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Glossary Archives - Garrett's Change Management Blog

Change Management Horizontals


For Change, and for strategy, horizontals exist within the organization.

Each level has a role, obviously for operations, but additionally for translation, communication and leadership in connection to change. This is often misunderstood, misrepresented and rarely tackled by change practitioners. If change management fails (which is a dubious statement considering all the things in the way) it is because horizontals are not understood and do not fulfill their potential role for change. (Read that again if your organization also has weak operational strategy).

You can look at this from the “top” and think cascade. You can look at this from the “bottom” and see the expectation chain. You can start anywhere in the middle to figure out your own roles, responsibility and possibility. We will start at the top since big change (as in transformational, truly, my favorite) must begin with the owner and disseminate through the organization (note I did not say cascade).

The Horizontals

The Chief Executive

Typically this is the CEO.

The larger the organization the more this person has an external focus. I use the term figurehead which I am told can seem derogatory. A figurehead can have charisma, be good at representation and smooth things out (nothing bad about that). In a smaller organization (or a founder based-still company) the CEO is half inside and half outside the organization.

For change this person is both the dad (or mom these days) who comes home and must dole out the discipline AND the guy (or woman) who takes you over to the school to play ball and laugh. They can be leveraged for either, play one role strongly or play both at the right time. I like to think of them as the “no” you never really use (once you start using no and doling out punishment each successive occasion gets a little weaker). They are also the holder of the compliment that is oh so rare.

They translate out to the external environment.

They communicate the connection of the change to the future of the organization (both in and out of the company). They are usually too disconnected to have leadership ability for change (this is less true in smaller organizations).

High Level Leader

This is the owner of the change.

They set the vision for the organization operationally. For change they must learn to describe end states, especially their own, in multiple ways. They are the ones who can turn that place, that spot that will exist at the end of the change, into a picture and a feeling that people can grab on to. They set the tone, they start leadership trust and they are the lever for all the other horizontals. A present and engaged owner is a godsend for change.

Translation for the high level leader is turning the idea into something that seems and feels tangible (note it is not actually tangible until we get to the other horizontals). Communication is visibility for the end state, for acknowledgement along the way and for high level leadership of the change process. Leadership has some cheerleading to it, and at times, some hard truth leading.


The Implementary Leader is the one who makes the most important translation- vision to objective.

That great idea is all well and good, but what does that mean? What will pull people to that spot? If a stakeholder were to stand at that end state and look back what will they say was the grand accomplishment? This person must be able to make that translation- the first step toward tangible change.

Their role in the change process is the translation to purpose.

They must communicate their own interpretation of the end state from a position of expertise. If they can articulate how they fit in for end states then they can make the translation for others. Communication, for them, is often connected to some division of the organizations strategy- pillars is the most used term. “They” for this horizontal may mean multiple people. Co-implementary leaders is very common. It works well if they can disconnect a bit from their operational, functional roles and lead their cohorts stakeholders as well as their own (which reciprocates back and forth and, you hope, smoothes out silos).

Program Level

Program level leads manage goals and goal setting.

They are the first level senior leadership in the organization with the role of making things happen. (Yes sometimes the role of translating orders into instant harried work). They must understand how the idea turned into a vision, what made that become objectives and what the goals will be to both make that happen and tie people to the end state and change.

Multiple streams of goals must be managed at this level. This leader may even have responsibility for multiple initiatives (which then have multi-program/multi-project components). They are the sponsors (there WILL be more than one at this horizontal). A sponsor contributes, participates and encourages others.

They make the translation to something people can put their hands, hearts and heads too.

Communication here is to make clear end states and what that might mean, in general, for expertise, work, people and organizational changes. They are the ones who show how to put the blue blocks together, the yellow in a stack and the white side by side. They help organize at a high level view- that is their leadership role and strength when done well.

Translation to Work/Time

At the project level all that vision, a few objectives and a stack of goals must become work.

