to have a stable foundation from which to initiate change.

• Leadership and change are inseparable. When leaders are assigned to a 100% diet of mundane tasks and fire-fighting they will turn off to leading, resign, or use their leadership skills in ways that are often upsetting to the organization.

• Leadership of change must come from within the system being changed.

• Change involves creating what we do not have and requires inventing new methods to achieve change objectives, therefore we gain benefit of these new results, including improved skills and capability.

• Change cannot be achieved by attempting to create something new into what already exists, therefore a void must exist to enable change to take place.

• Sustainable change requires first to aim for a higher purpose, next to develop advanced skills able to achieve purpose and then culture will naturally evolve in a more constructive and positive direction.