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16 November 2009 • 7:00 am

Aftershocks

Aftershock

I recently came across an article about earthquake aftershocks:  Earthquakes Actually 19th Century Aftershocks.  I’m fascinated by all things earth science and started to read.

“Aftershocks happen after a big earthquake because the movement on the fault changed the forces in the earth that act on the fault itself and nearby. Aftershocks go on until the fault recovers.”

In other words, after a large shift, aftershocks are felt as everything around it rearranges itself to accommodate the new state.

What a great analogy for change in organizations!

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14 October 2009 • 7:00 am

The Importance of Pre-Meeting Meetings

I spoke on the phone with someone this morning who has had tremendous success getting leadership buy-in from multiple levels in a large organization. As he shared his story, he reminded me of something that seems like overkill but that contributes to successful change initiatives: having meetings before the meeting.

Having pre-meetings is far different from having post-meetings. Post-meetings happen because not everything that needed to be said came out during the actual meeting, due to fear, mainly. Pre-meetings are held to make sure that what needs to happen in the actual meeting actually happens.

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25 September 2009 • 7:00 am

Four Reasons NOT to Conduct an Employee Survey

Employee surveys are useful tools for understanding the beliefs, attitudes and opinions of an organization as a whole.  Surveys are commonly used in pursuit of change to discover and understand organizational culture, resistance, morale, and a host of other characteristics that can shine the light on opportunities for improvement.

However, not all surveys will improve the situation.  The following are four warning signs that conducting a survey may do more harm than good.

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1 September 2009 • 7:00 am

The Dance of Change

ballroom dance Pictures, Images and PhotosI’ve been thinking about how despite our better intentions, changing organizations is never predictable, and doesn’t perfectly fit into a nice theoretical model the way we wish it would.

As change agents, we frequently Dance in the Moment (a term I learned a few years ago in the CTI coaching program). While we work toward an envisioned future, we can only handle what is right in front of us, which is constantly shifting based on the reactions to the strategies we’re using to try to influence change.

If you think of the process of change as a dance, you realize it’s a partnership between two entities. Even if you haven’t taken ballroom dancing classes (or watched Dancing With the Stars), you probably know that each person in the duo has a specific role: leader and follower.

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6 August 2009 • 7:00 am

How to Get Beyond Leadership Buy-in

It almost goes without saying that an organizational change initiative without proper levels of leadership support is doomed to fail. Perhaps the project will be paid lip service, but it will ultimately either be ignored into oblivion or cut short of its potential with one drop of the axe.

Not only do organizational leaders have the power to make or break your project on their own, but it is impossible to bypass them to change the organization below. Individuals experiencing change will look to those in power for confirmation that they are committed to the new way of doing things. It is under intense scrutiny that leaders are watched to see if their actions match their intentions. If not, the change initiative will be dismissed as “flavor of the month” and not taken seriously.

Amid all this doom and gloom, there is a bright side. You don’t have to settle for the level of leadership support you currently have. As fellow human beings, leaders are capable of being informed and influenced.

Take the following steps to determine how to best garner the support of the most influential people in your organization. more

4 August 2009 • 7:00 am

Make Your Organization Road-Ready

1933dodgeI saw an antique car in a parking lot today. Just quickly browsing on the internet, it looked like an American model from the early 1930’s (like this 1933 Dodge photo I found on carnut.com).

I started to wonder what it would take to make a car like that road-ready based on today’s standards. How much of the car was original, and how much was reconstructed using today’s technology and materials? Had there been any upgrades to the engine or exhaust, and did it have any hidden but modern features such as air conditioning or a CD player? Did it even have seat belts or any other more modern safety features?

When building an existing organization for the future, we can ask ourselves similar questions.

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26 June 2009 • 6:15 am

Planned Obsolescence of Change Initiatives

Sometimes, it can be hard to forget that the goal of any change initiative is to make itself obsolete. You want the change to become part of the day-to-day culture and process of the organization. The processes and attitudes that at first engendered resistance are adopted and incorporated into how the business gets done.

Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight. And you can’t go straight from where you are now to where you want to be. There has to be a journey. The key is to not be sidetracked by the process of change.

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