The project level Facilitator gets all the ducks lined up in  a row. They make sure that the right people are ready, know who comes before them and who they hand off to and what the time on the watch says. Translation  here is to tangible. It does not get any more tangible than people working hard together on task.

They translate grand schemes into what people value- their own skill and sweat.

This person, assuming the leaders previous did a good job, can make change worth it. Communication here has a chance to compliment, to build trust, to make connections to other horizontals, to wield more power and influence than the organization officially gives them. If that is used wisely the best kind of leadership happens to support change- leading by example right next to the people you are modeling for.

Translation to Specifics

The biggest widest horizontal, the one that is less siloed than all the others and the place where the ultimate translation happens- idea to task- is here.

This horizontal is what my kids call the “worker bees”. They mean that in a complimentary way. They mean people are doing stuff that produces results you can see. A worker bee moves the leaves out of the way. A worker bee writes the code that supports the ultimate function of the software. Those bees tap keys that save the data for decisions, corrections and revenue.

The sad part is that most initiatives force all these people (stop for a second and think that this horizontal, in many ways, is actually EVERY stakeholder, at every level) to make their own translations.

Because while they are silently screaming communication out not much is coming in, or down, that helps place work/people in context with idea/end state. They often lead themselves. They can be very good at organically directing needs and ideas through and up the organization. They get really frustrated at the slowness, the silos and status quo when they can see easy solutions. (And to think, you have been calling that “resistance”).

There you have it. The six horizontals and their role as translators, communicators and leaders of change.

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You Drive a Car, not Change


There is a long list of words that do not help for languaging change.

The use of those words is heavily influenced by “gurus” from the past, from the project focus stranglehold and from the comical (if it weren’t so detrimental) use of business speak.

Words signal perspective. Perspective signals approach. Approach effects change. You can choose to have that effect be positive or not so. Choose wisely. The negative effects are barely visible, but add up over time to weak change efforts.

I found one that should be easy to explain.

“Driving Change”

You “drive” cars and maybe trucks and motorcycles and things with engines. Drive change and I guarantee you will have  a lot of people sitting out the trip. I cringe when I see documents for the orchestration of change (there’s a big fancy synonym for “drive”) use the actual term “drive change”.

Back to my warning: this signals those involved (or worse those “driving” the design of change) think change is about pushing, so they will likely push very hard with everything they do, people do not like to be pushed (pulled yes). A negative pattern will follow. The pushing doesn’t work so the pusher increases their effort. The increase in effort changes unwillingness to rebellion (or something less revolutionary). Revolution is one kind of change…

What You Can “Drive”

If you absolutely need to be driving something look to task. You can drive a to do list. You can drive a process within a phase (don’t drive the change process). You can drive an individual (likely related to task and development) if they acknowledge that is OK and helpful.

You can drive perspective around something (not change). You can push an agenda or a tool or the implementation of parts of IT change.

What you can’t drive is behavioral change.

Who is the Driver of Change?

Not the practitioner! Not the change leader! Not a falsely empowered mid level “champion”!

The “driver” (I keep using quotes because that means so called- so-called words are easy to sweep away) of behavioral change at least is… the individual.

If they choose to “drive” their own change that might be good. In the case of specifics like individual task they may be willing to delegate the driving to someone else. Think about that though. The real driver delegates and then becomes a passenger. Ha. Same thing happens when one person insists on driving…

What Word Do We Use Then?

For the practitioner: you guide, you mentor, you direct (if you must have something that makes you look like you are in charge), you assist, you explain, you reveal. Practitioners must be semi-silent leaders. As soon as they take charge stakeholders tend to move to the back seat and watch the scenery.

For the change leader: you model, you too mentor, you demonstrate, you explain, you describe, you interact, you lead (lead begs following unlike driving which indicates control).

For the external consultant creating a change structure: you stop. Stop following the outdated change approaches from the past. CM is maturing, has matured. That stuff doesn’t work any more- stakeholders are too wise. When I see this approach in documents it signals to me the consultants really do not know what they are doing (and are part of the 95% out there who curate rather than produce new content).

