Today, constant and often tumultuous change seems like the new normal. We can certainly thank the Internet for some of that chaos. Toss in the fatal polarization of our political system, the rape of the economy by the super-rich, growing retirements by baby boomer CEOs, ten draining years of war, and you’ve got the perpetual storm. Global warming is the big fat cherry on the tumult sundae.
No wonder our jobs are hard.
Change management used to be a specialized skill that belonged to experts whom we would employ during those periodic bouts of transition. Today change management is nothing less than a survival skill each of us needs to possess to survive. It applies to how we organize ourselves internally. It applies to how we build and communicate with an audience. It applies to how we raise money and recruit donors.
Most organizations have historically sucked at change. That’s as true for massive multinational corporations as it is for environmental groups or soup kitchens. Not only do people lack the tools and training to manage or communicate change, we have inherited assumptions about how to mobilize people that turn out to be incomplete at best, and fatally flawed at worst.
Getting people to change behavior requires an intelligent appeal to both minds and hearts. Most change efforts fail, the experts say, because we over-rely on logic. And, to make matters worse, we do that in a way that is almost guaranteed to engender wheel-spinning and paralysis,
What I love about the change framework that Chip and Dan Heath lay out in their groundbreaking book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard is that it’s practical, grounded in behavioral science, and adaptable to a wide range of situations that confront us social change folks every day.
You can learn the whole framework in a day long workshop I'm leading on July 26th. Mastering it takes time, but the benefits are immediate. Got change? Just look around you.