Schlagwort-Archive: Change

Finding your own rhythm

How much change requires respect from somebody is different for everyone. It begins with the small fluctuations which deflect the internalized routine. The desk that somebody cleaned up. The daily way to work that is blocked by a construction site. It is the modifications that make accustomed habits impossible. The introduction of a new IT system or the reallocation of tasks that require another approach, because the old ones are no longer valid. And then there are the fundamental upheavals which affect all aspects of life. The withdrawal from the current life, when one emigrates or leaves a previous career path. Notwithstanding of how strong the upheavals are, everyone has to react to the flux with a personal rhythm.

Since you get constantly challenged with different intensity, it is helpful to develop a routine that maintains the momentum of change until you get used to the new routine. You can use the following approaches and celebrate each with something special.

  • The first step
    Change only begins when you actually set yourself in motion. The first step towards the new is crucial in order to start the change. Even if this first step seems small and insignificant, this quantum leap is the beginning, no matter how long the path is.
  • The first day
    It is worthwhile to celebrate the first day you have got through after the first step. Not having given up the ghost makes the first day an important step towards change. When you then recognize the first results, the continuation on the following day is guaranteed.
  • The first week
    After a week the first signs of the new routine arise. The new one has already been applied several times, even though it has not yet become second nature. The devil is often in the detail that is subsequently recognized and mastered.
  • The first month
    Depending on the scope, many aspects of the change are already known after one month. The road blocks of the first day are forgotten. A lot has been practiced, which can be recognized by the fact that the acquired abilities are no longer consciously perceived.
  • The first quarter
    After three months one is already in the everyday flow. The tasks are carried out routinely. The consistency of earlier procedures is replaced by the new skills and conclusions that now are available.
  • The first half-year
    After half a year one is completely acquainted. The own values and beliefs have been adjusted. The surprises that now appear out of nowhere, take place in any case, no matter how well prepared somebody is. Prior approaches become difficult to handle, because you can no longer get into the old shoes.
  • The first year
    After a year, the memories of the old have faded away. Old processes are difficult to reconstruct. The memories create an unpleasant feeling, because the new has proven itself. The next change is already apparent on the horizon.

Everyone has its own personal approach to transformation. This goes from just doing nothing differently, to any change is welcome. The rituals that you come up with to cope with change determine the difficulties you have to deal with. Since change takes primarily place in the mind, it is sufficient just to change your perspective. If one does not manage this, then the transition costs more energy than if one openly accepts the new.

Bottom line: The implementation of changes creates resistance by nature. Especially when those affected do not have the opportunity to engage mentally. It is helpful for individual patients to celebrate the metamorphosis. And not just once, but over and over again. In order to anchor the innovations in your mind in an appealing way, it is best to find you’re your rhythm: the first step; the first day; the first week; the first month; the first quarter; the first half-year; the first year. Over time, deviations become normal.


From nothing simply nothing comes

Common sense tells us that anything adapts to what already is there. Spheres, not cubes, come out of a sphere. In closed systems, it is unlikely that something new will emerge on its own. Except: energy is added from outside. The same is the case in human communities – working groups, departments, and firms. If something has to be changed, it needs a push to get momentum. From nothing simply nothing comes.

The following aspects outline some stimuli that the leaders can give in terms of energy supply.

