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Existing Patterns



Ask for Help

Since the task of introducing a new idea into an organization is a big job, look for people and resources to help your efforts.

Big Jolt

To provide more visibility for the change effort, invite a high-profile person into your organization to talk about the new idea.


Pair those who have accepted the new idea with those who haven't.

Brown Bag

Use the time when people normally eat lunch to provide a convenient and relaxed setting for hearing about the new idea.

Champion Skeptic

Ask for help from strong opinion leaders who are skeptical of your new idea, to play the role of "official skeptic." Use their comments to improve your effort, even if you don't change their minds.


To help you spread the word about the innovation, ask for help from people who have connections with many others in the organization.

Corporate Angel

To help align the innovation with the goals of the organization, get support from a high-level executive.

Corridor Politics

Informally work on decision-makers and key influencers before an important vote, to ensure that they understand the consequences of the decision.

Dedicated Champion

To increase your effectiveness in introducing your new idea, make a case for having the work be part of your job description.

Do Food

Make an ordinary gathering a special event by including food.


Set up an electronic bulletin board, distribution list, listserv, or writable website for those who want to hear more.

Early Adopter

Win the support of the people who can be opinion leaders for the new idea.

Early Majority

To create commitment to the new idea in the organization, you must convince the majority.


To begin to introduce the new idea into your organization, do everything you can to share your passion for it.

External Validation

To increase the credibility of the new idea, bring in information from sources external to the organization.

Fear Less

Turn resistance to the new idea to your advantage.

Group Identity

Give the change effort an identity, to help people recognize that it exists.

Guru on Your Side

Enlist the support of senior-level people who are esteemed by members of the organization.

Guru Review

Gather anyone who is a guru on your side, and other interested colleagues, to evaluate the new idea for managers and other developers.

Hometown Story

To help people see the usefulness of the new idea, encourage those who have had success with it to share their stories.

In Your Space

Keep the new idea visible by placing reminders throughout the organization.


When you begin the change initiative, ask for help from colleagues who like new ideas.

Involve Everyone

For a new idea to be successful across an organization, everyone should have an opportunity to support the innovation and make his own unique contribution.

Just Do It

To prepare to spread the word about the new idea, work with the new idea on your own to discover what the benefits and limitations are.

Just Enough

To ease learners into the more difficult concepts of a new idea, give a brief introduction and make more information available when they're ready.

Just Say Thanks

To make people feel appreciated, say "thanks" in the most sincere way you can to everyone who helps you.

Local Sponsor

Ask for help from first-line management. When your boss supports the tasks you're doing to introduce the new idea, you can be more effective.

Location, Location, Location

To avoid interruptions that disrupt the flow of an event, try to hold significant events offsite.


When a project wants to get started with the new idea, have someone around who understands it and can help the team.

Next Steps

Take time near the end of an event about the new idea to identify what participants can do next.

Personal Touch

To convince people of the value in a new idea, show how it can be personally useful and valuable to them.


When faced with several obstacles in your strategy to introduce something new, look for a way to piggyback on a practice in your organization.

Plant the Seeds

To spark interest, carry materials (seeds) and display (plant) them when the opportunity arises.

The Right Time

Consider timing when you schedule events or when you ask others for help.

Royal Audience

Arrange for management and members of the organization to spend time with a special Big Jolt visitor.

Shoulder to Cry On

To avoid becoming too discouraged when the going gets tough, find opportunities to talk with others struggling to introduce a new idea.

Small Successes

To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the challenges and all the things you have to do when you're involved in an organizational change effort, celebrate even small successes.

Smell of Success

When your efforts produce a visible, positive result, people will come out of the woodwork to talk to you. Treat this opportunity as a teaching moment.

Stay in Touch

Once you've sparked some interest in people, don't forget about them, and make sure they don't forget about you.

Step by Step

Relieve your frustration at the enormous task of changing an organization by taking one small step at a time toward your goal.

Study Group

Form a small group of colleagues who are interested in exploring or continuing to learn about a specific topic.

Sustained Momentum

Take a proactive approach to the ongoing work of sustaining the interest in the new idea in your organization.

Tailor Made

To convince people in the organization of the value they can gain from the new idea, tailor your message to the needs of the organization.

Test the Waters

When a new opportunity presents itself, see if there is any interest by using some of the patterns in this language and then evaluating the result.

Time For Reflection

To learn from the past, take time at regular intervals to evaluate what's working well and what should be done differently.


To keep a new idea alive in a person's memory, hand out tokens that can be identified with the topic being introduced.

Trial Run

When the organization isn't willing to commit to the new idea, suggest that they experiment with it for a short period and study the results.

Whisper in the General's Ear

Managers are sometimes hard to convince in a group setting, so meet privately to address any concerns.

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