The Change Workshop

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The truth about how change happens

Can change in an organization happen only because of some grand scheme? Do you remember the last time you received a memo or an email that said something like "Our new company focus is customer service. You will be hearing shortly about your role in this exciting new change in how we operate?" What was your reaction?
  • "Been there. Done that. Here we go again."
  • "So now we're jumping on the bandwagon that the rest of the industry is focused on. Ooh, how original."
  • "That sounds exciting. I wonder how I can help us be more customer focused?"

If your reaction was the first one you are in good company. Do you think it's because you've seen so many such initiatives come and go that you figure this one will pass, too? Or are you so disconnected from the purpose of the organization that your negative mindset is the way you operate every day, new initiative or not?

If you work for someone else I'd be surprised if you haven't - at least sometime during your work life - been cynical about organizational changes that are well-meaning but not indicative of corporate culture. So often we feel powerless to do something about a change that appears to be a train wreck about to happen. How do you find it worthwhile to come to work everyday?

Of course, it starts with your attitude. But should you fake a Pollyana outlook, thinking somehow it will take hold? On the other hand, you don't want to be perceived as a Sad Sack who brings everyone else down, right? So what's the solution? Is it possible to change the way we perceive each other - together - so that we change the workplace, as we change ourselves?

I've just learned about a person who has created a way to build, sustain and transform relationships - especially those at work - with honor and grace. It is called the State of Grace Document and it was created by Maureen McCarthy and Zelle Nelson. Maureen is working on a book and has a website where you can learn much more about this remarkable way to change the way we perceive our co-workers, our boss, our friends and loved ones. I encourage you to go to Maureen's site at to discover this meaningful tool.

I'll be providing more on this subject in the next post. Happy Holiday!