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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.


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

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!

4 Methods for Dealing with Resistance to Change

I have written a lot about change in the last few weeks.  Here are four methods that leaders introducing change into their organization can utilize when dealing with resistance to change:

  1. Education and Communication: educate people about a change before it is implemented and most importantly help them understand the logic behind the change.
  2. Participation & Involvement: allow people to help design and implement the changes (e.g., ideas, task forces, committees). Tell them the challenge and ask them for their input to implement a solution.
  3. Facilitation & Support: provide help (emotional & material resources) for people having trouble adjusting to the change. It’s great to have change advocates who are willing to express their ideas and support the changes.
  4. Explicit and Implicit Coercion: as a last resort it may be necessary to use authority and influence to encourage people to accept changes.

We all know change is never easy.  In my opinion, approaching it from the logical perspective helps a lot!

Conquer the Biggest Threat to Business Success with Exceptional Leadership

leadership purple

I recently encountered a statistic stating:

“84% of senior leaders globally say disengaged employees are one of the three biggest threats facing their business – yet only 12% of them report regularly working to address employee engagement.” (The Economist, Reengaging with Engagement Report)

A recent study by Mercer revealed the top five factors that influence employee motivation and engagement globally are:

  • Being treated with respect
  • Work/Life balance
  • Type of work
  • Quality of coworkers
  • Quality of leadership

Quality of leadership is critical for motivating and engaging employees,

What is necessary to boost the quality of your leadership in order to increase productivity and profitability?

The single most important factor in employee engagement is creating an emotional commitment between the employee and the organization.  To do this, leaders need to focus on the following building blocks to become a magnetic leader who conquers the threats disengaged employees present to their business.

  1. Be Authentic:  Being comfortable in your own skin, finding your passion and pursuing that passion will empower people to step up and create their own value within the organization.
  1. Ask & Listen:

Asking questions of your employees and actually listening and responding to their concerns builds trust.  60% of employees with a low degree of trust in management intend to leave their organization, compared to 20% with a high degree of trust. (Center for Creative Leadership, World Leadership Survey, 2010)

  1. Communicate:

Almost 2/3 of all employees are 33% as productive as they could be because they don’t understand what they are being asked to do. (The Conference Board 2010)  Leaders who communicate regularly, clearly and effectively with their employees will significantly increase productivity.

  1. Be Confident:

When you make a business decision considering all factors, potential outcomes and risks and then present those to members of the organization when initiating a change, individuals will be more inclined to embrace the changes presented.  Confidence in your decision is critical to getting others to believe in the change.

As a leader, when you begin to harness the irresistible forces of exceptional leadership, you will create a culture where the emotional connection between individuals and the organization is palpable and inevitably measurable in the increased profitability and productivity of the organization as a whole.

At this year’s ICMI Conference in Long Beach, CA, Dianne Durkin of Loyalty Factor will be presenting a workshop and Encore presentation of  The Power of Magnetic Leadership.  These sessions will delve into the process of becoming a magnetic leader, and provide valuable tools for leaders to improve their organizations through communication, trust and engagement and gather tips on how to create the essential emotional connection between individuals and the organization!  Don’t miss it!!!