Navigating Change Processes Successfully


You will hear me say this in this blog many times: the underlying dynamics of change at any level of system – individual, relational, team, organizational, national, planetary – are similar. Once a change leader begins to understand these fundamental underlying dynamics, their ability to navigate change rises exponentially. Given the state of our organizations and world, we need more change, not less, which means understanding these dynamics is critical.

A natural human tendency, when we are operating unconsciously from our ego, is to turn away from what we do not like and toward what we do like. We avoid pain and seek pleasure, and comfort is always high on our ego’s list of chosen states. This generates a number of challenges for navigating change processes.

Significant goals and breakthroughs always lie outside our comfort zones. They require us to stretch, risk, take new actions, or the old actions in new ways. If we simply keep doing what we’ve been doing in the same ways, we only achieve what we’ve already been able to achieve. We need to go outside our comfort zones to change and achieve more, but we unconsciously turn away from such “expansions” and habitually contract back to our old, but comfy ways. People do this; teams do this, organizations do this, as do nations and the world as a whole.

When we do step out of our comfort zones, we inevitably make mistakes. Why? Because it’s new, uncharted territory, and by definition, we haven’t figured it out yet. But we don’t like mistakes, so when they occur, we tend to turn away from them, cover them up, pretend they didn’t happen, blame them on someone selse. Our turning away from them negates learning, stifles progress, and ensures that we repeat them.

When we step outside our comfort zone, we feel fear, doubt, anxiety. Why?Again, because it’s new territory, and it is natural to be afraid in such a situation.  But we don’t like those feelings, so we turn away from them, deny them, cover them up. This causes us to lose focus as we subconsciously battle with these inner fears, making us less capable of dealing with the situation that is triggering the feelings. If we do move ahead, we under-perform, but often, we simply retreat to the familiar.

The key to navigating transformational change – at any level of system – is to learn to turn into the contraction, not away. This starts with us personally, and is the foundation of self mastery. This takes conscious awareness, because our ego will automatically and unconsciously go for comfort and keep us inside our comfort zone, away from the challenges required to achieve our goals. It takes courage and inner strength to face the fear or problem at hand. Mostly, it takes the ability to let in and feel the contracted feelings our ego wants us to avoid, for if we do not accept them (turn toward them and receive them), then our turning away will lead to turning away from the actions required to succeed in our change process.

Conscious change leaders know these dynamics. They know that they literally navigate change by listening for where in themselves and the larger systems the contractions are occuring. Then they take a deep breath or ten, turn toward those contractions, and step into the fire to deal with the personal, relational, team, or organizational challenge at hand.

Change management tools can help in these sitatuations, but their limiation is always that they tend to deal too superficially with what is happening and miss the underlying dynamics. And turning into these underlying dynamics with the understanding and talent to help them unravel and resolve is the path to unleashing greater potential in yourself, your stakeholders, and your organization.

Do you have this level of self mastery? Whatever your level today, keep developing this most essential talent. Your relations, team performance, organization, and world are counting on you to step way outside your comfort zone and contribute your best, and this is fundamentally how you do it. The world needs you to master this most essential conscious change leadership skill.

4 Comments


  1. Mar 9, 2013
    4:04 am

    new pumas Shoes

    Great site. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to a few
    pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you to your sweat!


  2. Apr 29, 2013
    10:22 am

    Angelika

    I have learn a few good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how so much effort you put to create this kind of wonderful
    informative web site.


  3. Jul 16, 2013
    4:43 pm

    green smoke coupon

    Greate pieces. Keep writing such kind of info on your site.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and
    in my view recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.


  4. Jun 3, 2014
    7:19 pm

    Irene

    great put up, very informative. I ponder why the opposite specialists of this sector do not notice this.
    You should continue your writing. I’m sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

Endorsements

With this extensively upgraded second edition, Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson solidify their status as the leading authorities on change leadership and organizational transformation. This is without question the most comprehensive approach for leaders who are serious about making change a strategic discipline. Beyond Change Management is an intelligent book by two of the most knowledgeable and accomplished masters of their craft, and it’s one that every conscious change leader should adopt as their guide to creating more meaningful organizations.

