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Archive for managing change

Find Change Agents That Get the Job Done

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. ~ Gail Sheehy

Managing change in organizations is not easy unless you have the right leadership in place. This is why finding the best change agents is essential for ensuring smooth transitions. You want to find people who have the right qualifications to move the company forward successfully. Identifying this type of leadership will make the process less stressful and give you the reassurance that goals will be met. However, finding those who are good at managing change in the workplace will also take some strategic planning. You can start by focusing on the top five qualities listed below to find strong leaders who will guide your company in the right direction.

Change Agents are Willing to Embrace New Ideas

Change is usually met with resistance because people are uncomfortable with the unknown. In my keynotes and seminars on managing change, I hear about it all the time! While this is to be expected, your change agents must not have this attitude. You want to find people who are excited about new ideas and willing to implement them with enthusiasm. Otherwise, you will have leaders who sabotage the process along the way. You also want change agents to be fully committed without any apprehension on their part. This will set the tone for others who are following these leaders and encourage them to work together toward the new goals.

Leaders Believe in the Big Picture of Growth

Managing change in the workplace effectively means that leaders must always have the big picture in their mind. The best companies are the ones that can grow to reflect the needs of their customers. Your employees might be in love with the same software they have used for the last five years; but if it doesn’t serve your increasing global customers, the business will be impacted. Leaders know how implementing changes will make their company grow and thrive. They also have the ability to communicate the big picture to their employees who can be confused and disappointed by new policies. By sharing this overall vision, the change agents will be more respected for making sure everyone understands the importance of the latest modifications.

Striving for Results Fuels Their Motivation

When it comes to managing change in organizations, staying on task is what great change agents do best. They are the first ones to realize that results will fuel their motivation and also increase their employees’ productivity. Especially when the changes that take longer to implement can be frustrating to employees who are relying on workarounds to get things done. Understanding this can happen; effective change agents will highlight benchmarks as progress is being made. They might also propose incentives that encourage their employees to meet milestones sooner which will make the goals more manageable.

Courage Comes Easily to Change Agents

Change agents who show courage will have the easiest time achieving their goals. They know it is not a matter of if a conflict will stand in their path but when it will appear. They are never afraid by this prospect and instead seize the opportunity to obtain a quick resolution. They are also attentive when managing change in the workplace because they know their demeanor is being evaluated by their employees! If they act uncertain or get easily distressed by obstacles, then others will be hesitant in following them. Good change agents know that staying calm and focused on the end result will make each conflict a temporary diversion that can be successfully rectified.

They Gain Trust and Develop Buy-In Successfully

Since change is usually a scary undertaking, employees want to follow people they can trust. When change agents are trusted by their employees, goals align and buy-in is achieved. Even though those relationships take time to establish, leaders can build a solid foundation by regularly communicating to their employees. Change agents will take extra time to share the overall vision and identify each employee’s specific role in achieving successful results. They will also select leaders within each group to assist them in establishing buy-in. This will reinforce the idea that employees are part of the change instead of something randomly happening to them.

Managing change in organizations takes the right leaders, process and perseverance to succeed. When all of these components are applied correctly you will develop an organization that not only survives transitions but also prospers. Hang in there!

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert, Motivational Speaker

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and motivational keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690 in Portland, Oregon.

Developing Change Leaders

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

~ John F. Kennedy

In many industries, the only way to remain competitive is to change – and often change rapidly. As Mark Sanborn once said, “Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business.” Change doesn’t happen typically by itself, though. Who is going to lead this critical change in your organization?

This is where a Change Leader comes into play!

What is a Change Leader?

A Change Leader is an employee, appointed by the executive sponsor of the change initiative, who provides the daily leadership, coordination and enthusiasm needed for change management. A Change Leader’s normal duties may be scaled back, in order for them to have the time to address the needs of the change management process. Additionally, a Change Leader has the duty and the power to motivate employees at all levels of the organization, to ensure the change project is completed.

