Beyond Change Management: How to Achieve Breakthrough Results Through Conscious Change Leadership

I especially like the "Case in Point" sidebars which detail some of the specific applications Being First has done with this methodology and companies—public and private. If you're interested in business transformation, this is a must read, and if you're interested in how you can talk about Integral t This is an awesome book that takes Integral thinking and applies it to business, specifically transformational change. If you're interested in business transformation, this is a must read, and if you're interested in how you can talk about Integral to people who have no clue, it's a really good primer.

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Because of the huge impacts on the business, the complex people issues, and the multitude of interdependent change initiatives, the executives themselves must be involved in putting it all together. It is their responsibility to build a change strategy that:.

Beyond Change Management

A comprehensive transformational change strategy has three equally important components: The content of change includes the new business direction and its subsequent structural, systems, product, and technological changes. Until change management, executives focused solely on the content of change, which is still by far the most familiar and comfortable of the components of change strategy.

The onset of change management opened the door to the second required component of transformational change strategy—people. When people choose to change themselves from the inside out, their changes are real and lasting, and resistance is minimal. We will discuss the changing of mindset in greater depth shortly. Unfortunately, when implementation is brought in as an afterthought, it is invariably fraught with serious people problems created by neglecting the earlier phases of the change process.

We will delve into leading the process of transformation later. At this point, however, let us summarize with the key point that executives must create a change strategy that is fit for the people and process requirements of transformation. The second cornerstone of change leadership—transforming leader and employee mindset—requires executives and consultants to attend more thoroughly to the human dynamics at play.


Since most leaders need to shift their mindsets to even perceive the complex human and process dynamics of transformation, we believe that transformational efforts should begin with the leaders and directly address their mindsets. Mindset is the primary causal factor of behavior, decisions, and most importantly, results. We call the traditional leadership mindset most prevalent today, the Industrial Mindset. This worldview contains the very blinders that prevent leaders from seeing the dynamics of transformation.

A comparison of the Industrial Mindset and the Emerging Mindset follows. Briefly, the Industrial Mindset views all change as a predictable and controllable set of discreet events that can be managed through external force. It is a mechanistic view and neglects the power of human consciousness as a force in organizations. The worldview of the Emerging Mindset, however, understands the different types of change, and recognizes transformation as a self-organizing, continuous process that can best be facilitated through positive interaction with the human and organizational dynamics at play.

The Emerging Mindset understands transformation as being primarily driven by shifts in human consciousness. Beyond these common misconceptions, the primary limitation of the Industrial Mindset is that it blinds leaders to the multitude of human, cultural, and process dynamics that are actually occurring. Think about the profound impacts in the preceding examples on people, communications, relationships, and culture. There are two different approaches to leading transformation: The reactive approach refers to leaders who see the world through the Industrial Mindset lens.

They primarily pay attention to the external world, never recognizing the need to test if their habitual internal assumptions and change strategies are still effective. They simply see what they have always seen about change out in the organization, with no self-reflection.

These leaders orient to both the external and the internal worlds. They see the people and process dynamics at play in the organization because they look for them, knowing they are key to leading the change. These leaders intentionally strive to increase their own conscious awareness about how the organization and its people are changing, including themselves.

With minds open and eyes sharp, they can effectively navigate the complex freeway of transformation. Change management is valuable to them because it helps manage the fallout from these self-induced problems. The key here is not just change leadership, but Conscious Change Leadership. Conscious change leadership begins with the full realization of the power of mindset to govern perception and performance. Once leaders wake up to the central role mindset plays in their success, they more readily turn inward to investigate their own mindset.

Leaders must do this personal work either first or very early in the change process. Given the prevalence of the Industrial Mindset among executives today, this is a tough first challenge. However, leaders wake up most readily when they see tangible evidence of how their own mindsets have effected their organizations, their change efforts, and their lives. We worked with the CEO of a utility facing deregulation. Through feedback, coaching, and participation in our leadership breakthrough program, he came to see that his mindset, controlling and paternalistic, was impeding his organization from innovating new business strategies for the deregulated environment.

