Category Archives: Change

3 Things for the New Year

3 Things for the New Year

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

Next year will be different, but we don’t know how it will be different. All we know is that it will be different.

Some things will be the same and some will be different. The trouble is that we won’t know which is which until we do. We can speculate on how it will be different, but the Universe doesn’t care about our speculation.

Sure, it can be helpful to think about how things may go, but as long as we hold on to the may-ness of our speculations. And we don’t know when we’ll know.

We’ll know when we know, but no sooner. Even when the Operating Plan declares the hardest of hard dates, the Universe sets the learning schedule on its own terms, and it doesn’t care about our arbitrary timelines.

What to do?

Step 1: Try Three New Things

Choose things that are interesting and try them. Try to try them in parallel as they may interact and inform each other. Before you start, define what success looks like and what you’ll do if they’re successful and if they’re not.

Defining the follow-on actions will help you keep the scope small. For things that work out, you’ll struggle to allocate resources for the next stages, so start small. And if things don’t work out, you’ll want to say that the projects consumed little resources and learned a lot.

Keep things small. And if that doesn’t work, keep them smaller.

Step 2: Rinse and Repeat

I wish you a happy and safe New Year.

And thanks for reading.

Image credit: Pexels

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Hard Facts Are a Hard Thing

Hard Facts Are a Hard Thing

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

In 1977, Ken Olsen, the founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation, reportedly said, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” It was an amazingly foolish thing to say and, ever since, observers have pointed to Olsen’s comment to show how supposed experts can be wildly wrong.

The problem is that Olsen was misquoted. In fact, his company was actually in the business of selling personal computers and he had one in his own home. This happens more often than you would think. Other famous quotes, such IBM CEO Thomas Watson predicting that there would be a global market for only five computers, are similarly false.

There is great fun in bashing experts, which is why so many inaccurate quotes get repeated so often. If the experts are always getting it wrong, then we are liberated from the constraints of expertise and the burden of evidence. That’s the hard thing about hard facts. They can be so elusive that it’s easy to believe doubt their existence. Yet they do exist and they matter.

The Search for Absolute Truth

In the early 20th century, science and technology emerged as a rising force in western society. The new wonders of electricity, automobiles and telecommunication were quickly shaping how people lived, worked and thought. Empirical verification, rather than theoretical musing, became the standard by which ideas were measured.

It was against this backdrop that Moritz Schlick formed the Vienna Circle, which became the center of the logical positivist movement and aimed to bring a more scientific approach to human thought. Throughout the 20’s and 30’s, the movement spread and became a symbol of the new technological age.

At the core of logical positivism was Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theory of atomic facts, the idea the world could be reduced to a set of statements that could be verified as being true or false—no opinions or speculation allowed. Those statements, in turn, would be governed by a set of logical algorithms which would determine the validity of any argument.

It was, to the great thinkers of the day, both a grand vision and an exciting challenge. If all facts could be absolutely verified, then we could confirm ideas with absolute certainty. Unfortunately, the effort would fail so miserably that Wittgenstein himself would eventually disown it. Instead of building a world of verifiable objective reality, we would be plunged into uncertainty.

The Fall of Logic and the Rise of Uncertainty

Ironically, while the logical positivist movement was gaining steam, two seemingly obscure developments threatened to undermine it. The first was a hole at the center of logic called Russell’s Paradox, which suggested that some statements could be both true and false. The second was quantum mechanics, a strange new science in which even physical objects could defy measurement.

Yet the battle for absolute facts would not go down without a fight. David Hilbert, the most revered mathematician of the time, created a program to resolve Russell’s Paradox. Albert Einstein, for his part, argued passionately against the probabilistic quantum universe, declaring that “God does not play dice with the universe.”

Alas, it was all for naught. Kurt Gödel would prove that every logical system is flawed with contradictions. Alan Turing would show that all numbers are not computable. The Einstein-Bohr debates would be resolved in Bohr’s favor, destroying Einstein’s vision of an objective physical reality and leaving us with an uncertain universe.

These developments weren’t all bad. In fact, they were what made modern computing possible. However, they left us with an uncomfortable uncertainty. Facts could no longer be absolutely verifiable, but would stand until they could be falsified. We could, after thorough testing, become highly confident in our facts, but never completely sure.

Science, Truth and Falsifiability

In Richard Feynman’s 1974 commencement speech at Cal-Tech, he recounted going to a new-age resort where people were learning reflexology. A man was sitting in a hot tub rubbing a woman’s big toe and asking the instructor, “Is this the pituitary?” Unable to contain himself, the great physicist blurted out, “You’re a hell of a long way from the pituitary, man.”

His point was that it’s relatively easy to make something appear “scientific” by, for example, having people wear white coats or present charts and tables, but that doesn’t make it real science. True science is testable and falsifiable. You can’t merely state what you believe to be true, but must give others a means to test it and prove you wrong.

