Human Nature and Change

It is part of human nature to resist change. But forget all the psycho-babble and Ivory Tower theories about organizational change management. There are proven, practical methods for helping people adapt to change using simple tools that anyone can learn.

Let me give you a few simple examples from my experience in sports, business and the military. High school and college football has probably done more to reduce racism in the South than just about any other single institution. (common goal, shared struggle)

I was at IBM when the company nearly went bankrupt. I learned an important lesson working with direct reports of the new CEO, Lou Gerstner, John Thompson and Jeff Williams. (a burning platform to drive culture change):

“Transformation of an enterprise begins with a sense of crisis or urgency,” he told the students. “No institution will go through fundamental change unless it believes it is in deep trouble and needs to do something different to survive.” – Lou Gerstner

During WWII, General Patton is reported to have motivated the troops to fight and win the war by saying:  “When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that five minutes before was your best friend’s face, then you’ll know what to do.” (fear, “semper fi”)

Finally, John F. Kennedy’s 1961 moonshot speech is famous for the tagline:

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” (inspiring vision, challenge)