Guided Change

I have written, tweeted and even presented a fair amount about change. Change in personal, business and organization environments. The one thing I have not shared is that desired change is guided.


Many speak about change as if it was a package you can just pull from the shelves, It’s not. Proper change is a guiding process which requires outside supporter, experts and journey guides. No desired change happens in a vacuum, we all need someone else to guide us along the path, because each of us travels at a different rate and course. There is no one single plan that can work for everyone.

Over the past many years I have worked with some powerful teams help clients with change. In every interaction, the clients that were the most successful had a clear picture of what change would look like and feel like. By creating what they wanted to become and mapping it out, could individuals, teams or whole organizations understand the path that they needed to take and the obstacles to overcome. Most importantly, they knew they had a guide to help them when they faltered or got off course.

Take as an example of personal hardship and eating disorders. a young woman who had fallen into a ritual of poor eating to fit in with the crowd. When she finally realized, after great pain and medical issues, that she needed to change, she found a guide coach who could help her change, not change her. Soon she was on the road to who she wanted to become, and not what others wanted her to be. Read her story here and see how she is now helping guide others along the path she once traversed. The Unpolished Journey.

The second thing I have rarely shared about change is that it is never over. Change is ever evolving as time passes and events unfold around the change that is happening. With change, you can only describe what you believe you wish to become, map the path and begin the journey. Change is not a destination, but truly a journey where new ideas and revelations are revealed that may take you even further. As with Morgan Blair, founder of The Unpolished Journey, her journey of change rippled out around her, changed her from traveller to guide.

Now let’s take an organization who needs and wants to change. Healthcare organizations are being forced to change. These organizations are being directed from external forces. This method of change is not good nor will they control their outcomes. This is a spiral down and not a journey forward. Companies like Starizon are gathering people to help make change a positive path. Even the team members that help the transformation are called Guides and the client as explorers. In change, we explore options and possibilities and our guides help us, never lead or dictate the paths taken.

Change is transformation. We move from one state of being to another. Transformation is the journey we take to self discovery and change. Just as illustrated below, change is only possible in the future state, the past is unchangeable. In order to cross the gap of change, We need to redefine our purpose of why, map the process of ‘How’ to achieve ‘What’ we want to become.

Change Deltasm

To learn more or chat about how mapping your bridge to the future, just contact me when you decide that you want to take control of your own change.

Asking the “Big Why”

I have experienced many times during visual ideation sessions with stakeholders, that most executives can answer the basic questions of What, How, When, Where and even Who, but when confronted with what I call the “Big Why”, most stop cold in their tracks. In some cases, one of the stakeholders might quote their Vision statement or even their Mission statement in hopes that this will fulfill the “Big Why.” Not really the best response.

What do you ask, is a “Big Why” and my reasons for asking? That’s pretty simple to answer. It’s asking 2 key “Why” questions; “Why are you here today?” and “Why do you do what you do?” The purpose of these two types of questions is to uncover some deeper, more meaningful  and underlying answers. To strike deep into the core of the brand or culture of an organization and find out what is driving the machine and where it maybe heading.

Why are you here? What reasons can you give that can clarify why your organization wants or needs to change. Yes, I said change. You see, no company or group of people change uniformly or even willingly. It goes against human nature to desire change and to act on it. So when I ask groups why they are here, it provokes the emotional response that can not be answered very easily without exploration.

As for the second Big Why; why do you do what you do? It’s about uncovering what drives the organization. Is there passion in what they do. Is there a cause that the organization believes in and stands for, if not, then the change that maybe needed is to discover their direction, passion and/or purpose. This discovery in itself can trigger the beginning of change.

So the next time you have a management meeting, brainstorm about a new product or service, plan the next year’s strategy or simple sit down together and chat about the organization, ask the “Big Whys” and see where your organization stands and then you can begin change.

If you want to know more about the power of Why, then watch this piece on Simon Sinek and his lecture on “Start with Why” and how great leaders avoid begin with what and start with why.