Change Management

by Scott Westerman

I’ve been thinking about change management a lot lately. Most of us exist in organizations that have a degree of dysfunction and helping others open up and buy into new ideas is a pretty important part of the job.

Mark Goulston, writing on Keith Ferrazzi’s blog says that you can get a person to open up when you ask them about something they are passionate about. He says,

1.Give the person plenty of time to express whatever they’re saying.
2.Don’t take issue with it, become defensive or get into a debate.
3.Know that after they have vented, they will become exhausted vs. relaxed and then anxious or even paranoid. (That’s because they unconsciously realize that they have dumped on you and will now be expecting for you to retaliate, tell them they’re wrong, get angry, put them down or at the very least become defensive.)
4.Rather than doing any of these, pause after they have unloaded on you and say: “Tell me more” and they will breathe a sigh of relief and exhale.
5.They will be grateful to you for not reacting the way everyone else would .
6.And they will show their gratitude by opening their mind to you.

I try to start every conversation by seeking a way to help the other person with one of their challenges. I was in an elevator with Zig Ziglar many years ago and he gave me a gem I’ve never forgotten. If you have read his books or listened to his tapes you’ll recognize it instantly.

“You can get everything you want by helping others get everything they want.”

I’d modify it just a bit for this discussion by saying, “You can move in the direction of your goals by helping others move in the direction of their goals.”

One of my favorite activities is doing precisely that. Whenever I take on a new employee or make a new friend, I always ask two questions.

1.“What would you do if you were working for love and not for money?”
2.“What is it that you are most passionate about?”

You can learn a lot about a person by listening to how they answer those questions. My team calls this Scott’s Hopes and Dreams conversation. Sooner or later I have it with everyone I meet. And it’s almost always a window into their soul.

Once you understand a person’s passions and needs, you can usually make a contribution to help them along the way to achieving them. Do this often enough and then the laws of cause and effect kick in. You will see that behavior reflected right back at you. As John Lennon wrote,

“n the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

It’s another spin on Earl Nightengale’s wisdom that “Our rewards in life are equal to our service.”

The best part about developing this mindset is that it’s infectious. Model this behavior consistently and before long you’ll attract disciples. With any luck, you’ll infect the entire organization and all kinds of good things will start reflecting back.

Try this one for 30 days. You’ll be amazed at how it works.