If the hidden effect of words intrigues you (and you can handle my wonderful disillusionment) here are some more posts:

Change Management Don’t Use Words

Hidden Word Meanings

Impact is a Business Word

Where the Word Impact Might Make Sense

Change is not driven. It is guided. It is developed. It is shared. It is individual. It is behavioral. It happens because the place to arrive at makes sense and includes you and your expertise. You can continue to “drive” your car though…

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Change Management Taxonomy- Ownership and Implementation

Project to Big Change was our first taxonomy list.

Stakeholder, Team, Group, Function, Change Entity, Center of Expertise, Implementary Leader, Sponsor, Owner


Is anyone that will be involved in the change in any way. These stakeholders can be divided in different ways- it depends on client and practitioner focus. Which makes it a tough word to have shared meaning because internally it often means “those who will be effected”. Impact is a favorite word for my clients. I have yet to come up with substitute words. I should because in those “impact” aware environments too much focus is placed on implementation and not enough on the description of the change and the need for expertise (without which implementation gets difficult).


A team is a group of stakeholders. It is a group that has a specific role and specific task to accomplish. Teams usually form and then dissipate for change, although there are internal teams that go from change to change. Team level responsibility and ownership is usually for task accomplishment. Teams could be created for strategy early on in the change though.


Groups are stakeholders (or separate teams) put together under some definition. For my own work I use group definitions to help corral resources, define approach and figure out the best way to connect end state descriptions to stakeholders. Group definitions help when change is big, global and virtually connected.


Is first the old fashioned HR, Finance, Legal, etc. definition. Functions are verticals in the organization that have a certain expertise. This definition for change is important because big change often stays within big functions (I had a 20 million dollar functional engagement).

The other use of this word is functional expertise travelling horizontally in the organization to provide expertise for change. Obviously change management practitioners are a perfect example of this definition. Here I use expertise and function interchangeably.

Change Entity

This is my own version of expertise put together to address change. I have found the need to use this term because organizations are drawn to create what looks like a function for change management. That is status quo trying to change status quo.

Center of Expertise

Is the term organizations use when they are creating what is really close to a function, but they do not want to call it that (or pay for it). This could be a compromise with a whole lot of external input that constantly checks what is being done against status quo and that looks with a fine tooth comb for individual grabs for power (a killer for change management).

Implementary Leader

Is the person who gets passed the responsibility for “making change happen” from the owner. They usually do not own the budget (although they can get a budget from the owner). They can have power (depending on their connection to the owner) and they can have weak influence. Unfortunately, this term is not really complimentary.


Is a very popular term with others. I do not really use it (except when it is important for the client because they have chosen a model that uses the term). Usually sponsor means being willing to own some component of the change- communicating, project work, providing resources etc. It could mean sponsorship like for a sporting event- providing cash from a budget.

I prefer to think of this word as the race sponsor form and use “change leader” for the other definition.


Is the most important word on the list. The owner is the highest person to be connected to the change. If transformation is the end state then this is the CEO. If functional change is the end state then this is the SVP of that function. If this is an initiative that crosses functions then it could be the first horizontal (SVP or EVP’s), but should be one of them for clarity.

I see lots of pushing aside of this term. That is a change thing. The tougher something is the more it gets ignored and pushed aside. That push is the reason for organic change, change from the middle, my coining of the term implementary leader along with a host of other things that must be dealt with in the change process- that should not have to be.

Who owns what and who is responsible for what can become a semantic mess. These are a few of the words and definitions I use to get clarity.

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My Change Management Taxonomy- Project to Big Change

I ran a few of the things I have written through a cliché checker. I either failed or my languaging is colorful.

In checking back I noticed the same might be said for my own semantics when I talk about change.