  • Adaptability
    The persistence in the existing of individual people needs a framework that provides the necessary space for the new. In an appropriate atmosphere that gives employees the chance to make things flexibly on their own, to cooperate across borders and to apply new ideas without any effort changes happen. The customer’s needs are adequately addressed that way. If then the willingness to try new things is encouraged by stress-free, fault-tolerant attitudes and openness, collaborative learning takes place. Thus, all are able to adapt.
  • Participation
    Once you understand that the group creates many more opportunities than individual geniuses, you have to take care to put the team in the position to make decisions at the point of action. This requires that the relevant information is available and that, at the same time, all know that they can and are allowed to contribute positively as well as to plan jointly. This puts the team at the center – with all its objectives, distributed balance of power and group processes. The development of appropriate skills is crucial for the employees, as well as for the leaders, who must give up part of their ego. The contributions through participation of all members cumulate to a larger sum than the sum of individual results.
  • Consistency
    The interaction of many interests leads naturally to a wide range of solutions, which even contradict each other in the worst case. For this reason, conditions have to be created that reduce the divergence of the parties to a healthy degree. The well-known fish that stinks from the head has an important exemplary function. Above all, the desired manners have to be put on paper. This applies to the culture with its convictions, values ​​and the collaboration styles, as well as for the established ways of making decisions and agreeing. To ensure that the described behavior is also put into practice, the executives have the responsibility to take ownership of their expectations and to continuously act accordingly. In addition, they affect personally the employees by consistently expressing the common perspective and by coordinating the involved people accordingly. The consistency of statements, behavior and decisions prevent resistance.
  • Mission
    Eventually the clarification of the mission is the formal element in order to be able to cross the door to the new. The formulated snapshot of the future that describes the targeted final stations, shows the raison d’être of the company. Everyone will then develop its idea of the way to the destination. In the interest of joint collaboration, concrete milestones define reference points, which will again and again realign the forces to the common goal. The more the vision, the mission and the strategy are sharpened for the target group, the clearer they lead the employees. The formulated and accessible mission reduces the interpretation space to a minimum.

Bottom line: Even if the world seems to alter on one way or the other, change that is to be done more quickly or more fundamentally, needs efforts in advance. All those affected people must be able and be permitted to adapt themselves. Platforms for participation have to be created. All aspects of the business must be harmonized in a way that uncertainties concerning the right approach are avoided. And above all, a clear direction must be given. However, this has changed nothing yet. But without these aspects changes are almost impossible. Responsible for creating these basic conditions, which are an effort in advance, is the leadership team. Thereafter the actual change follows. From nothing simply nothing comes.

Transition is the overlay of all modifications

Heraclitus already recognized that everything is changing incessantly – everything flows. Thus you cannot step twice into the same river. That is valid today. The microphone and the phonograph were put together lately in the 19th Century. At the end of the development of many enhancements stood the tape recorder with an integrated microphone that allowed the recording of many parallel channels. A large change came with the analog digital converter. It made it possible to store sounds digitally. A fundamental transformation was created by the miniaturization of the components. Nowadays microphones are available with integrated recording devices. Transition is in the end the overlay of all enhancements, changes and transformations.

The various degrees of changes can be represented by overlaying waves. The frequencies may vary thereby. Others appear out of nowhere, as for example the World Wide Web. At the end it is impossible to predict future circumstances due to the complexity of the overlays. On closer look you find the following differences.

  • Enhancement
    The rework of an existing part makes the greater good better. For this purpose the component is not replaced, but simply refined through post-processing, adjustment or the strengthening of its components. If you use for example more effective oil, the machine runs smoother. As long as nothing changes in the basic build and/or the interferences are very small, it is called enhancement. We learned from Japan the word Kaizen for the enhancements in small steps, the western CIP. A large quantity of these small adjustments results on a long-term basis in changes.
  • Change
    If you replace individual parts with new ones, we speak of change. In this case a component is completely replaced by inserting a revised, reshaped or completely reconceived component. A good example is the invention of the transistor that replaces the error-prone tubes in radios. The larger good is improved, but remains in its essential structure. If all components are replaced over time with new ones, you get in the mid-term an imperceptible transformation.
  • Transformation
    When a fundamental conversion of a complex system takes place, it changes all parameters – parts, components, bearing elements and above all the handling, the purpose and the impact. Good examples are the Kondratjev waves, which show the cyclic developments of the economy based on new technology. The structure changes so drastically that the future users have to be prepared, introduced and trained for the radical change. Usually in the beginning the understanding for the meaningfulness, the necessity and the usages is missing. Transformations have an extensive influence on the transition.
  • Transition
    Out of all enhancements, changes and transformations arise the transition. In the course of time new ideas are put one on the other and lead at some point to a paradigm shift. These are very large changes, which take a long time. Eventually a very large area is affected. The digitization is such a change. It results from the interaction of the information technology and the communication infrastructure, the Internet.

More or less rethinking is required from the involved people depending on the degree of the change. The enhancement and change, which refer to clear structures and mechanical systems, are often overseen. They are hidden in internal technical matters and even unnoticeable, or just a little, in the operation.

