The Favorites Game: Engage for Change

By: Kristin Clarke

Getting Change Right author Seth Kahan's thoughts on doomed change strategies, role models, and more.

In his latest book, Getting Change Right, consultant Seth Kahan focuses on how leaders can create the support for successful long-term organizational change.

According to Kahan, change often fails because "leaders don't focus on getting that message out and creating a social movement. Instead, they focus on the business case and the value of the change. … Instead of telling someone to implement something, leaders have to create what I call 'suction' or uptake, so people want it."

Kahan's favorite misconception is that "the only people who like change are web babies. People are not resistant to change at all," he says. "They're just resistant to change they think is useless, foolish, or going to be hard."

See Kahan's article "How to Build Performance Communities" for more of his thoughts on change. Here are some of his other favorites:

  • Favorite lesson from Getting Change Right: That ideas travel on their own when they're good ideas. The change-leader's job is to find the ideas worthy of the people who would be implementing them.
  • Favorite way to gain someone's attention: Do something that is shocking but in alignment with their goals.
  • Favorite engagement technique: I love face-to-face events.
  • Favorite business role model: Pat Jones of the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association [where Kahan used to work]. He's an evangelist for the organization.
  • Favorite personal change you've made: Getting in shape in the last nine months. I feel so much better, so much stronger.
  • Favorite way to detect a doomed change strategy: I ask, "How much time are you spending in project planning?" Then, "How many people are you talking to?" If you're not talking to a lot of people right off the bat, you're in trouble.
  • Favorite advice ever received: The thing that limits us most in this life is what we believe we can do.

Contributed by Kristin Clarke, a writer and researcher for ASAE. Email: [email protected]