Here then is Garrett’s change taxonomy (rather than Glossary which would be shared meaning):

Task, Project, Program, Initiative, Transformation, Big Change


Task is the work of an individual. Two people might work on a task, but usually it is one. One person can be responsible for a task but not be the hands that accomplish that task. That is sometimes a very important distinction.


Is a group of tasks, probably divided into phases or sections that accomplish a specific endeavor. Projects are functional and stand alone in a certain way. They can require some horizontal connection (usually permission) but are easy to contain and define.


A program is made up of multiple projects. That could be by design initially or a group of projects could coalesce into a program. Programs are a higher level pursuit than projects and typically are multifunctional. At the program level behavior change has to happen in some way. Structural and cultural change usually must also happen. Programs come about because something needs to change. (Whereas projects happen because something needs to be done).


Initiatives are made up of programs which in turn are made up of projects. Initiatives almost always require behavior, structural, cultural and process change. Initiatives are, except for really BIG functions, always multifunctional and usually enterprise wide and global. Initiatives are a different kind of change management requiring a different set of resources, talent and expertise (than projects if not programs).


Transformation is our quartet of behavior, structure, culture and process needing to change all at the same time. Transformations have strategy, tactics, implementation and technology change (and sometimes a move of location) all at once. These change engagements require a talented mix of external high level consultants, smart aware leaders, internal competency and big budgets.

Big Change

Big Change is multiple transformations happening all at the same time. This could go beyond a lifetime (think NASA or medical research). This could involve multiple countries, companies, pursuits.

The President of the United States (the same with other pivotal global leaders) is always the owner of some sort of change.

This taxonomy is important with my own explanations and dialogues with senior leaders and client organizations because each term requires a different skill set and perspective. It helps when individuals and organizations understand the differences.

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“…reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.”


The word trust should apply to 2012.

Imagine if we had trust in leaders, trust in government, trust in the political process and trust in change.

When there is trust, there is confidence. Confidence in not only the leader but what the leader represents. When there is trust in change, that can work in reverse to help leaders establish a relationship of vision to work (and work to the vision). With trust comes calm energy toward something ahead. Trust is, I think, the foundation for change (maybe I will do hope later).

Some things to consider if you are evaluating trust in your leadership or your change; some things to consider ahead of time to build trust:

  • integrity
  • strength
  • ability
  • surety
  • charisma
  • presence


Do you do what you say you will?

If things do not work out is it obvious you tried your best (for the benefit of all)?

Or do you couch all of your statements in vagaries in order to have an out and/or the ability to deny you promised anything (look to politics for examples of this)?

When it comes to change and trust never hesitate to promise. Just make sure your promises are well thought out, with others in mind (the core of integrity, I think) and attainable.

Doing so is integral to change.


Will hopefully come from integrity.

You can add to that by understanding others and taking action that will be agreed to by enough people to be possible. You might add to that strength by considering in some way those who would not agree as quickly. Strength for change, especially horizontal change, comes from understanding, leveraging (and rewarding) individual strength and skill.

Each individual strengthened makes the leader stronger.


Hopefully you have. Not to be flippant, but what it takes to be trusted is not always present in senior leaders. A 20 something is now the “Supreme Leader” of a country. Any trust there? Any ability?

You have to be able to do the thing you will be measured, trusted, on. The higher your leadership position the more you will need the  supporting ability (and participation) of others.

When it comes to change, leadership ability is about being able to do something yourself, teach others and empower for action, results and outcome.

For trust to happen I think leaders need to strategically get their hands dirty. They need to participate with actual work (not that leveraging through others is not a type of work of its own…) that moves toward end states. Otherwise they will be seen as the leader who barks the orders, or quietly passes the buck. Trust in those situations is tenuous.

Those able work. Stakeholders look for that and see it when it is missing in leaders.


Applies for trust in a legal environment.

For change it is more important than you think. Budgets dictate everything. Budgets are their own promises with trust as a foundation. Compensation is one of the motivators for stakeholders- not necessarily the first individually, but might be for project budgeting money.