The transformation and the change go beyond. They change many aspects at the same time and require a reorientation of the users, which leads naturally to resistances. At first the involved people have to become acquainted to the new. Then introductions are necessary, which convey the appropriate usage. When all is said and done such innovations need also new regulations, which ensure the safe application.

Bottom line: Changes happens in different degrees. The transition results eventually from the overlay of the different modifications. The stronger the modification, the more you have to strive for the understanding of the users with the help of change management.

The door – the ideal metaphor for change

Changes are complex procedures that are differentiated by the strength, the duration and the frequency. The sliding transitions from one state to the next are mostly not distinct. The actual quantum leap happens on microscopic level, not visible for the human eye. In order to be aware of the changes and their procedure, doors offer a tangible example. The door – the ideal metaphor for change.


The mental connection between doors and changes show the following examples.

  • In front of the door
    The area in front of the door symbolizes the phase before the change. You are in front of one or more doors and you have to decide, through which one you should go. At this moment you can only assume, what you find behind the different doors. Thus, a decision with uncertainty takes place. Questions that jump to your mind are: Is the new better than the existent? Which door promises the most? What do you leave behind? Can I go back? Do you have to select a door at all?
    In business, you have to be aware of the current situation and develop scenarios for the different prospects. It means that you have to take care of the change, before it actually begins.
  • Within the door
    Depending on the thickness of the door frame, you are in the door for a more or less long time. If it is a thin wall, you cope this phase unnoticed. However, the door frame can also be very thick. In extreme cases, it becomes a tunnel, in which you are for a long time. It takes very long until you come out on the other side. During the transition you are in an undefined condition – no more in the old, but not yet in the new. Meanwhile you ask yourself: Did I select the right door? What happens, as long as I am not on the other side? Can I turn and go back within the door frame?
    In business, some changes happen quite fast and others take weeks, months sometimes years. In this case, the old has to be kept running and at the same time the new has to be prepared without clear Governance.
  • After the door
    As soon as you passed the door, you are on the other side. The change is accomplished and you recognize slowly, what you committed for. This creates relief. At the same time, you recognize sooner or later that after the door is before the door – again many doors, from which you must select one. With a positive attitude the curious discovery of the new situation begins. You can get the following questions: Was it the right door? Does the result correspond to my expectations? What do I get? How does it feel, to have given up some things? Should I go back?
    In business, you harvest the expected benefit after the door and consolidate the new situation. Thus, the new is the valid reality.

As we are encountering within a day on innumerable doors that we pass thoughtlessly, we are facing incessantly extensive, business decisions. We cross most doors unnoticed, since we are not aware of the consequences. Others bring us to a stop, to consider, because we notice that the next steps result in large changes.

Bottom line: If we imagine a change as a door, we can answer consciously the questions, what should be done in front of the door, during the transition and after the door. All involved people should be clear that it is not about the actual change, but about the right preparation, the fast realization and the follow-up. That makes doors ideal metaphors for changes.

Planned transformations need a targeted strategy

Change takes place constantly. As long as you are drifting, you leave your fate to others. If it does not run in the  expected direction, some speak of superior forces that they cannot control. If advantages appear, then they are pleased about the fortune and the divine providence, which gives them benevolently positive results. Of course nobody would get the idea to drive a car, without changing gears and, above all, without steering. But planned transformations need a targeted strategy, even if many are critical.


The most important task is setting the direction that provides the framework for the planning in all areas. This sketch consists of

  • an emotionally loaded picture of the future, which encourages the staff,
  • a comprehensible reason, the mission,
  • a set of premises, the critical success factors, the value disciplines and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks,
  • a rough direction that describes growth or contraction and/or first or second order changes,
  • defined general goals that should be reached, and
  • the core of the enterprise that determines the crucial capabilities, processes and deliverables.

Those who consider the individual parts can benefit from it. Nevertheless enterprises and departments allow themselves the luxury to act without a formulated strategy. What is the problem?

