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First Steps

Day one of the change management process is the most daunting. It’s like the first day on the new job! You have to ask yourself, “What the hell have I got myself into this time?” But never fear, that’s why you and I are here. I will share my 40 plus years of experience as a practitioner/manager, consultant/advisor and academic/researcher with you.


As a practitioner, I have the management experience – which includes my share of mistakes. Learning from your mistakes and the mistakes of others is an important way to identify a pending change and solve the problem.


As a consultant, I was usually called in to help an organization that had a problem. And that problem was that someone had not seen change coming. My advice to you, which will greatly reduce my consulting practice, is to anticipate change and to manage it before it manages you. One of the causalities of an unanticipated problem is the person who didn’t see it coming. Fair or not, I have seen this occur over and over. And it usually a high-level manager who didn’t manage the change. When a costly mistake, be it financial or cultural, is made then the overseers like to blame someone other than themselves. In business the overseers are a board of directors and in government they are elected officials.


As an academic, I have gained access to some of the great thought leaders in the field of change management. On of them, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, has given one of the more profound treatises regarding change in his book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007). It is the improbable that we need to anticipate. I will weave his ideas and others into the narrative of my book.

O.K., let’s get with the program. The first of the first steps is to figure what the problem is.

1.1 Problem Solving/Scoping

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