What are you providing as collateral for this change? Is that enough for stakeholders to trust that it is possible to reach the end state?

Are you sure?


I am adding my own to Dictionary.com’s definition.

Charisma can build a trust of its own. Trust can have an emotional level- the gut instinct or gut reaction. “This just feels right.”; “I feel good about blanks leadership and vision.”; “This leader makes thing happen.”.

You don’t get to create charisma (stakeholders see through fake charisma- again see politics for examples). Charisma comes from our list for trust above. It also comes from being human, being humble and, as our moms would say, being nice.

Not to be stereotypical but our dads might say it also comes from being effective.

Charismatics leaders should be getting things done.


I am hearing stories of executives in large organizations consciously walling off the rest of the organization. Of course this happens, it is, unfortunately a bad side to human nature. But to have it happen out in the open (should I mention politics again for examples?) leaves a bitter taste. Bitter and trust are like oil and water, but heating things up will never get the first two to mix.

For change you have to be visible as a leader to build trust. Visible means voice, written word, virtual face and face-to-face. It helps it you are visible through others too (see ability above). I can give a plug here for external consultants. Because the good, senior ones do not hesitate to rove the organization, your message, your connection and, by extension trust, can be spread quickly- much more quickly than can be delivered by anyone you have internal.

To plan where you will be, how you will be seen and what your stakeholders will think of that (keeping trust in mind) at the end state will be seen as prescient (better that than parviscient or nescient).


Trust is built on a combination of ability, presence, strength and surety. It is seen through charisma and integrity. When trust is present stakeholders want to participate in change and do so because this change falls on a continuum of success and leadership (as will the next if you have paid attention).

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Change Management Don’t Use Words

This is a follow up to my first .

  • Impact
  • Buy-In
  • Align
  • Campaign
  • Case for Change
  • Current State
  • Future State

First a preface. Assumptions can make change management close to worthless and when taken to their extreme actually make the change process worse. A short list of those assumptions: resistance, change curves, , change is replacement, change is always unwanted and many more (none positive or helpful). This is the short list of words that feed these assumptions. You get what you language for…


Talk about the look, feel and make up of the end state.

Discuss the process needed to fill in the missing pieces of that picture. Build the organization toward it. Things will look different when you get there. Maybe completely different. The difference is not something to focus on unless it clarifies the end state. Hold to the above assumptions and YES there will be big impact. It will be more from you and your assumptions than the changes that will take place. So just stop using this word.


This is not an investment pool.

It is a process to reel in something new, better and more applicable to the business climate and your organizations capability. You can’t just put something in the kitty and hope for rewards. Stakeholders know that. Most investment pools sound like schemes and scams until they are understood better. At that point investors participate in a clear effort, even if only with cash. You want participation not tacit acceptance.


Some things just do not line up without a clear catalyst.

Oil and water do not mix. You can’t just shake them up together and get alignment. (although you will be temporarily tricked into thinking alignment is possible, but who wants to stand there and keep shaking forever). Unless you take the . That takes a conscious process to achieve the desired end state. Sound like something I have said before?


Is for a politician to win. Or for a product or brand to win market share.

Does either one as a voter/consumer (or…stakeholder) give you a warm fuzzy feeling? Does it make you just want to jump on board fully motivated? Can you imagine the messaging that goes along with “campaigns”? This word carries lots of assumptions with it, none of which line up with conscious behavioral change. Take a second and think of the messages that would come with a “campaign for change”. Or, likely, take a look at your last change initiative.

Case for Change

So you can convince the jury?

I can guarantee if you are worried about making a case for this change thing you are in big trouble. Stakeholders will see right through that. Bumbling is the word that comes to my mind.

This also sounds like something that becomes necessary when the change idea was organic and now there is some leadership convincing to do. In that case even saying create the BUSINESS case for change sounds better. Just leave the term on the executives lap and do not use it again. Change management is much more complicated than simply presenting your case. The laws are complicated, there are a lot of gray areas, the jury is unpredictable.