How to Develop Change Leaders

There are certain traits that accompany effective Change Leaders. Change Leaders are typically positive and upbeat. They are “do’ers,” taking action when action is needed. They are emotionally stable and do not let the challenges of the job at hand get them down. Effective Change Leaders are open, outgoing and friendly. Lastly, Change Leaders are confident in not only their abilities but also in the projects they adopt, knowing they will succeed!

Following are ways to develop these key traits and create effective Change Leaders in your organization.

  • Change management training – To be effective, your Change Leader needs to understand the basic principles and theories behind change management. Additionally, they need to be able to utilize the tools and mechanisms that will be important in successfully implementing the change.

  • Build on natural talents – When selecting which employees to develop into Change Leaders, look at their natural, soft skill sets. Look for those employees who have an optimistic attitude and who like to get involved. Employees who are willing to head up projects and are eager to make a real difference in the company are excellent candidates to develop into Change Leaders!

  • Use mentors – Form mentor relationships between the developing Change Leader and key executives. This will help them learn what has worked in the past when implementing change, and what hasn’t. Executives can give real world examples of changes that have already been implemented and help them avoid some of the pitfalls.

  • Network your Change Leaders – Having a network of other organizational Change Leaders a developing Change Leader can learn from and turn to is a significant resource. When challenges or questions arise, being able to turn to other Change Leaders for advice or assistance is invaluable.

In the end, by developing Change Leaders in the organization, you can help ensure changes are implemented as effectively and efficiently as possible, keeping you one step ahead of your competition!

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.


Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.

 “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echos are truly endless.” ~ Mother Teresa

     When dealing with difficult people, the word “kind” may not be the first thing that comes to your mind.Still, the above quote by Mother Teresa is a terrific one to remember so that we don’t become the difficult people. We know to treat others with respect – even those who are hurtful toward us, but we don’t always do with what we know. It’s starts with remembering – and practicing – the basics. What are the basics? Treat the difficult person with at least  some reverence, and don’t take what they say personally. How do you do that? Please read on…

     Let me first say that in presenting keynotes and seminars on dealing with difficult people, the question I’m most often asked is, “How do you not take it personally?”

     Accept that what others do to you is not always personal. Seek first to understand them and what they might be going through. For example, you’d heard people say, “Walk in someone else’s shoes.” Here’s why that advice works: It get you out of your own agenda of believing a hurtful interaction was directed at you.

     Know that most difficult interactions don’t happen because someone woke up one day and decided, “I know what I’ll do! I’ll purposely be mean to Jane Doe today.” Most people just don’t think that way – even difficult people.

Dealing with Difficult People, and Collateral Damage

     Instead, realize that the number one source of difficult interactions is what I call “collateral damage.” People do what they do for their own reasons, and it’s easy to get caught in the crosshairs of their actions. In my role as a corporate speaker with companies and associations all over the world, I frequently witness this happening in the workplace. And especially if you’re a salesperson, your first rule is to not take rejection of your product, service, or message as a rejection of you.

     So take a snapshot of other people’s lives at the time, think about the pressures they’re under, and then accept that what they did to you wasn’t about you. Don’t take it personally. It’s advice that’s trite but true.

     As bestselling author Stephen R. Covey wrote, “Seek first to understand then to be understood.” Adopting that attitude lets you realize that whatever others did to make something difficult for you, they didn’t do it to you. They just did it.


A frequent media guest, Colleen Kettenhofen is the author of two books, Secrets Your Boss Isn’t Telling You, and the upcoming Adopting Joy. Colleen is author of the 10-CD audio learning system, How to Turn Around Any Situation or Person. Her areas of expertise are leadership, dealing with difficult people, managing change, and improving presentation skills. For free articles, or to sign up for Colleen’s newsletter, visit Colleen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions and seminars by calling toll free (800)323-0683. Or, locally in Phoenix (623)340-7690.