  • Above all, many do not understand the components and the application of the plan. It is as if one would have a bow and arrows, but never saw or learned or tried their usage.
  • Without a personal conception of what you want to reach, you cannot provide direction. It is as if you can shoot with the bow, but you do not know, where the target is.
  • Even if some have the picture of the future before their inner eye, they let themselves too much time, in order to translate it in words and representations. It is, as if you direct the bow toward the goal, but you cannot decide of letting the arrow go.
  • Frequently the plan for the future is prepared and published, but the outcome is not determined. As if you would shoot the arrow and you would not be interested in the impact in the target.
  • If planning does not achieve the desired results, then many do not have the ability to readjust. It is as if you would not continue trying to hit the target after the arrow missed the target.
  • If you achieved, what you wanted, then people think that they need the strategy any more. It is as if one would hit in the bull’s eye and would thereafter shoot no more arrows.

BTW, the probability of a hit without shot is equal to zero. After the shot is before the shot. In this sense the development of a strategy is a continuous task that is necessary.

Bottom line: The strategy is a fixed part of everyday business. All parts fulfill their purpose of aligning the employees to a joint goal. Daily practice is burdened by clumsy use of the parts. However, if you want to steer transformation, nothing else remains than a targeted strategy.

Actually they want change. Or not?

The way into the future is a daring venture that requires constantly decisions, because it is full of unforeseeable bifurcations. Some decisions are easy. People can also let themselves be drifted. There are also moments, which provide alternatives that are not sufficient for them. As soon as the change pressure cannot be taken any longer, they actively care to get off the predefined path. Financial and personnel resources will be planned and the commitment for change will be announced. Actually it looks like they want change. Or not?


It is an extreme adventure, if one dares a leap from an outdated state into an uncertain future. The insecurity about the result creates a high risk. In order to make that leap, a defined precondition is the will for change. At the same time such projects offer the opportunity for a large career jump – potentially upward or downward. The consequence is to be torn between the reachable success and the deep abyss that opens up after a failure. Is it surprising that the responsible executives lack a certain continuity and consequence? What do the change leaders need, in order to be successful?

  • A clear conception of the future
    Change without a target is evolutionary shift, which is determined by the context and can only be affected indirectly. To pull off you need a vision that conveys the destination in such a way, as if it is already reached. Packed into a plausible story the way becomes visible that leads towards the goal.
  • The enthusiasm for the future
    Responsible executives must burn for this future in order to ignite the other people. The enthusiasm does not only show up in a positive snapshot of the future, but also in the congruent example that the pioneers show in their role model function.
  • The way into the future
    The responsible people must be ahead of all others on the way into the future, not standing indifferently beside and only propel. They lose their reliability, if they do not create the impression to believe in it. It must be clear to everyone that the way into the future will be stony and full of obstacles. The price for keeping up is the brave new world.
  • Decisiveness for the necessary measures
    In order to make progress with the change, it needs decisiveness and consequence. Particularly in the beginning the momentum is determined that will be needed during the realization to be able to get over larger difficulties. The necessary measures go beyond the content-related solutions. There are special tools available in change management that make the changes possible – convincing and engaging publications as well as the open discourses with the target groups.
  • The willingness to change oneself
    The personal willingness to change of all responsible people them is crucial for the success of the initiatives. They must leave their personal comfort zone and take risks, so that the others develop the confidence that allows them to admit the changes. If the responsible persons do not show this readiness, the project fails rather earlier than later.

So that room is available for innovation, you also have to let go things, which are actually completely pleasing. Change makers, who do not achieve to convey the change, to act respectively and to let those pleasant advantages go cause

  • continuous delay of the change projects,
  • lack of concrete results,
  • confusion through permanent micro management,
  • uncertainty due to repetitive goal changes and
  • demotivation with unjustified accusations.

Change management begins in the mind of all involved and concerned people. Those, who are part of the problem, have difficulties to stick to these changes. For this reason, one needs neutral third views, which are free of personal involvement, who have the look for the substantial aspects and effective tools for change, so that the transition succeeds.

Bottom line: Change processes only work as well, as the responsible people, who perform them. The pre-conditions are the inspiring vision, the predefined way into the future, the decisiveness and the readiness to change of the responsible people. Who is not ready to admit is doomed to failure. They actually want change. Or not?


