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Overview of the Book

Although a “ten-step change process” might sound and even be more comprehensive, my research and experience says it is less useful. This simple model captures the core 20 percent of the factors that paint 80 percent of the picture:

  • Stage 1: Do the right thing and do it well.
  • Stage 2: Discover that the old right thing is now the wrong thing but that you still do it well.
  • Stage 3: Do the new right thing, but do it poorly at first.
  • Stage 4: Eventually do the new right thing well.

Anyone can understand, remember, and recall this framework. If the fundamental framework is so simple, then why do so many change initiatives fail? Why do they get stuck in this simple cycle? The answer lies in the three barriers I mentioned earlier. The failure to see keeps the change process from even getting started. Even when started, the failure to move keeps us from entering the path of the new right thing. Even if we start and move, the failure to finish keeps us from doing the new right thing until we can do it well. Why we fail to see, move, and finish is the subject of Chapters 2, 4, and 6. How to overcome each of these barriers is the subject of Chapters 3, 5, and 7.

Specifically, in Chapter 2, “Barrier #1: Failure to See,” I explain why when a threat or opportunity is visible, we fail to see it. Clearly, if we fail to see threats or opportunities, we will not make needed changes.

In response to this challenge, in Chapter 3, “Solutions and Tools for Breaking Through Barrier #1: Helping People See the Need,” I detail how you can break through this barrier and help yourself and others actually see the need to change.

In Chapter 4, “Barrier #2: Failure to Move,” I examine why even when we see the need to change, we often fail to move. Although it sounds illogical (why would someone fail to move if they saw the need?), there is ample evidence that failure to move is quite common. As a consequence, effective change must overcome this powerful mental barrier.

Chapter 5, “Solutions and Tools for Breaking Through Barrier #2: Helping People Make the Move,” delivers the keys to overcoming this barrier and helping people actually move once they see the need to change.

In Chapter 6, “Barrier #3: Failure to Finish,” I describe why, even when people move, they often fail to finish—not moving far or fast enough. Although recognizing the need for change is the thrust that gets us going, and moving down the new path lifts us off the ground, if the momentum cannot be maintained, the initial upward lift needed to fly is overpowered by the constant downward pull of gravity and natural resistance to change, and the change comes crashing back to earth. I have seen and studied many cases in which change projects attained initial liftoff, only to falter and crash shortly after clearing the runway.

Chapter 7, “Solutions and Tools for Breaking Through Barrier #3: Helping People Fight Through the Finish,” provides a simple but effective framework for overcoming this challenge and offers specific tools that can help you break through this barrier and sustain the change to the point that the real payoffs can be captured.

In Chapter 8, “Pulling It All Together,” I combine and integrate all the specific components discussed separately up to that point to ensure that you can apply these fundamental principles of change in real situations, which don’t come so neatly divided as chapters in a book. In most of the examples in Chapter 8, I examine how using the principles can help you remap your organization for greater revenue and profit growth.

Chapter 9, “Getting Ahead of the Change Curve,” provides the glue to ensure that all this sticks—sticks together and sticks to you, the reader. This glue is essentially a tool that you can use to gauge where you and others are in the change process and what might need to be done to ensure the targeted change succeeds. The tool is not only something you can use to lead change, but is also something you can use to train, educate, and empower others to meet this challenge as well.

I hope that you find the concepts and tools both powerful and practical. I think you will.

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