Questions for Implementing Change

Managers implementing incremental change – that is changes that happen within the context of business as usual – are responsible for making sure the reasons, details, benefits and impact of the change are all mapped out prior to implementation.

I recently developed a list of questions for managers to consider:


  • What is the change?
  • Why is this change needed?
  • What will happen if we do not make the change?
  • What are the benefits of making the change?


  • How will the change benefit the organization?
  • Who will benefit from the changes?
  • When will the positive benefits be felt?


  • Who will be impacted by the proposed changes?
  • What risks are involved in going forward with the changes?
  • Who will suffer from the changes?
  • Will any jobs be eliminated?
  • Who needs to be informed of the changes?
  • What will be different because of the change?
  • Who is losing? And what?


  • What steps are needed in making the change?
  • How can I manage the changes so they are successful?
  • Who do I need to involve?
  • What is the best mode of communication to present changes?

A good change management process offers a clear message, emotional buy-in, targeting the appropriate people, timely delivery, and an open line of two way communication between all involved.  Before you begin making changes, be sure to ask yourself all the questions.  It’ll make everything smoother!

The Challenges of Change

Businesses are facing change like never before.  Numerous driving forces to this change include a rapidly expanding marketplace (Globalization) and increasing competition, diversity among consumers, and availability to new forms of technology.  Creativity and innovation are often the key to the success of a changing business, particularly when developing new strategic directions or designing new products and services.

It is easy for management to say, “We want to innovate,” yet it is difficult to leave what you know behind for a visit to the unknown and what may even be chaos.  The steps towards innovation include breakdown, breakthroughs, complexity, mystery and manifestation.  These foster an environment for exploration, imagination, acceptable risks and what ifs.

Breakdown means taking the situation breaking it down to manageable pieces.

Breakthrough is allowing people to brainstorm ideas and bounce ideas off one another for all possibilities.

Complexity can be caused by too many options.  Keep it simple!

Mystery appears when the solution is not totally obvious and the pros and cons need to be analyzed.

Manifestation is when people in the organization begin understanding and seeing the benefits and living the changes.

Through these steps toward innovation, you may face challenges.  Being a creative and magnetic leader will help your organization manage through change, and succeed in the end goal!  Remember:  You can’t spell challenge without change!



“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.”  -Author Unknown

It seems so logical, obvious and easy, yet it seems to be one of the biggest misses in corporate America.

Appreciation by definition in Merriam Webster Dictionary is as follows:

  • a feeling of being grateful for something
  • an ability to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something : an ability to appreciate something
  • full awareness or understanding of something

I find most places I visit that leaders tend to overlook the value of appreciation and place little to no stock in utilizing appreciation techniques.

Employees who feel someone is grateful for their contributions will want to deliver more.

Employees who feel as though they are worth something, will strive to prove their value day in and day out.

Employees who feel important will produce their best work!

Employee engagement starts with appreciation.  I urge all managers to take a step back and think about when the last time they made their employees feel important and worth something and when you showed you are grateful for ALL that they do!

Try it.


Opposing Forces of Success and Balance


I recently had a conversation with one of my employees about work-life balance and she questioned me on how I achieve my balance.  My response was, “Do I?”  This prompted me to contemplate my life and the balance of work and play.

  • I have always enjoyed working and maintain I have no plans to retire. 
  • I think about work first thing in the morning.
  • I live work all day, and I go to bed contemplating new ideas. 
  • I take time each day to treat my body right.
  • I drink lots of water.  
  • I prepare three amazingly healthy meals. 
  • I am a student of naturopathic health solutions. 
  • I work out.  I meet up with friends. 
  • I watch my favorite television programs. 
  • I read and read and read.


So what exactly is balance?

I read once that it is the pull of opposing forces that keeps you balanced.

My life would be incomplete and disappointing if I did not have my business and the satisfaction I gleam from bringing customer service and employee loyalty to new heights.  And, I would be equally disappointed if I failed to enjoy the beautiful city in which I live, cherish and nurture the relationships with my family and friends, and care for and respect my body.

I am resolved to believe that perfectly balancing these opposing forces to a point of static is unattainable and unrealistic.  For me, a balance is achieved by satisfying the tensions created, harnessing energy from both and living my life each day.

Balance for everyone is not the same.  Others looking at my life could say I work far too much.  Yet, the joy I derive at work brings great value to the balance I seek in life.

In the end, you must:

  • Find what you love
  • Love what you do
  • Embrace your values
  • Strive to worship their role in your life

Wisdom of Leadership




As a consultant I have been sharing my wisdom of leadership with others for over 17 years.  There are times when others criticize leaders and their quest for power.  In my opinion, being a true leader has nothing to do with power.


Leadership is a mentality.  To lead others with influence and impact you must think through as many issues as you can.  Double checking to make sure you’ve considered every situation and scenario before finalizing any decision is critical.