No, poor, particular, pure

Between the years we compare frequently the passing with the coming year. We look at the changes that make the difference between the old and the new year. The degree of change that one is striving for, can reach from no, to poor, to particular or to pure change.


Actually there are never no changes, since everything is changing permanently. Here, we concentrate on the changes that we activate by ourselves. All grades of change have a meaning.

  • No change
    The desire not to change anything results from the satisfaction with the current circumstances or from the fears of uncertainty. Since the environment is continuously changing by itself, this decision results in the fact that people let themselves drift away – wherever the environment drives to. The ravages of time make only few things better. Stradivari’s or other natural instruments win over time sound and playability. Actually, there are no other examples that things do not suffer as time goes by. Especially for this reason one should always strive actively for changes.
  • Poor change
    Poor changes result from everyday readjusting due to the personal advancement or the recalibration to the changing conditions. With a variety of small changes one comes into noticeable new conditions over time. A statue of marble gets glossier by patiently polishing its surface. The sword becomes sharper, the more often the steel is folded when forging. These are above all the small things that shape the way into the future. For this reason, one should constantly poke the fire and develop oneself through small escapes from the comfort zone.
  • Particular change
    A particular change becomes possible, if one permits a noticeable modification in one step. In such a case the changes are immediately visible for everybody. The world is not turned upside down. The important aspects of our everyday life are the things that can be changed. And in this case not all at once – a new eating style, trendy clothes, new interests or a personal coming out. All these do not change the personality as a whole, but they dissolve an old style or add a new variation. We move on a way that is nowadays still irreversible. One should use the time that remains.
  • Pure change
    The strongest change jumps from one condition to a completely new one. It is difficult to recognize the origin. One may be able to obtain similar effects over a long time. However, the revolutionary shift, the pure change, leads quickly into new conditions. It should not be a change on a whim, because afterwards nothing stays the same. That way one benefits from the new advantages fastest and longest with regard to the future.

Change incessantly takes place whether one takes care or not. It creates not only profits, but also losses, since one replaces something old by something new. For change management it is necessary to ask oneself, whether, and if yes, how to change oneself. No matter which change degree one selects, it will not be the last change.

Bottom line: Change is a permanent alternation of the conditions, whether one releases it, or whether it is released by context. All people have control by actively worrying about their re-design. Each modification is good. Each variation is only a further condition. Change follows after change.

The biggest mistake in Change management

The world changes the Homo sapiens and the Homo sapiens changes the world. And for sure these alterations happened with pain. Who really knows how many people burned their fingers with the discovery of the fire or struck their fingers painfully in the invention of hand axes. Innumerable humans paid with their life the spreading and the changing of religions and political systems. If today enterprises introduce huge changes, many employees are concerned. Nevertheless the leading team makes again and again the largest error in Change management.


Everything starts with change pressure. This results from the will for change or the psychological strain of the management team. Depending on whether the decision makers want to new or away from unwanted procedures and behavior, they have to overcome different hurdles.

Heading for new shores contains much positive energy. This eases the definition of the direction. The way out of problematic routines has to overcome more negative energy, in order to find its way. In both cases it is important to bring the strategy into a structure, so that the concerned people of the involved areas understand what has to be achieved.

The participation is an important pre-requisite, so that the new ideas have at all an opportunity to be realized. For this purpose, the integration of the people, who have to change, is crucial at an as early as possible stage. The transformation, in which the target group participates in the development, can be easier realized.

Change always happens in the mind of individual people. The proverbial „Nuremberg funnel” unfortunately does not exist. Everybody has to achieve the transformation by themselves. Managers have no other chance than ensuring attractive perspectives for all people.

Some management teams believe that it is sufficient to define the direction. The employees have no other choice than going along with the change. Unfortunately this is not the way it goes. The resistances that unfold unnoticed in the daily business can prevent the complete initiative.

Many limit themselves to lavish marketing and communication measures. They hope that the prepared messages convince the employees to join in. For an inexplicable reason, they however avoid the direct contact to the target group. Therefore it is important to establish feedback channels that allow determining difficulties before they grow and than will only be dissolved with very large expenditure.