This is important because it’s very easy for things to look like the truth, but actually be false. That’s why we need to be careful, especially when we believe something to be true. The burden is even greater when it is something that “everybody knows.” That’s when we need to redouble our efforts, dig in and make sure we verify our facts.

“We’ve learned from experience that the truth will out,” Feynman said. “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.” Truth doesn’t reveal itself so easily, but it’s out there and we can find it if we are willing to make the effort.

The Lie of a Post-Truth World

Writing a non-fiction book can be a grueling process. You not only need to gather hundreds of pages of facts and mold them into a coherent story that interests the reader, but also to verify that those facts are true. For both of my books, Mapping Innovation and Cascades, I spent countless hours consulting sources and sending out fact checks.

Still, I lived in fear knowing that whatever I put on the page would permanently be there for anyone to discredit. In fact, I would later find two minor inaccuracies in my first book (ironically, both had been checked with primary sources). These were not, to be sure, material errors, but they wounded me. I’m sure, in time, others will be uncovered as well.

Yet I don’t believe that those errors diminish the validity of the greater project. In fact, I think that those imperfections serve to underline the larger truth that the search for knowledge is always a journey, elusive and just out of reach. We can struggle for a lifetime to grasp even a small part of it, but to shake free even a few seemingly insignificant nuggets can be a gift.

Yet all too often people value belief more than facts. That’s why they repeat things that aren’t factual, because they believe they point to some deeper truth that defy facts in evidence. Yet that is not truth. It is just a way of fooling yourself and, if you’re persuasive, fooling others as well. Still, as Feynman pointed out long ago, “We’ve learned from experience that the truth will out.”

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Did You Know That I’m a Business Ninja?

Neither did I!

At least until I appeared recently on the Business Ninja podcast hosted by WriteForMe, a modern content marketing company that helps their clients achieve their growth goals by telling their story across the Internet and social media.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Lippman for the podcast, which is available as a traditional audio podcast (on this link or via your favorite podcast provider) or as a YouTube video which I’ve embedded right here:

In this conversation we explore how the Human-Centered Change methodology and the Change Planning Toolkit came to be, and how the collection of more than seventy (70+) tools was designed to be used visually, collaboratively either in person using posters and sticky notes, or virtually using digital sticky notes in a tool like Miro, Mural, LucidSpark, or Microsoft Whiteboard.

Did You Know That I'm a Business Ninja?Don’t plan a change effort by starting with a blank Project Charter but instead get everyone literally all the same page for change. Using the Change Planning Toolkit employs more modern ways of working instead of legacy methods and by design will lead to increased buy-in, alignment and momentum towards your change or transformation goals.

We also explore the topic of change resistance and how to overcome it, and some of the tools that are part of the human-centered change methodology that help you in this quest. And, my conversation with Andrew also touches on the next set of tools that I’ll be introducing soon, which come together to form the FutureHacking™ methodology.

Finally, the podcast also dives into my origin story, just in case you’re curious who this Braden Kelley guy is and the journey that has brought me to you!

I hope you’ll check out the podcast and as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to add them as a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you with your challenge!

Once again here are the links:

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Getting Through Grief Consciously

Getting Through Grief Consciously

GUEST POST from Tullio Siragusa

Life brings opportunities, happiness, and skyrocketing success when we decide to live it fully and without fear. Along with that, we will face challenging times that will cause us to grieve.

Globally, we are all facing a form of grief right now. Be it the loss of a loved one to Covid-19, or the loss of our free way of life — grief is all around us. Before this pandemic that we are experiencing collectively, you may have suffered the loss of loved ones for other reasons, or you may have gone through a divorce, a breakup, the loss of a friendship, or the loss of a pet.

There are many forms of loss. You can experience loss of money, your job, reputation, your faith, health, and even loss of hope.

“Loss is a normal part of life and grief is part of the healing process if we learn to face it with grace.”

To get through grief with grace it’s ideal to face it with the help of others, but for the most part you have to get through it alone. We are privileged to have family, friends, spiritual direction, therapists, life coaches and other support groups around us, but healing grief is essentially between you and yourself.

“In time of grief you need to embrace yourself, love yourself and cure yourself.”

It is easier said than done, but there is truly no other way around grief than to face it fully on your own, courageously, vulnerability and with grace.

Importance of Grace

We all, at some point in our lives, have felt as if we reached our breaking point, but eventually we wake up to the desire to not be broken for rest of our lives. For instance, while going through hard times we are not always acting our best selves. Harsh words are often exchanged with others out of the need to “dump the pain” on someone else to feel some sense of relief. After doing that, we often feel guilty about it and apologize.

It is not bad to apologize, but losing your temper and saying things you normally would not say can not only tarnish your image, but can scar someone badly enough that you lose their trust for a long time, and sometimes forever.

“When you manage your emotions while grieving, you hold on to grace, and grace is the energy of mercy for yourself and others.”

Our personality gets groomed with every pain we overcome. If we walk through life’s journey with a mindset that everything happens for a reason, and everything happens to teach us something new, then every challenging time becomes an opportunity to add strong positive and graceful traits to our personality.