Leadership is a practice of behaviors.  The crux of leading is doing the right things, doing them well and doing them consistently.  Your willingness and ability to do what needs to be done and doing it with skill and professionalism is what drives the corporate culture and ultimately your reputation.

Leadership is a noble profession.  Leaders should realize their profession is all about those who have trusted them as a guide.  Leadership is a journey of self-awareness that lasts for your entire career as you discover what others see in you as authentic, trustworthy and compelling.

Finally, leadership is a passion.  Not everyone is born to lead.  Some are content to follow.  Successful leaders have a burning desire to engage others and rally them to achieve greatness.

As I motivate leaders around the country I always remind them, leading is challenging, tiring, and thankless at times, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges!

Being Compelling: The Commitment to Winning

You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go.  You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Ken Kesey, American Author

Followers are compelled by a cause.  I always tell people leaders must paint a picture for those they wish to enroll – a vision of what winners will look like and how participants can contribute their talents in the pursuit of that vision and share in the ultimate success.

Almost any version of success requires committed action toward goals.  And action requires teams of people assembled around leaders aligned with a shared, bold vision.  Compelling leaders create a following that is different from one of “believers”; leaders find and inspire followers who commit not just with their mind or hearts, but also with their time and energy.

Followers seek a vision that expresses a substantial commitment in tangible ways. From the perspective of those who follow, the message is “This vision has a place for you and I want you involved in this process.”

Create a winning vision. Inspire others.  Success will follow!

Orchestrate a Culture of Rock Stars

A performer standing on stage facing the crowd with his hand in the air

Do you wonder what the magic is behind the most successful companies?  OR how YOU can become the next success story?  Rock star performances are driven from individuals with fundamental skills who are nourished by a dynamic, responsive and engaging corporate culture.   Cultivate a garden of rock stars by building a culture of reliability, accountability, and responsibility plus leading powerfully, passionately and purposefully.

Do this by:

  • Capitalizing on individual strengths and exploiting them
  • Utilizing trust as the foundation of your culture
  • Motivating, coaching and developing high potentials

Remote Workers

A short time ago Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, shocked all telecommuters when she implemented a corporate policy preventing telecommuting.  Her actions left those who work from home defending their privilege!

  • A 2014 study by the Society for Human Resource and Families and Work Institute found that “67% of companies allow workers to work remotely occasionally, up from 50% in 2008” and
  • A Gallup State of the American Workplace report found that people who work remotely are more engaged, enthusiastic and committed to their work — but only if they work outside the office 20% of the time or less.

So where does your company land in all this?

It seems to me as though file sharing, electronic communications, and mobile workplaces have made working from home a very easy solution and one that seems to satisfy younger generations and their need for flexibility.

While I believe the flexibility is critical to recruiting and maintaining the top performers, I also believe in the value of good old-fashioned face-to-face interactions.

There is little that can take the place of the accountability that comes from sitting down with your employee, the communication and flow that comes from employees conversing sporadically to get informed and the  camaraderie that comes from everyone working together to reach a desired end!


Who are the Real Stars?


In “Who are the REAL Stars in your Organization” written by David S. Cohen, four different types of performers are described: stars, keepers, deadwood, and viruses.  Many managers, public or private, unionized or not, would rather take the path of least resistance and not have serious performance discussions or take action to terminate individuals.

Stars:  It is easy to appreciate the star – they’re the people who demonstrate the right behaviors while achieving superior results.

Viruses:  These are top performers who exemplify what you DO NOT want your organization to stand for.  It may be tempting to put off performance and termination discussions because they contribute to the bottom-line.  By overlooking, condoning or supporting the bad behaviors of your best performers you completely discredit your leadership integrity.

Deadwood:  Deadwood are those employees who don’t perform or exhibit the right behaviors.  The decision to get rid of those individuals should be a no brainer, right?  Unfortunately organizations find it easy to let their deadwood continue to float down the river and pay a steep price.  A triple whammy occurs: productivity gets reduced, deadwood stay in place, and quality decays as other employees are demotivated by the passing appraisals the deadwood receive.

Keepers:  Keepers are often the beating heart of an organization’s culture.  They know the stories, provide a social network and organize the social events.  They can surface as problems somewhere down the line because they were promoted beyond their capabilities; or maybe management fails to provide them enough support along the way or they might simply need to be reassigned to a role that matches their skills and knowledge capabilities.  In hard times, looking at productivity numbers, keepers can be easy to let go – but be careful what that does to your culture and morale.  The cost and benefit need to be analyzed.  Skills and knowledge can be developed.  It is ALWAYS difficult to find individuals with the right values.

Today’s Impact:  The issue of keeping Viruses and Deadwood has become more serious as Gen Y and Gen Z will not tolerate working for too long in organizations that leaders don’t take action on their values.  So having brutally honest performance reviews has become a necessity today.

As a manager, you owe it to the keepers and stars to be honest about the deadwood and viruses and weed them out.  Everyone will benefit!