Jim Kouzes
Coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge and The Truth About Leadership


Read this great book by Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson and learn how to use their multi-dimensional approach to lead transformation masterfully and consciously!

Marshall Goldsmith
World-renowned executive coach
Author of the New York Times best-sellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There


An important move toward a more integral business consulting approach, very much recommended for those interested in the topic and ways to actually apply it. 

Ken Wilber
Author, The Integral Vision, A Brief History of Everything, and over a dozen other best-sellers


Dean and Linda are core to the field of conscious change leadership, and continue to stretch and push its boundaries in this rich and deep compendium. This is a must read from two consummate thought leaders who have devoted their careers to developing highly successful change leaders. Read it and immediately improve your change leadership or consulting success.

Bev Kaye
CEO, Career Systems International
Author of Love 'em or Lose 'em: Getting Good People to Stay


This book is about mastery of leading the transformational change process written by masters of the craft.  For corporate leaders and consultants who consider themselves committed students of the process of organizational change.

Daryl Conner
Chairman, Conner Partners
Author of Managing at the Speed of Change and Leading at the Edge of Chaos


Beyond Change Management is a timely how-to guide for leading change in the 21st century. It provides both a conceptual roadmap, and practical tools and techniques for successfully transforming organizations.

Noel Tichy
Professor, University of Michigan
Co-author with Warren Bennis of JUDGMENT: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls


Once again, Dean and Linda have nailed it! Beyond Change Management is an extraordinary book examining the shifts in change management that have occurred over the years. This book offers real, practical solutions for change practitioners to become extraordinary conscious change leaders.

Darlene Meister
Director, Unified Change Management
United States House of Representatives


Powerful business solutions to the current chaos facing many organizations today. Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson get to the heart of change, the human touch, by using timeless techniques and tools.
Ken Blanchard
Co-Author of The One Minute Manager and Leading at a Higher Level


Having applied this methodology for two years to manage change inside Microsoft, it has been instrumental in our ability to land change effectively, engage employees and deliver results quickly. The Change Leader’s Roadmap allows us to lead change with precision and minimal outside consulting, while at the same time growing change leadership capability internally. This is the most complete change methodology we have found anywhere.

Pete Fox
General Manager, Corporate Accounts
Microsoft US


This newest edition of The Change of Leader’s Roadmap is an invaluable, comprehensive and practical guide for envisioning an organization’s desired future, designing the structures and practices necessary to make it happen, and implementing them effectively. The book describes the change process in nine distinct phases and outlines the activities and tasks that need to occur in each phase. It provides change leaders with an essential map for successfully traversing the complex and uncertain terrain of transformational change.   

Thomas G. Cummings
Professor and Chair, Department of Management & Organization
Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California


This is the next best thing to having Dean, Linda and the Being First team riding alongside your complex change initiative. The Change Leader’s Roadmap breeds confidence in senior executive “Champions” to guide not just a successful transformational change, but most importantly, to develop the mission critical organizational CULTURE that will ensure unparalleled return on investment. Nothing I have seen in my 32 years of leading change comes close.

Jeff Mulligan
Former CEO, Common Wealth Credit Union
Mayor, City of Lloydminster


After implementing more than 2000 business strategy and operational excellence initiatives, we set out to find the best change methodology and toolbox in the world. The methodology this book describes is it! Study it thoroughly, because the thinking, process approach and pragmatic tools really work!

Thomas Fischer
Director COO
Valcon Management Consultants A/S
Copenhagen


A practical, step-by-step guide for change leaders, managers and consultants. The book provides conceptually grounded, real world, time tested tools and guidance that will prove invaluable to those faced with navigating the challenges of leading organizational change in today's turbulent times.

Robert J. Marshak, Ph.D.
Senior Scholar in Residence
MSOD Program, American University
Organizational Change Consultant