The people who learn to manage their emotions during the toughest times without falling apart, add an unprecedented trait of composure, grace and an emotionally intelligent personality.

How to Get Through Grief with Grace

First, you need to fully acknowledge that grief is normal. It is not a disease. It is not a sign of weakness, or lack of emotional intelligence.

Our human body and mind is built to respond to situations. When we lose something, or someone precious, grief comes knocking. Trying to avoid that grief is not the right way to get over it. The best way to deal with grief is to embrace it and get through it.

One of my spiritual teachers used to say: “The only way to get to the other side of hell, is one more step deeper into it, that is where the exit door is waiting for you.”

“In order to grieve with grace, we need the courage to face loss as normal as anything else we experience in life.”

I know people who have avoided facing the loss of their loved ones for years, but ultimately, they had to go through it and face it. Grief will come for you no matter what, so why postpone it?

The foremost thing to handle any tough situation is to develop gratitude for all those blessed situations in your life that make it beautiful. No doubt, feeling gratitude while grieving is almost impossible, but if you develop a habit of being grateful on a daily basis, it becomes possible to feel it even during tough times.

If you are going through grief, find a peaceful place away from all those people reminding you of the loss, and try to connect to any happy moment you can recall. Feel that moment in your heart. Hold on to that feeling as long as possible and write it down later.

Whenever you feel broken, be mindful of such moments. You will soon be able to tap to a comparatively happy person inside you, anytime you need to.

“The way to develop your grace muscle is to live daily with gratitude and make a mental library of the happy moments in your life that you can borrow against, during difficult times.”

We have been living in a time in history void of pain. We are constantly seeking happiness and running from pain and suffering. Now we are being forced to face pain, suffering, uncertainty, and loss.

There are blessings inherent within loss and suffering. The blessings are always revealed on the other side of grief, and it is always hard to believe that the blessing is happening amidst grief and pain. However, if you look back in your life at the moments that defined you, the moments when you experienced the most Light, the most blessings — it was soon after your darkest hours.

“When we move through the process of grief believing in our ability to grow from the experience, we become more aware of the blessings in disguise that will come out of it.”

A sense of serenity can be achieved through releasing the pressure of the expectations of a set pattern for your life. There comes a moment when it is better to embrace what you can’t change, and develop the courage to strive for what you can.

“Acknowledging your capacities and the difference between what you can and what you can’t control, will make it easier to go through grief.”

What I am talking about is the power of surrendering to what is, instead of holding on to what could have been. For most people, grace is among the most precious trait of their personality and behavior.

If you have lost something or someone precious that is an irreparable loss, it is important to take care of yourself during those testing times. Remember that all chaos comes with an expiration date, and to surrender to the change you need to make to keep moving forward.

Remember the blessings in your life, be grateful for what is, has been, and will be, and be patient with yourself.

NOTE: For all those who have lost loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic and have not been able to properly say goodbye, I wish that their memory be a blessing in your life.

Image credit: Pexels

Originally published at tulliosiragusa.com on April 27, 2020

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Software Isn’t Going to Eat the World

Software Isn't Going to Eat the World

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

In 2011, technology pioneer Marc Andreessen declared that software is eating the world. “With lower start-up costs and a vastly expanded market for online services,” he wrote, “the result is a global economy that for the first time will be fully digitally wired — the dream of every cyber-visionary of the early 1990s, finally delivered, a full generation later.

Yet as Derek Thompson recently pointed out in The Atlantic, the euphoria of Andreessen and his Silicon Valley brethren seems to have been misplaced. Former unicorns like Uber, Lyft, and Peloton have seen their value crash, while WeWork saw its IPO self-destruct. Hardly “the dream of every cyber-visionary.”

The truth is that we still live in a world of atoms, not bits and most of the value is created by making things we live in, wear, eat and ride in. For all of the tech world’s astounding success, it still makes up only a small fraction of the overall economy. So, taking a software centric view, while it has served Silicon Valley well in the past, may be its Achilles heel in the future.

The Silicon Valley Myth

The Silicon Valley way of doing business got its start in 1968, when an investor named Arthur Rock backed executives from Fairchild Semiconductor to start a new company, which would become known as Intel. Unlike back east, where businesses depended on stodgy banks for finance, on the west coast venture capitalists, many of whom were former engineers themselves, would decide which technology companies got funded.

Over the years, a virtuous cycle ensued. Successful tech companies created fabulously wealthy entrepreneurs and executives, who would in turn invest in new ventures. Things shifted into hyperdrive when the company Andreessen founded, Netscape, quadrupled its value on its first day of trading, kicking off the dotcom boom.

While the dotcom bubble would crash in 2000, it wasn’t all based on pixie dust. As the economist W. Brian Arthur explained in Harvard Business Review, while traditional industrial companies were subject to diminishing returns, software companies with negligible marginal costs could achieve increasing returns powered by network effects.