His personal insights were transformational for him, his change strategy, and the company. This breakthrough work is most effective when done experientially, away from the office setting in a skillfully facilitated training environment, under well-crafted and safe conditions that enable self-reflection. Please note that the intent of this training is not personal growth for its own sake.

When done in the context of increasing change results, this is a powerful and necessary component of transformational change strategy. In our consulting practice, all of our clients engage in this breakthrough program at the beginning of the transformation. Once leaders have begun to change themselves, they can then model and sponsor this depth of personal work effectively across their organizations.

In the case above, the CEO provided the breakthrough program for his top leaders, and sponsored a visioning conference for his top leaders, a first in their history. When leaders design their change strategy to wake up a critical mass of the organization so that it embraces the new mindset and can deal with the ongoing human and process issues, the navigation of the transformation becomes easier, faster, and more successful, as was the case with this client. As mindset is to the individual, culture is to the organization. Therefore, change strategy must overtly address culture change, as driven by the needs of the new business.

This strategy, used in the utility mentioned previously, requires competency in the third cornerstone of change leadership. Transformational change requires leaders to shift from project management thinking to process-oriented thinking. There are several principles that define some of the key requirements of process thinking, each of which is central to conscious change leadership. One of the flaws of change management in its application to transformation lies in its title. Transformation cannot be managed. This fact must be accepted and integrated by those in charge of transformation.

Instead, they will always be in reaction to it. Leaders must let go of the need to tightly control the change process, yet they still need a navigation system.

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This process model provides a roadmap without dictating the roads to take. The roadmap helps leaders get to their destination, but they must determine the actual path they travel based on the terrain they encounter. The outcome is emergent because you must begin the change effort before knowing precisely where you are going. Hopefully, it will become reachable before you fall, but only if you craft a change strategy that enables that possibility. High involvement is key. Since nobody really knows what will turn out to be the best business solution early in the process, leaders must invite the intelligence of the organization to envision, create, test, and innovate until the best future becomes apparent—emerges—and can be put into place and evolved.

The process is emergent in that dynamics in the organization, marketplace, and people are constantly in flux.

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Production or quality issues may show up; unpredicted resource demands may surface; competitors may beat you to the market with advanced technologies. In and of itself, this sounds obvious. However, it represents a monumental mindset and culture shift for most organizations. Not only must the beliefs and behavioral norms of this way of being be determined and instilled in the culture of the organization, but a system and work practices for it must also be developed.

For instance, leaders must encourage feedback, new information, and two-way communication as well as make it clear where to send this information and how it will be used to influence either the outcome or the change process. In traditional organizations, leaders keep shifts in their previously communicated plans under wraps.

In the consciously led organization, leaders publicly invite them as contributing to the rapid discovery of the best outcome. Transformation will only occur when a critical mass of the organization has undergone the required mindset change to perform in ways that produce the desired outcome. The fastest way to achieve critical mass, as well as wide-spread commitment to the change, is through whole system involvement in the process.

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There are two different approaches to leading transformation: Briefly, the Industrial Mindset views all change as a predictable and controllable set of discreet events that can be managed through external force. Linda has spoken about her work on conscioustransformation at national and international conferences, and isknown as a thought leader and inspiring model of her message. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Agis93 rated it really liked it Dec 07, Lisa Ecker rated it really liked it Jan 02,

All stakeholders must be included in shaping the future and the process of creating it. These interventions are key acceleration strategies for every phase of the change process, allowing major pieces of work to be accomplished in much shorter time. Conscious change leadership is the next generation of leading and consulting beyond change management. Becoming a conscious change leader requires you to pursue your own learning and transformation— transforming your mindset, altering your behaviors, and evolving your leadership or consulting style and approaches.

It means expanding your thinking about process and your repertoire for designing and facilitating the complexities of transformation. It demands taking a stand for the personal change required of leaders and the workforce. And, as you do your own individual work, you will not only benefit personally, but become a model for everyone you seek to influence. We believe that through this conscious approach to transformation, you can create the conditions for discovering the future and ways of being that our organizations and society need to thrive.

Very lucid presentation of the challenge and map for transforming oneself and hopefully assisting an organization that wants to transform itself. For me it opened a new chapter on change management.

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Surely the conscious change leadership style fits the present age. Your email is never published nor shared.