Change Me, Change Us

Organizational Change Begins With Personal Change

When we think about how to get from HERE to THERE, company’s methods are usually limited to adopting the structures, systems, processes, and practices of best-in-class organizations.  Yet many failed change initiatives (e.g., TQM, BPR) are because of a FLAWED ASSUMPTION: while new behaviors and attitudes are the goal, the best–or only–method for getting there is through influencing non-human factors like organizational structure, work processes, or performance management system.


This flaw draws attention away from a far more powerful assumption–that the best way to influence behavior is for those with the vision to begin behaving differently, to live the vision.

Leaders care enough about the changes that need to occur that they say and do the many things that are needed to influence others and outcomes. The best way to exert this influence is in the conversations we hold. It is in these types of conversations that transformational moments are created and reality is confronted on a personal level, and personal change becomes possible.

What keeps relationships, teams, and organizations stuck is our inability to foster dialogue around a few crucial conversations.

Only when individuals, beginning with leaders, actually talk candidly about behavior that is detracting from their goals–directly, specifically and immediately–can real change occur.

It’s the PEOPLE that matter, not the structure, systems, processes and practices. No commitment to change; no change! Commitment trumps structures, systems, and processes every time!

We can have these transformational moments when we:

  • give honest feedback to teammates
  • reveal people’s stories that excuses them from acting responsibly
  • help people see the choices they have made and the impact


Staying “stuck” in old ways demands collusion and co-dependency. Everyone has to turn his or her back if people are to be allowed to continue their individual and collective dysfunction. In this way, people collude to not just allow mediocrity, but to create a self-sealing pattern that fights against improvement…fights against real change.

“It takes a village to produce continued mediocrity”

The only path that breaks old patterns is one that confronts them.This takes courageous leaders, starting at the top, to step up to the challenge of holding crucial conversations to help others see their roles in producing the results they want and to help them understand that new results require new behavior on their parts.


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