Effective Change management worries about the smooth operational sequence of the activities. For this purpose the direct contact to the working groups and the target people is important. The biggest mistake in Change management that the leadership team can make is to stay away from the target group during the changes by only involving representatives. That way you do not get the necessary feedback that would facilitate to adapt oneself to the new world for all involved people.

The following aspects lead to hurdles and abysses that overload needlessly the transformation.

  • Too little information,
  • Too little participation,
  • Too little cooperation and
  • Too little listening to the concerned people.

Bottom line: The biggest mistake in the Change management is not to consider the target areas. Frequent publications and official endorsement by the decision makers as well as an intact mutual exchange of opinions and mental states are the basis for successful changes.

There are always at least three alternatives

Many will know the following situation. You have concrete ideas for the annual target planning about what you want to do in the following twelve months – e.g. the innovative project, the oversea assignment or the advertising tour in a neighboring country. The boss has unfortunately different plans – e.g. administrating the customer data, preparing the move into a new location and the revision of internal documents. Besides the wide area of compromises, there are always at least three alternatives that result from your desires and the proposals of the boss.


Which basic option do you have?

  1. I manage to convince my boss.
    It seems unfair that the superior does not assign the desired tasks to you. It is perhaps only because of the fact that he does not know your ambitions. As long as you do not try to convey your own wishes comprehensibly, you cannot expect that these come true. Clarify the three reasons, why exactly you are the right person for the innovative project. Show your abilities that qualify you for the assignment overseas. This includes for example the mastery of foreign languages or personal experiences in the country of destination. Put these arguments into the balance, if you want to go on an advertising tour in the neighboring country. Convey your ambitions in such a way that the superior understands the future benefits that he will achieve as soon as he gives you the task. Only if your point of view is known, you can expect that the boss acts accordingly. Make efforts to regularly demonstrate your strengths. Then your desired door will open.
  2. I change my expectations.
    At best you adapt. Finally we are the ones that have full control of ourselves. However, this does not mean that you let yourself control by somebody else and pass the choice over your own fate to other people. But some tasks are more attractive, than they seem at first sight. The experiences that you can make, when you administrate the customer data, can by far exceed the superficially missing fun of the innovative project. Also the new contacts that result from the relocation can bring in the long run more advantages than the assignment overseas. The general knowledge that you acquire by revising the internal documents, exceeds the insights that you can collect with the marketing tour. At first sight you apparently give something up. In fact, you win valuable new options by adjusting the own expectations.
  3. I change the job.
    The first two points represent the two poles black and white. But life happens in the grey area between the two. However, as soon as you find no compromise that appeal to you AND your boss, you still have the third alternative – you separate. Take your needs seriously. If you do not convince your boss and you are not convinced by any of the offered alternatives, then you may be in the wrong place. You will quickly notice that you get considerably farther, when you search consequently for a new challenge. Do not hesitate to change the job, when you find something else that pleases you. You do yourself AND your boss a favor, if you untangle the unsolvable knot.

Bottom line: If both parties can not give up their point of view and ‘both-and’ is not possible, there is still the third alternative. You can avoid the unsolvable decision, by simply separating. The frustration that evolves, if you avoid the third alternative only because you postpone it, the damage will be bigger than the change that you have to face.

Change requires the right level of suffering

Amazing changes happen in nature, the so-called metamorphosis. In the course of this, creatures turn naturally from one status in a different one. In companies, the management takes care of these kinds of transformation. What triggers these kinds of changes?


A tadpole is changing into a frog. A caterpillar is changing into a butterfly. The environment defines the trigger and the duration of these mutations. Thus stimulates the lack of oxygen in caterpillar hormones that triggers the skinning.

Shortages also cause changes in an enterprise. As soon as the respective level of suffering is reached, reshaping is possible. The driver of change create ‘pain’ in the areas of

  • Technology
  • Culture
  • Organization
  • Economy.

These exogenous influences create the need for change and are not controlled by the company. It can only react to it. The disturbance that the driver of change effect, reach the staff sooner or later. On this basis, the readiness of the involved people to change increases and allows the far-reaching redesign of self-image, business model or strategy (click here for more). All it takes now is a smart guidance of the change and metamorphosis happens.

Bottom-Line: Initiatives of change are lacking momentum, understanding and readiness of the people without the right level of suffering.