Change Management: Changing Lanes – Remember to use the blinkers!

Posted on 25. Jul, 2011 by in Blog, Change Management, Servant Leadership

We were at the 4-way stop. The one at the edge of town, always busy with several cars lined up in each direction.

Straight through the stop sign to access the local farmer’s market. A right turn earns a peaceful afternoon at one of several local wineries. Turn left and quickly arrive at a gas station and loop back into civilization.

It’s one of those intersections where you hope at least 3 drivers are paying attention.

Changing Your Organization - use your signals

Signal change using the "3 Cs"

Alot of people.

Alot of choices.

Alot of movement.

Many accidents have occurred at this concrete patch. Most times as a result of a driver wrongly predicting the moves of another driver.

Yesterday, as my husband and I were waiting our turn at this popular junction, sure enough, one of the drivers neglected to use a blinker – the turn signal to let the other 3 drivers know of her intentions. My husband commented, “traffic sure flows better when people just remember to use their blinkers!”  Yep.

Interestingly enough, no horns blared, no shaking fists or other gestures flew out of  car windows, just a massive “tentativeness” permeated the area. For the next 2 sets of drivers navigating their turns, hesitation, unsurety, and a lack of trust regarding intentions clogged the area.

Was the driver going to turn or go straight?  The right turn signal is on – does he mean it?  Can I trust the signal or lack of a signal? Is he going to go straight after all or did he forget to use the blinker and is about to turn?

People ended up, well – stuck.

This same thing happens in organizations – businesses, schools, churches, (families too) when “the driver,” otherwise called “leader,” neglects to signal a “lane change,” “turn” or any other change in direction.

When we neglect to clearly share our intentions, we leave people wondering, tentative, and unsure about their next steps. Sometimes even bigger issues are ignited –  Trust Issues. And once the trust foundation is shaken, the workload doubles as you have to repair trust and still drive the required change.

Just like at the 4 way stop,intentions are honorable. People just get in a hurry and forget. So before you start the change process, a quick reminder.

Remember  the 3 Cs:


Failing into Success

Posted on 16. Feb, 2011 by in Blog, Change Management, Servant Leadership

I’ve quoted this for so many years, almost thought it was mine:

“Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?”

Originally stated by Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s empire, the quote is reiterated by Derek Sivers in his worth viewing YouTube Clip:

When driving change and new projects, many leaders think they must have all the answers.  For some, it’s difficult to say 3 magic words:

I don’t know.

It didn’t work.

Let’s try again.

Another fantastic resource on the topic of driving lasting change and developing a growth mindset is the book, SWITCH by Chip and Dan Heath. Clear, well written, great insights – and with a sense of humor!

A Must for leaders driving change.

Authentic, Servant Leaders know the value of a growth mindset. Experimenting. Learning. Sharing.



Posted on 07. May, 2010 by in Blog, Change Management, Leadership and Development

Four walls (room) – to protect what’s in and keep out – well, what’s out.

Break Through!

Break Through!

Wailing Wall – a place to seek, mourn, and pray.

Great wall of China – way to define large borders.

THE WALL – of Fenway Park – a place to target when batting it up with the

Boston Red Soxs

We are good at walls. We are even better using terms involving walls for organizational analogies: Building walls, scaling walls, climbing walls.

“Tear down that wall Mr. Gorbachev.” -Ronald Reagan

For change-leaders creating momentum, reinventing, moving people to new places – challenging and frustrating moments encountered can be when you……..


When something  smacks you to a dead stop. An obstacle seems insurmountable. Difficult.  Walking away seems better than moving forward.

What is a Change leader to do?

1. Acknowledge.

The wall is a temporary derailment. Hitting a wall doesn’t change anything.  The original challenge is still in play, has to be dealt with, and you are still the one to make it happen.

In order to tame it, you have to name it. It’s just a wall.

2. Personal Choice Moment

You have to decide it you’d prefer to:

A. Jump over it

B. Climb it

C. Walk around it

All methods work. After all, while potentially large, it’s just a wall.

3. Setbacks ≠ Stop

Setbacks or new obstacles don’t indicate that the original change is no longer needed. Newly discovered impediments are just incremental obstacles that were not originally uncovered in the analysis. Once removed, better for all in the long term. Include the setback into the plan and keep moving forward. If a personal setback, what did you learn, how can you use it as growth experience?

Don’t give up – keep going!!

Good Luck!

Blind Spots – Who Me?

Posted on 07. Apr, 2010 by in Blog, Change Management, Transitions

I can see it, I can see it!

I can see it, I can see it!

It happened again.

I was deep into a conversation discussing a transition challenge with a client over the phone.  The issue was complex and paying attention was definitely required.  We decided to sync calendars and find a time to meet. I thought viewing the calendar on my cell phone would be the fastest and least distracting method to set up the appointment, so I began to look for the phone as we continued to talk.

I couldn’t find it anywhere.

Where had I put it? Did I lose it?  I checked all around me.  Purse, desk – even the trash can. Now I was mentally multi-tasking and not laser focused as I needed to be. I finally gave up looking and set the meeting time up via computer. As we said our goodbyes, I found the cell phone.

I was talking on it!

As I leaned over in the chair laughing at myself, the expression, “as plain as the nose on your face” popped into mind. I was so focused on the conversation; I missed the critical data right in front of me – that I was holding the phone. This happens more than we might realize – or admit… [C’mon, I’ve heard some of your stories and know I’m not the only one…]

Psychologists call this phenomenon:

scotoma [skɒˈtəʊmə]

A mental blind spot; inability to understand or perceive certain matters

When working through a change process or mapping out a transition plan for people, sometimes mental blind spots or hidden bias are the worst enemies.  Blind spots are a partiality (point of view, not prejudice) that can be apparent to others but are mostly hidden from our vantage point. These areas are generated from predisposition (bias) about what we expect to occur or see.

When change has to happen quickly, efficiently, and stick the first time – blind spots can derail the process if unaddressed.  Steps or vital communication can be left out.  People may not be included that need to be.  As the end goal is reached, you might have to play catch-up and go back into the process to deal with the areas affected by the blind spot.

If time is of the essence, one way to deal with blind spots is to partner with a trusted adviser that can see areas you cannot.  A Complementary Opposite. Someone who can be back-to-back with you; providing data and insights in areas you cannot see for the betterment of the change project and end result.  Once you find this person, ask questions and listen to what is shared.

Over time, as your complementary opposite sheds light on blind spots, they become easier to recognize. In the meantime, your change initiative has a better chance to stick the first time.

Have you ever had a complementary opposite help you succeed where you might have failed otherwise?

Was it difficult to just listen to the feedback and not argue about how right you really were?