Yet even as real value was being created and fabulous new technology businesses prospered, an underlying myth began to take hold. Rather than treating software business as a special case, many came to believe that the Silicon Valley model could be applied to any business. In other words, that software would eat the world.

The Productivity Paradox (Redux)

One reason that so many outside of Silicon Valley were skeptical of the technology boom for a long time was a longstanding productivity paradox. Although throughout the 1970s and 80s, business investment in computer technology was increasing by more than 20% per year, productivity growth had diminished during the same period.

In the late 90s, however, this trend reversed itself and productivity began to soar. It seemed that Andreessen and his fellow “cyber-visionaries were redeemed. No longer considered outcasts, they became the darlings of corporate America. It appeared that a new day was dawning and the Silicon Valley ethos took hold.

While the dotcom crash deflated the bubble in 2000, the Silicon Valley machine was soon rolling again. Web 2.0 unleashed the social web, smartphones initiated the mobile era and then IBM’s Watson’s defeat of human champions on the game show Jeopardy! heralded a new age of artificial intelligence.

Yet still, we find ourselves in a new productivity paradox. By 2005, productivity growth had disappeared once again and has remained diminished ever since. To paraphrase economist Robert Solow, we see software everywhere except in the productivity statistics.

The Platform Fallacy

Today, pundits are touting a new rosy scenario. They point out that Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Airbnb, the largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Facebook, the most popular media owner, creates no content and so on. The implicit assumption is that it is better to build software that makes matches than to invest in assets.

Yet platform-based businesses have three inherent weaknesses that aren’t always immediately obvious. First, they lack barriers to entry, which makes it difficult to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Second, they tend to create “winner-take-all” markets so for every fabulous success like Facebook, you can have thousands of failures. Finally, rabid competition leads to high costs.

The most important thing to understand about platforms is that they give us access to ecosystems of talent, technology and information and it is in those ecosystems where the greatest potential for value creation lies. That’s why, to become profitable, platform businesses eventually need to invest in real assets.

Consider Amazon: Almost two thirds of Amazon’s profits come from its cloud computing unit, AWS, which provides computing infrastructure for other organizations. More recently, it bought Whole Foods and began opening Amazon Go retail stores. The more that you look, Amazon looks less like a platform and more like a traditional pipeline business.

Reimagining Innovation for a World of Atoms

The truth is that the digital revolution, for all of the excitement and nifty gadgets it has produced, has been somewhat of a disappointment. Since personal computers first became available in the 1970’s we’ve had less than ten years of elevated productivity growth. Compare that to the 50-year boom in productivity created in the wake of electricity and internal combustion and it’s clear that digital technology falls short.

In a sense though, the lack of impact shouldn’t be that surprising. Even at this late stage, information and communication technologies only make up for about 6% of GDP in advanced economies. Clearly, that’s not enough to swallow the world. As we have seen, it’s barely enough to make a dent.

Yet still, there is great potential in the other 94% of the economy and there may be brighter days ahead in using computing technology to drive advancement in the physical world. Exciting new fields, such as synthetic biology and materials science may very well revolutionize industries like manufacturing, healthcare, energy and agriculture.

So, we are now likely embarking on a new era of innovation that will be very different than the digital age. Rather than focused on one technology, concentrated in one geographical area and dominated by a handful of industry giants, it will be widely dispersed and made up of a diverse group of interlocking ecosystems of talent, technology and information.

Make no mistake. The future will not be digital. Instead, we will need to learn how to integrate a diverse set of technologies to reimagine atoms in the physical world.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Make 2023 the Year of Successful Change

Make 2023 the Year of Successful Change

Wow! Exciting news!

Because my book was one of the bestselling titles of 2022, from now until January 30, 2023 you can get a 40% discount on my latest book Charting Change!

OR you can also save on the eBook!

You must go to SpringerLink for this sale on the bestselling titles of 2022:

  • The offer is valid until January 30, 2023
  • Please use TOP2023 at check-out to get your discount on books & eBooks*

Click here and enter the code TOP2023 before checkout

*This offer is valid for English-language Springer, Palgrave, Apress books and eBooks and is redeemable on link.springer.com only. Titles affected by fixed book price laws, forthcoming titles and titles temporarily not available on link.springer.com are excluded from this promotion, as are reference works, handbooks, encyclopedias, subscriptions, or bulk purchases. The currency in which your order will be invoiced depends on the billing address associated with the payment method used, not necessarily your home currency. Regional VAT/tax may apply. Promotional prices may change due to exchange rates. This offer is valid for individual customers only. Booksellers, book distributors, and institutions such as libraries and corporations please visit springernature.com/contact-us. This promotion does not work in combination with other discounts or gift cards.

True Leaders Inspire Freedom

True Leaders Inspire Freedom

GUEST POST from Tullio Siragusa

A baby elephant was tied to a pole at the zoo. For years she tried to break free tugging at the pole by the rope tied around her neck.

