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.


  1. 1) Sustainable change also requires communication going both ways.
    2) Trust must be alive before sustainability can be achieved. One of the hardest parts of change is over-coming the "low or no" trust factor--many organizations have been knocking each other down for so long there is very little trust within the organization. Building a small pool of trust and having it ripple out into the organization has to be built at the same time or even better, before, the advanced skills are being developed. Trust can begin as simple as taking a small problem and fixing it in a timely manner. Part of that fix must come from letting a part of the group participate in finding a solution or working on the solution. Then verbal praise for the idea and solution must be made infront of the whole group.
    3) Utilizing the skills and the leadership of "real leader(s) within the group" is the only way you will make change sustainable.

  2. MrE,
    1)I completely agree with points you raised. One of the advantages of working with frameworks is to promote transparency and active engagement with thinking invested in change processes.
    2)I believe leadership is primarily grounded in faith and managing is grounded in trust based on supportive evidence as you suggested. I have concluded that in order to lead, a person must have demonstrated capability to manage self (critical) and to manage things for which he/she is accountable.