Tag Archives: eight change mindsets

Entrepreneurs Must Think Like a Change Leader

Entrepreneurs Must Think Like a Change Leader

Some entrepreneurs start a business because they want to be their own boss doing something they understand. But many startup entrepreneurs start a business because they want to change something, to deliver more value for customers than existing solutions, to disrupt an industry, to become a unicorn, etc. Entrepreneurs like this will need to become masters of change.

You have a great idea.

And you’re hoping to launch a business and change the world, making a dollar or two along the way.

Does this describe you?

If so, you will need to know how to build and operate a business. You will need to be able to profitably manufacture and sell your product and/or service. But you will also need to be really good at something that many people don’t think about when they’re creating a startup.

You must become good at leading change because you are going to be asking people to change their behavior, and people don’t do this easily and may even resist.

But it is possible to understand and harness the Eight Change Mindsets™ that cause people to choose change. These include:

  1. Mover ’n’ Shaker: give these people the chance to be first
  2. Thrill Seeker: these people like to try new things and experiment
  3. Mission-Driven: these people need reasons to believe
  4. Action-Oriented: these people just want to know what needs to be done
  5. Expert-Minded: teach these people how to do it, and they will seek mastery
  6. Reward-Hungry: these people want recognition for adopting the change
  7. Team Player: these people are happy to help if you show them why the change will be helpful
  8. Teacher: show these people how to get others to choose change

Getting people to choose change is important because you’ll be asking people to abandon their existing solution to adopt yours – even if it is the do-nothing solution. This is not easy because people get comfortable using their existing solution and will be uncomfortable with the idea of doing something different.

Eight Change Mindsets to Harness for Success

If you read through this list and imagine what might happen if you haven’t addressed these mindsets in your business plan, you should quickly find yourself with eight potential explanations for why people might resist your new product or service and start having ideas about how to create initiatives to leverage them to overcome potential resistance.

When we break out the trap of thinking about all customers as the same or out of demographic segmentation traps we can start to see our potential customers as people and to identify their different motivations that will determine whether our business is a raging success or a humbling failure.

This is of course assuming that you’ve leveraged my Innovation is All About Value approach to make sure that you’re hitting on all three cylinders with the product or service that you’re bringing to market:

  1. Value Creation is pretty self-explanatory. Your innovation investment must create incremental or completely new value large enough to overcome the switching costs of moving to your new solution from the old solution (including the ‘Do Nothing Solution’). New value can be created by making something more efficient, more effective, possible that wasn’t possible before, or create new psychological or emotional benefits.
  2. Value Access could also be thought of as friction reduction. How easy do you make it for customers and consumers to access the value you’ve created. How well has the product or service been designed to allow people to access the value easily? How easy is it for the solution to be created? How easy is it for people to do business with you?
  3. Value Translation is all about helping people understand the value you’ve created and how it fits into their lives. Value translation is also about understanding where on a continuum between the need for explanation and education that your solution falls. Incremental innovations can usually just be explained to people because they anchor to something they already understand, but radical or disruptive innovations inevitably require some level of education (often far in advance of the launch).

Doing well on two of them and poorly on the third will still lead to failure. Too often people only focus on value creation – to their own detriment. Helping people access the value you’re creating and to understand how it fits into their lives are equally important.

If you invest in doing all three well for your product and/or service and leverage the Eight Change Mindsets™, introduced in my latest book Charting Change, you will be unstoppable!

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Why Change is Hard

Why Change is Hard

In 250 Words or Less

When we think about change, often we look at it as being done to us, not something that we are part of. Initiating change is a scary, overwhelming process that we often avoid because we lack the tools to accumulate buy-in and successfully plan and execute the change in the face of the following obstacles/barriers:

  1. psychological/political
  2. logistical
  3. financial
  4. external

This leads to inaction and preservation of the status quo until the pain becomes too much to bear, or the promise of the change becomes so enticing, that people are willing to drop their resistance and begin engaging in the activities necessary to realize the intended outcomes of the change.

Organizations must identify up-front not only why people may resist, but also who will likely resist. Some of the typical reasons why people will resist include:

  • loss of certainty (includes fear of job loss)
  • loss of purpose, direction, or status
  • loss of mastery (includes loss of expertise/recognition)
  • loss of control or ownership
  • loss of connection or attachment
  • lack of trust or clarity
  • fear of failure (feel unprepared)
  • seeing proposed change as irrelevant or a bad idea

Finally, change is hard because even if you idedntify and overcome the resistance/obstacles/barriers, hiding below the surface is the even more daunting prospect that according to a 2009 ProSci study, 73% of organizations are at or near change saturation — the point at which organizations are incapable of absorbing additional change.

(248 words)


One tool I created for the Change Planning Toolkit™ that will assist you in creating a stronger change strategy and more targeted communications as you lower resistance and get people to choose change are the Eight Change Mindsets:

Eight Change Mindsets to Harness for Success

Obviously it is really hard to fit everything into 250 words so I had to leave some great other highlights of why change is hard, including this one:

In a 2008 global CEO study conducted by IBM on the enterprise of the future, the top challenges to successfully implementing strategic change were identified as:

  1. changing mindsets and attitudes (58 percent)
  2. corporate culture (49 percent)
  3. underestimating complexity (35 percent)
  4. shortage of resources (33 percent)
  5. lack of commitment from higher management (32 percent)
  6. lack of change know-how (20 percent)
  7. lack of motivation of employees involved (16 percent)

And here are some other challenges I would have included in the list:

  • lack of tools
  • lack of training
  • stakeholder misalignment
  • lack of buy in
  • change saturation
  • change fatigue
  • lack of change readiness
  • missing prerequisites
  • underestimating resistance
  • missing resources needed to succeed
  • underestimating risks and barriers
  • underestimating benefits of the status quo

To make change easier you’ll definitely want to transform how you plan and execute change into a more visual and collaborative approach, ideally suited for remote and hybrid interactions. It’s all laid out in my latest book Charting Change and supported by the Change Planning Toolkit™. A growing number of universities are picking up and teaching this new modern approach. Why not you?


  1. Charting Change by Braden Kelley, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016
  2. Marsh survey on health, productivity and absenteeism—Prosci, 2009

Image Credit: Unsplash

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