She tried and tried and could never break free.

Many years later, she grew to be a very big and powerful elephant. She was still tied to the same pole. She could break free of her bondage so easily now that she had become a big elephant, but her mind conditioning will not allow her. She doesn’t even try.

Much like the elephant in this story, we have been conditioned for a very long time in a work culture that is based on commands and controls. A work culture supported by an education system that was developed for the assembly line, industrial revolution. An educational system that subtly teaches subservience.

From a society’s viewpoint, we have also been part of a narrative for thousands of years that encourages self-sacrifice, for the greater good, which is contrary to our nature as human beings.

Do we have a lot stacked up against us, or do we just have the baby elephant syndrome, and think we can’t break free?

I was in Russia three years ago. Specifically, in Siberia Russia where I met with Tomsk State University students to talk about freedom-based cultures. We talked about shared authority, self-managed teams, equivalence, and leaders versus bosses.

These young men and women were curious, and open, and had many questions. I had just finished talking about the sense of duplicity that is predominant in many people’s lives today.

Having to be one way at the office, and another at home. We talked about how duplicity causes stress, and worse how it does not foster trust among people because it does not encourage authenticity.

Are you the same person at the office, as you are at home? Does your work environment dictate what you should wear at the office? Do you have to show up and leave at a certain time? Do you have to do things you don’t care to do, just to please your boss? Do you compete with your peers, or work as a team? Are you free to speak your mind and offer up suggestions for company improvements?

Today’s work environment based on command and controls, does not foster innovation, or creativity. Today’s work environment demands conformity.

“Today’s work environment wants you to stay a baby elephant for the rest of your life.”

Freedom Cultures

I went on to explain how leaders earn followers because they are willing to serve, and they are willing to be of service.

What’s the difference between serving and being of service?

You can get paid to serve but being of service is a state of being that cannot be purchased. You enjoy being of service because it is part of who you are at your core.

“True authentic leaders are of service, because they desire to serve — it is a calling.”

The difference between a boss and a leader is that of control vs. freedom. One requires you conform to how things are done, the other encourages you to find better ways to do things, to create, to innovate, and to do things on your terms.

Why would companies not embrace freedom?

Fear is the main reason. The other reason is that much like the elephant they just accept things for how they have been, instead of how things could be.

Some of the questions and comments these young men and women asked me were:

  • How do you make the change from a command and control to freedom-based company?
  • How can companies adopt this in countries that don’t encourage free societies?
  • This is one of those big, change the world ideas, how can it be implemented?

The questions left me feeling a sense of hope and excitement that these university students saw the value of what was being presented and started to wonder about how to implement it.

I answered every question truthfully and made myself available for follow up with any of the students. The comment made about “changing the world” stood out for me.

I looked at the young man in the eyes and said to him: “It is someone like you, who will start a company, become the leader of one, and remember this presentation, that will make the change.

Then one of your people will do the same, and the trickled down effect of that will change a society, a country, and the world.”

Some of us are on a mission to start this change, to spark it, to inspire it, with a Radical Purpose Movement to help organizations embrace freedom and equivalence.

My personal mission and responsibility, as the author of the upcoming book “Emotionally Aware Leadership” is to stop the spread of a worldwide epidemic that fosters co-dependency and keeps us in a mind-set prison of not being able to break free of controls.

“The most pervasive disease that plagues all of humanity is low self-worth.”

True leaders operate from a high level of self-worth that is inner directed, not based on external outcomes, or input. Those leaders encourage others to believe in themselves and to grow.

Want to change the world?

You must break free of the limiting mindset conditioning. You can’t be a giant elephant and act like you are still a baby tied to a pole. More importantly as a leader you want to inspire freedom in your organization, at home, and in the world.

Freedom is synonyms with happiness.

Tomsk State University presentation about freedom-centered cultures:

Image credit: Pexels

Originally published at tulliosiragusa.com on April 29, 2019

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Engaging Consciousness in the Emotional Work of Organizational Transformation

Engaging Consciousness in the Emotional Work of Organizational Transformation

GUEST POST from Douglas Ferguson

Organizational transformation is a uniquely human endeavor. Navigating the journey to change starts with understanding the employee experience and creating space for emotional safety in the workplace.

According to organizational behavior expert Sigal Barsade, emotions are the key to encouraging higher performance and achievement. Her research shows that emotions influence employees’ wellness in addition to driving productivity. Thus, to influence organizational transformation, leaders need to take a closer look at how emotions factor into the employee experience.

In this article, we’ll discuss emotions and their role to change management in the following topics:

  • The Employee Experience
  • The Transformation Timeline
  • Emotions at Work
  • An Engagement of Consciousness

The Employee Experience

Without a keen understanding of the employee experience and your team’s emotional state, sustainable change is more fantasy than reality. In your efforts to initiate organizational transformation, consider first transforming employees’ work experience to promote a sense of emotional well-being.