Current State

Sets you up to compare to future state and “fill the gaps” which gives you a present compared to the change focus.

What do you think that automatically creates? Resistance. Change curves. Something that feels like death. A desperate need for an old fashioned approach so you can ram this change thing home. (There are plenty of firms that market heavily and will take your cash for this sort of effort, perspective and focus- it is a never ending gravy train for them). If you want to separate out the present, to keep operations going while you reel in the end state, great. Just grab a synonym.

Future State


Anytime you say future the listener will compare it to the present. Nice setup for a big mess. Just changing one word may COMPLETELY redo your whole process. Now it is about working together toward something not slowly peeling away status quo for the unpredictable, scary future.


A synonym list was to follow, but now I look up and see some of these words should just be eliminated. And no the change team does not get to just use them amongst themselves (remember the assumption, perspective, the way this will play out thing?).

Because, if you replace current words with the words that create the future state…You have an old fashioned approach focused on the value of the present. Use words that support the end state (which may have very little to do with the present).

Hopefully, I have shown you the impact these words have in order to get your buy-in and alignment in support of my case for change. Without that we will never be able to transform our current state, by filling in the gaps, to the new future state…

HA :-)

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Change Management Words and their Hidden Meanings

Give me a day (even an hour with the right material) C level leader and I will sum up exactly how your change is or will be received. I can do it without meeting a single person- simply by looking at your decks, your communications and a few files on your server. Because words convey lots of hidden meaning and carry assumptions. The list is endless but let me give you some examples:


In my previous life as an executive communications consultant I banned this word. This word should never be used. “Well who are you to tell me that Garrett?”. I rest my case.

We should

So now you are intimating a certain perspective without filling me in at all and INCLUDING me? You really shouldn’t do that.


As a stakeholder I much more enjoy EXPLANATIONS. Inform makes it sound like I have no choice and that you are discounting my potential reaction. This word is used constantly in project and communication plans with the hope that after the information is disseminated it will be quietly absorbed with no reaction or repercussion.


How will this IMPACT stakeholders? Fingernails on the chalk board. Woo-hoo bring on the inevitable resistance!

You are going to move to a future/end state. Yes that will be different than this exact moment. That is what change is and it happens in various forms every day of everyone’s career (and life for that matter).

If there will be RIF’s (secret code for lay off’s- another semantic twist that never works) though…


What are the barriers to change? The odds that your organization (in using this word) are going to work together to scale, or ford, dig around those barriers is slim to none. No, what they will do, the use of the word signals this, is KNOCK down those barriers with brutal force.


Or are they discerning? This is usually used to describe those stakeholders who dig in for one reason or another. If difficult is used to illustrate a challenge that can be matched by the team or the organization, awesome, but it is usually not used that way.


I see this word in organizations and I want to stop breathing and just not start back up. This always signals a “do what we tell you” attitude. It happens when the PMO reports back to the executive when the executive should have owned the work from the start. It happens when used on stakeholders and the real meaning is- get in line, your one hour exercise time is over, back to the “cubicle”.

Things align as a process- you move the nut to the bolt and then screw it on. You can’t force alignment (hey there is that force word again- one that is not actually used but wraps around a lot of others).

You just really shouldn’t use this word (sorry I had to do that).

“clearly define current state”

This comes up in those CM plans that happen well into the change process, long after CM can help much. By defining CM that way you are assuming resistance and probably using and are oblivious to the fact that the current state is just plain ugly. And it is uglier with your reinforcement. Go ahead and clearly define the current state. Hopefully you are very patient. It will be a long time before you get PAST that.

communicate behavioral expectations

This one is great and I see it all the time. I always hope what they mean to say is explain or illustrate the behaviors that tie to the end state. I am a hopeful kind of guy and it tends to steer me wrong at times. Remember that force word that is never used? This is the subtler use of it, something more like intimidation, coercion or dare I say…brain washing. Or something straight from a Kindergarten class.

