Change Management Articles

Learning About Change From the Hoo Doos

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 5/10/2011


I took a vacation several weeks ago and explored Zion and Bryce National Parks. Both parks were magnificent—fabulous hiking with beautiful scenery and breathtaking views.

At Bryce Canyon you’ll find spectacular rock formations called hoodoos (tall, skinny spires of rock protruding from the bottom of the canyon). They range in size from a few feet to heights exceeding a 10 story building.

Hoodoos are the result of change at work—a constant weathering process—water freezing and expanding to pry open cracks bit by bit making them ever wider. (Bryce has over 200 freeze/thaw cycles in a year.)

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Current Culture: A Starting Point for Change

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 4/26/2011

“The only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture. If you do not manage culture, it manages you, and you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening.”

–Edgar Schein, professor MIT Sloan School of Management

I often hear leaders talk about the need to change organizational culture. According to Schein, in most organizational change efforts, it is much easier to draw on the strengths of the current culture than to overcome the constraints by changing the culture.

So, how do we better understand current culture?

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Heated Debate Versus Constructive Dialogue

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 1/18/2011

Heated Debate_imageCivil discourse.  Vitriolic language.  We’ve been hearing and reading a lot about the state of American politics and our ability to discuss and debate.  I don’t want to risk a comparison between our work lives and the Arizona tragedy.  Except in cases of violence, a comparison would be silly.  That being said, the concept of how we communicate with each other transfers from politics to our work lives each and every day.  Just how civil are we at work?  What does our organizational culture support?

I have worked in and been witness to work environments that have been quite heated—quite vitriolic.  In recent months, I have had individuals tell me (or have observed):

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Curves In The Path

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 9/27/2010

During my interactions with our clients, I often have the opportunity to ask individuals about their career paths. I enjoy hearing how successful people get to where they are today. Very rarely are the paths leaders take to a straight line to the top. Often there is an event or person, or multiple events and multiple people that throw a curve in the path. It’s often these curves that provide the most insight and direction for the leaders.

Think about your own path. When you were a young adult, what was your plan for your career? Who were the people and what were the events that provided curves in the path? What did you learn from the curves?

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Your Stories, Your Culture

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 9/21/2010

In the course of our work, we are asked to assess organizational culture. Common areas we focus on in our assessment of the organization are the elements of culture. While there are a number of elements, one I’ve found particularly interesting is organizational stories. Stories are defined as the written or spoken accounts that take a variety of forms including legends, myths, and sagas. These may be “official” accounts or “unwritten rules” about what it is like to work at the organization. They are the “physical” descriptions of culture that are passed from employee to employee that help define what the organization is all about. To help define what it means to work in your organization, think about the following:

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Resistance to Change

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 8/10/2010

A few months ago I was in a coaching meeting with an individual that was new to their organization. This individual was brought into the organization as a subject matter expert and was finding resistance to the ideas he was attempting to implement. As our conversation continued, he described a scenario I have heard others in multiple organizations convey, “Our leaders don’t think my new way of doing things will work in this organization.” As I listened I could hear the disappointment and frustration begin to build in his voice. He clearly saw his ideas as being attacked and took this to mean his technical expertise was in question.

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Beyond the Jargon – A Blog by Calibra

Author: btj-admin, Date: 7/13/2010

Welcome to “Beyond the Jargon,” a blog by Calibra. Over the years we have provided coaching, training, and consulting to thousands of leaders and managers at all levels in organizations—senior level executives, mid-level managers, and frontline supervisors. We have learned as much from them as they have hopefully learned from us. What many have told us is, “this stuff should be so simple” (meaning the concept of leadership; providing vision and clear direction; the basic principles of communication; giving candid feedback; and, coaching openly and honestly). Then, they add, “but, it’s not easy!”

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