In shaping the employee experience, it’s critical to understand employees’ expectations for emotional safety in the workplace. As most employees value their mental health above all else, they expect their working environment to promote trust, purpose, and social cohesion. Moreover, they want to know that leadership recognizes their contributions and that there is room and opportunity for sustainable growth and development. Similarly, team members want their personal sense of purpose to be in alignment with the organization.

With increased emotional wellness comes higher employee engagement and a more motivated workforce. With a stronger sense of emotional safety in the employee experience, leaders will find that their team is prepared to engage in organizational transformation.

The Transformation Timeline

 “You have to attract people… you can’t bribe or coerce transformation.”
Greg Satell

Once you prioritize the employee experience in your change strategy, you can begin the organizational transformation timeline. Organizational transformation is a process that happens through gradual change, resulting in sustainable behavioral transformation. This type of comprehensive change can only occur through a series of repeatable actions and innovative systems, not one-time initiatives.

Take steps towards sustainable change with the following phases of organizational transformation:

Phase One: Fight Resistance

To sustain organizational transformation, leaders and team members need a solid strategy for managing resistance. Resistance often stems from the discomfort that change brings.

To move beyond this fear, leaders should explain that while transformation involves many unknown factors, the forthcoming change will bring overall positive results. By showing team members how they will benefit from a change, leaders can overcome resistance and encourage their employees to support the initiative.

  • Freezing of Behaviors
    In Lewis’ Change management model, change is broken into three steps: freezing, changing, and refreezing.

    In the first phase of organizational transformation, the “unfreezing” process will occur. This involves recognizing one’s need for change and defining new behaviors that replace the former methods and practices. During this very fluid phase, team members and leaders identify and share data that supports a need for change.

Phase Two: Facilitate Adjustment

After strategically managing resistance to change, the next phase in achieving organizational transformation is facilitating the adjustment period. During this phase, team members are no longer actively resisting transformation but still need time to adjust to the changes the new initiative brings.

In the adjustment period, changes are discussed in detail, and team members are invited to provide criticism and feedback. This phase allows team members to personalize the change as they recognize their individual roles in achieving organizational transformation. In a successful adjustment phase, every team member is aligned with the necessary actions for the next phase: acceptance.

  • Changing

Within the adjustment phase of organizational transformation, team leaders will actively change their old habits. At this time, all stakeholders work to replace undesired behaviors with desired ones.

Phase Three: Foster Acceptance

In phase three of the organizational transformation timeline, you’ll lead your team into the acceptance phase with a solid vision and strategy for sustaining the changes over time.

  • Refreezing

In the foster acceptance phase, refreezing occurs when changes are stabilized and become the new normal. As the organizational transformation nears completion, team members are in the best position to cement these changes by ensuring a legacy of growth.

Phase Four: Ensure Consistency

The fourth phase of organizational transformation establishes consistent and sustainable growth. Consistency is a direct result of repeatable actions from strategic processes, intentional routines, and innovative practices that allow each team member to enact changes that carry into the future continuously.

Emotions at Work

A clear strategy for long-term change is only a roadmap to organizational transformation. After setting the stage for change to take place, leaders must engage in the emotional work of transformation.

Change takes emotional labor, requiring an environment that is uniquely attuned to address employees’ emotional needs. In the workplace, emotions can be an accelerator for transformation. To engage emotions in the most effective way, leaders can create conditions that ensure psychological safety.

Research shows that to solidify organizational transformation, we must mitigate emotional harm and, in doing so, foster emotional commitment from team members. While emotional harm isn’t tangible, it presents itself in certain ways that can create anxiety, fear, and similar negative responses in employees. Essentially, working to facilitate positive experiences alongside potentially negative emotions is the key to harnessing a safe space for transformation. Leaders that are able to manage the effects of stress successfully can transform a high-pressure environment into a space for high performance.

Sonja Kresojevic, the founder of Spinnaker Co. and a proponent of using agile principles for organizational change, firmly believes that true transformation is a product of an empowered organization. According to  Kresojevic, the more we humanize change through emotional labor and healing initiatives, the more we are able to influence others and start shifting organizations in the direction of transformation.

Leaders can promote healing and psychological safety by allowing employees to share their thoughts and criticisms freely and without retribution. With an increase in support and emotional safety, your team will be ripe for organizational transformation.

An Engagement of Consciousness

An organization’s penchant for the unknown is essential in driving organizational transformation. In your efforts to humanize change management, it’s crucial to understand and accept human nature’s role in experiencing change. In understanding our natural inclinations toward risk aversion in the face of change, we can work to replace this avoidance of uncertainty with curiosity, vulnerability, and authenticity in the workplace. This approach to change management will transform the way we work, the risks we take, and our willingness to accept change.

Much of organizational transformation is dependent on accepting uncertainty: that the future is unclear and we don’t have all the answers. The real secret to driving organizational transformation is empowering people to develop and accept new ideas on their own. Managing the uncertainty of organizational transformation takes time, allowing for the unfreezing, changing, and refreezing process to take place as stakeholders consider their options.