Address resistance

Do I have to say anything here?

Acknowledge change. Anticipate discomfort. Connect early to ensure clear communication of the make sense change. Involve people for their talent (not simply to include). Sure after that if there is Genuine Resistance then address it. If you have done the above and are not using the other words and their assumptions addressing resistance probably involves a severance package.

“Leading edge” label on initiative

I love this one. By whose standard of innovation? Or is it simply to cover up the fact that this change initiative is to actually to CATCH UP to competitors.

Try this with one person or more-

Explain one of your leading edge ideas. Wait maybe half a day. All gone. People know about it now. Can’t use it as a label. Think of how stale that label will be at the end of a two year initiative.


Take this all with a grain of salt. I am an English major. Semantics mean a lot to me. But they also mean a lot to your stakeholders….?

So there you have 11 new entries into the change management hall of shame semantics list.

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Managing Change

Seems to so clearly make sense. Yet is confusing and sometimes hard to explain, because it means many things (to many people and perspectives). So to borrow from Dictionary.com http://tinyurl.com/2ep67zz

1. to bring about or succeed in accomplishing, sometimes despite difficulty or hardship: She managed to see the governor. How does she manage it on such a small income?

This would be the overcoming status quo, addressing internal politics inclusion and non-inclusion choices, this would be moving things and people forward where others have failed, this is the big picture of overcoming obstacles. On a small scale it is all the small meetings with “the governor” (to borrow from the definition) that manage change in little increments.

2. to take charge or care of: to manage my investments.

This is the leadership factor. With CM it comes out of educating, building credibility, highlighting change as a growth factor, communicating with transparency, interacting with empathy and shining a light on both business goals and individuals. Negotiating obstacles and seeing ahead are the “take care of” parts.

3. to dominate or influence (a person) by tact, flattery, or artifice: He manages the child with exemplary skill.

Change agents are typically subtle in their steering of momentum and motivation (if they are good) and that is influential. Disregarding history and the effect of performance systems is the dominate part. Tact and flattery are the yin and yang of CM.

4. to handle, direct, govern, or control in action or use: She managed the boat efficiently.

This is the project management piece. Having a true PM as a partner who resides in the same spot in the organization (or at least has equal influence) gives the handling, the directing, the controlling (in a good way to make to do lists easier on stakeholders) of actions. And in the case of technology transformations the use.

5. to wield (a weapon, tool, etc.).

There are times when a poke and a prod, and the more drastic firing of the weapon, is the solution to managing change. Wielding tools with the above tact and flattery is the long term change solution.

6. to handle or train (a horse).

Certainly there are individuals and teams… and functions and executives and boards and… who need to be handled- a little like a green broke horse. Enter training. And perhaps quiet whispers and gentle prods.

7. Archaic . to use sparingly or with judgment, as health or money;

This is the view of the executive who thinks people should just do their job. A view that causes sparing use of money, time and IMHO judgment. Well look at that- it is an archaic definition. Smile

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Vision to Work Glossary- and goodbye Champions, Readiness & Current and Future State

End State

The description of the end of the change process. This would include all of the things that will be different but always in words that illustrate a new state rather than a disrupted current state.

Future State

The end of the change. I also use it to describe the end state before it is officially defined (pre-”Why”).

Current State

I am almost tempted to strikethrough this one.

This is the change at the beginning.

It is not struck-through because an end state process could still work BACK to this.

Transitional State

Everything from the End State back (or historically vice-versa).


The person(s) whose budget supports the change. In terms of connection, understanding, energy and capability this would be just like the on site owner of a business.


Project Management Organization. The entity within large organizations tasked with accomplishing the steps involved in a project. Sometimes called the Program Management Office because organizations tend to seed projects like privets on a windy day.

