Oh No, Not Again!

Are you frustrated about change? It’s a huge challenge. Earlier this week, I gave you the 10 Reasons Why Org Changes Fail. These aren’t meant to discourage you, but to create an awareness and prepare you to dramatically improve your change skills. For positive change of culture and climate, specific skills are required to ensure sustainability.

Stop wasting energy on superficial change initiatives that temporarily cure climate only!

To have sustainable change that sticks, there is no shortcut and no blue pill. You and your people must put in work, effort and sweat equity and it takes time. Our methodology gives you three entry points. Regardless of where you jump in, you will come to the conclusion it will be fully implemented with expected outcomes within 36-months.

Plan and Execute Predictably

Organizations have learned to design and plan, instead of execution of growth and performance. Understandable as a planning and organizing point of view. All well and good in a linear model of a predictable world. It’s not necessarily helpful through a change processes. It’s not point-to-point, A to B. The change process – the journey – we change the scenery by moving forward. While we can strageically frame downstream, neither you nor I can determine and define with certainty what phase 3, stage 5 will look like when you are at phase 1, stage 1. Things will occcur. We can develop a litany of contingencies and mitigating responses, but you may not have the capability to execute successfully for every potential outcome. You’ll have to respond as they happen – flexible, nimble and adaptable –  keeping your desired destination in focus to stay the course.

What works for one organization, may not yield results in another, even when both organizations seem similar. No two people are identical, nor are two teams or workgroups alike. People and systems of people are unpredictable. You have to know your people well and thoroughly comprehend the situation to discover efficiencies that will work. We personalize the best practices and theories with you.

Infatuated with Abstract Generalizations

Here’s the dichotomoy I see all too often. Organizations do not look at palpable specifics. Some of you seem to adore abstract values and spreadsheets. Here’s a major factor why ‘this stuff doesn’t stick’. Too many projects tend to use abstract values and generic ambitions everyone can agree with. For example, who wouldn’t want integrity at work? When’s the last time you led the operational execution of a value into specific behaviors that led to a change? It’s one step in the process and it must be carried through the entire  structure and fabric of the company.

Here’s the dilemma that comes with change. What does integrity mean when your biggest client asks to change the date on invoices to elevate their quarter results – or will you look for another vendor? The question to ask is this – how far are you willing to go?

Specifics matter – as does behaviors! Sure the balance sheet looks solid and growth and performance are trending favorably. Walk through the hallways and you see the disconnect of discontent. You can cut the tension with a spoon. I’ve been a part of dozens of M&A engagements on every side and frankly sensory information is vital.

Rational Logic Isn’t

We are humans with the hope of working with a group of people who have a common set of values and beliefs. Likewise, organizations overvalue the rational part we bring to work and disregard the emotional and spiritual parts. You’re people aren’t robots – as the organization-as-machine mindset would like to see. We have motives, hopes, dreams, fears and dislikes. Organizational change means working with the whole person, whether you like it or not. The rational approach may look straightforward, but group dynamics, the emotional responses, the politics and/or a lack of purpose can jeopardize what you’re trying to accomplish.

Your Managers Are Nose-deaf

Many managers don’t ‘see’ behaviors. They’re not trained as therapists or social workers. It is essential to see what’s happening in the room to respond effectively and to create conditions for successful sustainable change. Here’s some pre-work for you. Go into any meeting next week and notice the behaviors for starters. Do those behaviors support an environment that influences and impacts growth and improved performance? When you’re going through any change, are the adopted behaviors advocating the expected change? For example, do you say we want an innovative culture, yet we interrupt people who debate our ideas or question our assumptions?

Down Your Throat

Unfortunately, organizations still use some force-fed approach – a guarantee for failure or a disappointing change project. The top-down show-it-down-your-throat mindset where ‘boss’ tells you what to change and do. If you don’t do it – my way (which is perceived as the only way) – you will be forced by punishments and rewards. Stop it! Just stop! What worked three decades ago, won’t and isn’t working today – so stop!

If you want sustainable change, you must engage people and develop the change with them, not for them. I can’t force you to change and you can’t force your people to change.

I can’t make you trust me!

The only person you can change is yourself. You may need to change your preferred change management method from telling to asking. Ask them! What do you want and need? What would solve this challenge? What are you willing to contribute to this change?

See if you recognize any of these:

It’s Too Much

Organizations do too many projects at the same time – people are exhausted, and they can’t put in any consistent effort for the current change project. Always check the timing and the expected scope of the project.

Quick’n Dirty

This is where organizations fall off the non-linear boat. Organizations want big results with minimum effort and spend. You’re playing to NOT lose the game. You’re NOT playing to win. Your thinking and reliance of external data and facts is what put you where you are. C’mon man! or, wo’man.

Expected results cannot be sustained from a town hall, a newsletter or a live-stream speech – who sells you on these crap ideas. Change is WORK! It takes continuous effort and it’s like growing any crop – you cannot and you will not RUSH the PROCESS! It takes a commitment for one and consistent energy and attention and executive fortitude to WIN! It doesn’t happen if you ‘shift the matrix’ going from one day with 100 people in a room compared to 10 days with ten people in a room. It takes you, as one person, at a time to change some and not all of their beliefs and behaviors. And, to practice and integrate those behaviors until they’re sustained habits…and this is how we NOW get work done.

If you want to go fast – go it alone and criticize the laggards behind you.

If you’re truly serious about changing your climate and your culture, then the model that has consistently worked for our clients has been to build small groups and small ‘bands of brothers’ YOU can lead and support. Never again will I put more people in a room and spend 4 hours instead of 8 per team. In the movie, Tommie Boy, Chris Farley went on the road selling brake pads and finally relaxed enough to answer the question about ‘guarantees.’ He said, ‘I can give you a guarantee and slap a label on a box…but lemme ask you did you stick your head up a bull’s ass or would you rather just take the butchers word for it?’

Do you ever ask a surgeon to give you a 15-minute surgery to save time and money?

Influencing change that sticks is like a 100-year old oak tree. It’s roots are deep and wide. That’s how we get it done and that’s our guarantee! Check out the list below for a preview:

Bottom-up & Inclusive. Engage everyone. Personal and collective change concurrently.
Focused. On specific, daily behaviors, perceptions and habits.

Unsuccessful change is like laying sod on asphalt, spreading seeds on a rockpile.

Top-down & Exclusive. The masters of the universe decide and tell everyone what to do
Imperson & Analytical. Focus on procedures and processes, numbers and plans vs. people.
Divided. Generic, abstract values and concepts that don’t translate to behaviors and reality.
Predictable. Your expert mindset with leader-engineers and rational robot-employees.

The prevalent mechanical way of thinking is your root cause.

Conventional wisdom is more outdated than ever before. You’re wasting precious time, people, money and energy.

Do you like reading The Culture Whisperer? Check out my eBook: 7 Steps to Become an Elegant Leader with Voltage. This working eBook holds space for you to really go deep into the leader you are and the leader to be uncovered. Take your best next move and get your excerpt here! If you want to know more about Elegant Leadership, here’s the definitive roadmap to long-term sustainble personal and professional success.

Would you like to have a no strings conversation? Call me +1 205-482-2177. Feel free to email

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