Rob Evans, Master Coach of Collaboration and Transformation Designer, shares that giving people a chance to court the unknown, is essential for change acceptance as it allows new ideas to seep in and take hold.

Practicing patience during the change management process allows for “engagement in the full consciousness,” in which leaders can kickstart the organizational transformation timeline and encourage employees to buy into the change. By pairing deliberate strategy with time for authentic employee engagement, radical transformation is an inevitability.

Ready to start the journey to organizational transformation? Consider a new approach to the employee experience. Voltage Control can help you and your team define the best path for your organization’s transformation. 

This article originally appeared at VoltageControl.com

Image credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022

Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022

2021 marked the re-birth of my original Blogging Innovation blog as a new blog called Human-Centered Change and Innovation.

Many of you may know that Blogging Innovation grew into the world’s most popular global innovation community before being re-branded as InnovationExcellence.com and being ultimately sold to DisruptorLeague.com.

Thanks to an outpouring of support I’ve ignited the fuse of this new multiple author blog around the topics of human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design.

I feel blessed that the global innovation and change professional communities have responded with a growing roster of contributing authors and more than 17,000 newsletter subscribers.

To celebrate we’ve pulled together the Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022 from our archive of over 1,000 articles on these topics.

We do some other rankings too.

We just published the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022 and as the volume of this blog has grown we have brought back our monthly article ranking to complement this annual one.

But enough delay, here are the 100 most popular innovation and transformation posts of 2022.

Did your favorite make the cut?

1. A Guide to Organizing Innovation – by Jesse Nieminen

2. The Education Business Model Canvas – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

3. 50 Cognitive Biases Reference – Free Download – by Braden Kelley

4. Why Innovation Heroes Indicate a Dysfunctional Organization – by Steve Blank

5. The One Movie All Electric Car Designers Should Watch – by Braden Kelley

6. Don’t Forget to Innovate the Customer Experience – by Braden Kelley

7. What Latest Research Reveals About Innovation Management Software – by Jesse Nieminen

8. Is Now the Time to Finally End Our Culture of Disposability? – by Braden Kelley

9. Free Innovation Maturity Assessment – by Braden Kelley

10. Cognitive Bandwidth – Staying Innovative in ‘Interesting’ Times – by Pete Foley

11. Is Digital Different? – by John Bessant

12. Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021 – Curated by Braden Kelley

13. Can We Innovate Like Elon Musk? – by Pete Foley

14. Why Amazon Wants to Sell You Robots – by Shep Hyken

15. Free Human-Centered Change Tools – by Braden Kelley

16. What is Human-Centered Change? – by Braden Kelley

17. Not Invented Here – by John Bessant

18. Top Five Reasons Customers Don’t Return – by Shep Hyken

19. Visual Project Charter™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) and JPG for Online Whiteboarding – by Braden Kelley

20. Nine Innovation Roles – by Braden Kelley

21. How Consensus Kills Innovation – by Greg Satell

22. Why So Much Innoflation? – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

23. ACMP Standard for Change Management® Visualization – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – Association of Change Management Professionals – by Braden Kelley

24. 12 Reasons to Write Your Own Letter of Recommendation – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

25. The Five Keys to Successful Change – by Braden Kelley

26. Innovation Theater – How to Fake It ‘Till You Make It – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

27. Five Immutable Laws of Change – by Greg Satell

28. How to Free Ourselves of Conspiracy Theories – by Greg Satell

29. An Innovation Action Plan for the New CTO – by Steve Blank

30. How to Write a Failure Resume – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.


Build a common language of innovation on your team


31. Entrepreneurs Must Think Like a Change Leader – by Braden Kelley

32. No Regret Decisions: The First Steps of Leading through Hyper-Change – by Phil Buckley

33. Parallels Between the 1920’s and Today Are Frightening – by Greg Satell

34. Technology Not Always the Key to Innovation – by Braden Kelley

35. The Era of Moving Fast and Breaking Things is Over – by Greg Satell

36. A Startup’s Guide to Marketing Communications – by Steve Blank

37. You Must Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable – by Janet Sernack

38. Four Key Attributes of Transformational Leaders – by Greg Satell

39. We Were Wrong About What Drove the 21st Century – by Greg Satell

40. Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire – by Braden Kelley

41. Now is the Time to Design Cost Out of Our Products – by Mike Shipulski

42. Why Good Ideas Fail – by Greg Satell

43. Five Myths That Kill Change and Transformation – by Greg Satell

44. 600 Free Innovation, Transformation and Design Quote Slides – Curated by Braden Kelley