The role of the PMO and project manager within  every organization we have seen is to create lists and then cross off the tasks one by one. There is a slew of potential problems with this in connection to change efforts (look for a post on this later) including-

the list is 10 things but should it have been 3?

If you are focused on steps then how do you learn to see the whole list?

If you are trained to accomplish detail can you still take the time to communicate and listen?

We see the role of the PMO (and for now we will keep this buried in our glossary for the fire it will create http://foxyurl.com/rA3 ) as the leader of the plans. When they are strategists it is for process and our category of “How”. They are a part of the overall organizational change process. The ideal organization (we have not seen this but are eager to create for a client) is a CMO (or other acronym if Marketing already has this) that is at the corporate strategic level in the organization with the same leverage as the rest of the horizontal (SVP’s or VP’s in a smaller organization). The PMO would report into this entity. This gives the organization effectiveness vertically and within functions (PMO) as well as horizontally across the entire organization.

There is much, much more this entity can facilitate for regular operations sometimes in conjunction with change initiatives. Change integrated into operations and vice versa. This will be a post soon .

CCM Corporate Change Management

My working title until I can come up with a better one. A title for any change that is directly connected to corporate strategy (ex. contained in a three, five or ten year plan). It is a change that will in some way connect with every individual in the organization, will require horizontal collaboration at the first and or second level of the organization and has the potential to alter the current corporate culture.

Examples could be mergers, organizational redesigns, major disruptive IT initiatives, system wide HR changes and succession plans that will change the direction of the company (or be put in place to adapt to environmental change).

It is NOT-

single projects that fall within a vertical (even if they will touch the whole organization-IT as an example)

ongoing PMO initiatives

change control

OD unless it is truly a corporate strategic decision


Removed from our glossary (but prominent in every approach we have seen).  We are about positive change. Current approaches are about resistance battling.

Some definitions of champion- http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/champion?db=*

a person who fights for or defends any person or cause

a person who has defeated all opponents in a competition or series of competitions, so as to hold first place

anything that takes first place in competition

(Listen to my cheerleading because if you do not they will soon Make you do it).

Using the word champion and assigning the role (current change management approaches) will turn off your stakeholders before you get to the second syllable.

See Owner.

Current and Future State

Are you seeing a pattern here? This is where we are and this is where we expect to be. Stakeholder translation- My world will be turned upside down. My productivity and effectiveness will slowly die and I will still be rewarded for operational goals. And so my state is, Resistance. Which of course works well because that is what the change team will focus on.

See Resistance, End State.


And Readiness Assessments. Here you can save some money. If you have had any change management initiatives to date then there is not readiness. There, we may have just saved you millions of dollars.

Readiness Assessments are the first tool and deliverable to use for failure. We warned you.

These assessments are the leverage point for dropping initiatives into the black hole of the middle of the organization and force feeding participants through sponsorship models, communication plans, training plans, coaching (or coercion depending on your perspective) and “sponsorship activities (see Champion)”.

Having a change structure, and better an official change entity at the strategic level of your organization, creates an environment, culture and language that informs stakeholders, engages them when necessary and motivates them because they trust the big picture and see the tie to their effort. Eliminate 2 or 3 future “Readiness Assessments” and you have probably covered the cost of the design of your change entity.


All change management approaches (minus Vision to Work’s) take the assumption that change requires eliminating resistance. Which, if you take a breath and think about it is negative. If you base everything you do from that assumption how effective do you think you will be?

Yes there will be pushback for a variety of reasons. It is the responsibility of the owner and the Change Consultant to disconnect the change from current reality. If the end state cannot be made clear then any resistance that does happen is probably justified.

Horizontal Change Management (HCM)

Change management at the highest levels in the organization. Business+ people= results. Focused on the description of the end state and clear ties to corporate strategy. Requires collaboration and compromise at the first and second horizontals in an organization. Believes that clear direction can facilitate motivation and therefore change.

Your space to add more…

We will add more as we move through our blog categories. Feel free to suggest your own.

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