45. FutureHacking – by Braden Kelley

46. Innovation Requires Constraints – by Greg Satell

47. The Experiment Canvas™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – by Braden Kelley

48. The Pyramid of Results, Motivation and Ability – by Braden Kelley

49. Four Paradigm Shifts Defining Our Next Decade – by Greg Satell

50. Why Most Corporate Mindset Programs Are a Waste of Time – by Alain Thys


Accelerate your change and transformation success


51. Impact of Cultural Differences on Innovation – by Jesse Nieminen

52. 600+ Downloadable Quote Posters – Curated by Braden Kelley

53. The Four Secrets of Innovation Implementation – by Shilpi Kumar

54. What Entrepreneurship Education Really Teaches Us – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

55. Reset and Reconnect in a Chaotic World – by Janet Sernack

56. You Can’t Innovate Without This One Thing – by Robyn Bolton

57. Why Change Must Be Built on Common Ground – by Greg Satell

58. Four Innovation Ecosystem Building Blocks – by Greg Satell

59. Problem Seeking 101 – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

60. Taking Personal Responsibility – Back to Leadership Basics – by Janet Sernack

61. The Lost Tribe of Medicine – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

62. Invest Yourself in All That You Do – by Douglas Ferguson

63. Bureaucracy and Politics versus Innovation – by Braden Kelley

64. Dare to Think Differently – by Janet Sernack

65. Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Reality – by Braden Kelley

66. Innovation vs. Invention vs. Creativity – by Braden Kelley

67. Building a Learn It All Culture – by Braden Kelley

68. Real Change Requires a Majority – by Greg Satell

69. Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit – by Braden Kelley

70. Silicon Valley Has Become a Doomsday Machine – by Greg Satell

71. Three Steps to Digital and AI Transformation – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

72. We need MD/MBEs not MD/MBAs – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

73. What You Must Know Before Leading a Design Thinking Workshop – by Douglas Ferguson

74. New Skills Needed for a New Era of Innovation – by Greg Satell

75. The Leader’s Guide to Making Innovation Happen – by Jesse Nieminen

76. Marriott’s Approach to Customer Service – by Shep Hyken

77. Flaws in the Crawl Walk Run Methodology – by Braden Kelley

78. Disrupt Yourself, Your Team and Your Organization – by Janet Sernack

79. Why Stupid Questions Are Important to Innovation – by Greg Satell

80. Breaking the Iceberg of Company Culture – by Douglas Ferguson


Get the Change Planning Toolkit


81. A Brave Post-Coronavirus New World – by Greg Satell

82. What Can Leaders Do to Have More Innovative Teams? – by Diana Porumboiu

83. Mentors Advise and Sponsors Invest – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

84. Increasing Organizational Agility – by Braden Kelley

85. Should You Have a Department of Artificial Intelligence? – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

86. This 9-Box Grid Can Help Grow Your Best Future Talent – by Soren Kaplan

87. Creating Employee Connection Innovations in the HR, People & Culture Space – by Chris Rollins

88. Developing 21st-Century Leader and Team Superpowers – by Janet Sernack

89. Accelerate Your Mission – by Brian Miller

90. How the Customer in 9C Saved Continental Airlines from Bankruptcy – by Howard Tiersky

91. How to Effectively Manage Remotely – by Douglas Ferguson

92. Leading a Culture of Innovation from Any Seat – by Patricia Salamone

93. Bring Newness to Corporate Learning with Gamification – by Janet Sernack

94. Selling to Generation Z – by Shep Hyken

95. Importance of Measuring Your Organization’s Innovation Maturity – by Braden Kelley

96. Innovation Champions and Pilot Partners from Outside In – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

97. Transformation Insights – by Bruce Fairley

98. Teaching Old Fish New Tricks – by Braden Kelley

99. Innovating Through Adversity and Constraints – by Janet Sernack

100. It is Easier to Change People than to Change People – by Annette Franz

Curious which article just missed the cut? Well, here it is just for fun:

101. Chance to Help Make Futurism and Foresight Accessible – by Braden Kelley

These are the Top 100 innovation and transformation articles of 2022 based on the number of page views. If your favorite Human-Centered Change & Innovation article didn’t make the cut, then send a tweet to @innovate and maybe we’ll consider doing a People’s Choice List for 2022.

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 1-6 new articles every week focused on human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook feed or on Twitter or LinkedIn too!

Editor’s Note: Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all the innovation & transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have a valuable insight to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, contact us.

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of December 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of December 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are December’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Forbidden Truth About Innovation — by Robyn Bolton
  2. A Letter to Innovation Santa — by John Bessant
  3. Preserving Ecosystems as an Innovation Superpower — by Pete Foley
  4. What is a Chief Innovation Officer? — by Art Inteligencia
  5. If You Can Be One Thing – Be Effective — by Mike Shipulski
  6. How to Drive Fear Out of Innovation — by Teresa Spangler
  7. 3 Steps to Find the Horse’s A** In Your Company (and Create Space for Innovation) — by Robyn Bolton
  8. Six Ways to Stop Gen-Z from Quiet Quitting — by Shep Hyken
  9. Overcoming the Top 3 Barriers to Customer-Centricity — by Alain Thys
  10. Designing Innovation – Accelerating Creativity via Innovation Strategy — by Douglas Ferguson

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in November that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last three years:

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.