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Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas

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Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas


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  • Copyright 2005
  • Dimensions: 6" x 9"
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-201-74157-1
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-201-74157-5

“All that have ever tried to impose change in their organization will immediately recognize and truly value the in-depth knowledge and experience captured in this book. It contains a collection of eye-openers that is a treasure chest for pioneers of new organizational ideas, A fantastic toolbox for use in future missions!”
—Lise B. Hvatum, product development manager, Schlumberger

“If you have need of changing your organization, and especially of introducing new techniques, then you want to understand what is in this book. It will help you avoid common pitfalls that doom many such projects and will show you a clear path to success. The techniques are derived from the experience of many individuals and organizations. Many are also fun to apply. This stuff is really cool—and really hot.”
—Joseph Bergin, professor of computer science, Pace University, New York

“If change is the only guarantee in life, why is it so hard to do? As this book points out, people are not so much resistant to change itself as they are to being changed. Mary Lynn and Linda have successfully used the pattern form to capture and present the recurring lessons of successful change efforts and have placed a powerful knowledge resource in the hands of their readers.”
—Alan O'Callaghan, researcher, Software Technology Research Laboratory, De Montfort University, United Kingdom

“The most difficult part of absorbing patterns, or any technology, into an organization is overcoming the people issues. The patterns in this book are the documentation of having gone through that experience, giving those that dare push the envelope a head start at success.”—David E. DeLano, IBM Pervasive Computing

“If you have ever wondered how you could possibly foster any cultural changes in your organization, in this book you will find a lot of concrete advice for doing so. I recommend that everyone read this book who has a vast interest in keeping his or her organization flexible and open for cultural change.”
—Jutta Eckstein, Independent Consultant, Objects In Action Author of Agile Software Development in the Large

48 Patterns for Driving and Sustaining Change in Your Organization

Change. It's brutally tough to initiate, even harder to sustain. It takes too long. People resist it.

But without it, organizations lose their competitive edge. Fortunately, you can succeed at making change. In Fearless Change, Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising illuminate 48 proven techniques, or patterns, for implementing change in organizations or teams of all sizes, and show you exactly how to use them successfully.

Find out how to

  • Understand the forces in your organization that drive and retard change
  • Plant the seeds of change
  • Drive participation and buy-in, from start to finish
  • Choose an "official skeptic" to sharpen your thinking
  • Make your changes appear less threatening
  • Find the right timing and the best teaching moments
  • Sustain your momentum
  • Overcome adversity and celebrate success

Inspired by the "pattern languages" that are transforming fields from software to architecture, the authors illuminate patterns for every stage of the change process: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. These flexible patterns draw on the experiences of hundreds of leaders. They offer powerful insight into change-agent behavior, organizational culture, and the roles of every participant.

Best of all, they're easy to use—and they work!

Sample Content

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Fearless Change: Where Do You Start?

Organizations and Change

Downloadable Sample Chapter

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Table of Contents





1. Organizations and Change.

    The Change Agent.

    The Culture.

    The People.

2. Strategies or Patterns.

    Pattern Formats.

    Using Patterns.

3. Where Do I Start?

    Evangelism Is Critical for Success.

    A Small Package of Patterns.

4. What Do I Do Next?

    Target Groups to Ask for Help.

    It's Important to Say "Thanks".

5. Meetings and More.

    Let's Meet!

    Using Information That's Out There.

    Stay Connected.

6. Take Action!

    Other Ways to Learn.

7. It's All About People.

    What's in It for the Organization?

    You Have Feelings, Too!

8. A New Role: Now You're Dedicated!

    You Have Convinced Them–You Are a Dedicated Champion.

9. Convince the Masses.

    Enlist Gurus and Famous People.

10. More Influence Strategies.

    Keep Things Visible.

    It's Just a Token.

    Location Also Counts.

    Things Are Humming.

11. Keep It Going.

    Be Proactive!

12. Dealing with Resistance.

    Build Bridges.

    A Champion Skeptic.

    It's All About Politics.


Multiple Sclerosis Society Experience Report.

UNCA Experience Report.

Sun Core J2EE Patterns Experience Report.

Customer Training Experience Report.


Ask for Help.

Big Jolt.


Brown Bag.

Champion Skeptic.


Corporate Angel.

Corridor Politics.

Dedicated Champion.

Do Food.


Early Adopter.

Early Majority.


External Validation.

Fear Less.

Group Identity.

Guru on Your Side.

Guru Review.

Hometown Story.

In Your Space.


Involve Everyone.

Just Do It.

Just Enough.

Just Say Thanks.

Local Sponsor.

Location, Location, Location.


Next Steps.

Personal Touch.


Plant the Seeds.

The Right Time.

Royal Audience.

Shoulder to Cry On.

Small Successes.

Smell of Success.

Stay in Touch.

Step by Step.

Study Group.

Sustained Momentum.

Tailor Made.

Test the Waters.

Time for Reflection.


Trial Run.

Whisper in the General's Ear.

External Pattern References.





There is increasing pressure on all our organizations to succeed in an ever more rapidly changing world. We all need to play our part in creating the new ideas that will enable our organizations to succeed, and in driving success by sharing, adopting, and building on best practices. This is a particular issue for knowledge-intensive companies, particularly those facing the digital economy where technology becomes ever more complex and more deeply woven into the fabric of the business. The ability of these learning organizations to generate and exploit ideas is fundamental and crucial to success.

The nature of learning organizations has been debated for a number of years, throwing into sharp relief the need to develop and manage new ideas as intellectual capital and develop the knowledge that is spread around our companies into best practices. There are many views on how this intellectual capital can be managed, but there is little disagreement that it is critically important to future success. Introducing new ideas into organizations is a challenge that faces us all.

Business value and the productive exploitation of technology have always been important to Microsoft. As a Microsoft business value consultant working with a wide variety of commercial and noncommercial organizations, it is clear that achieving highly beneficial use of new technologies depends on people and how they work, on individuals and their patterns of behavior. In so many cases the best ideas on how to take advantage of technology come from within the organization, often from unexpected quarters where business workers are quietly exploiting the technology in innovative new ways for business benefit. The business value challenge becomes one of helping individuals at all levels in the organization to develop fresh ideas and to introduce their ideas more widely into the organization.

Introducing new ideas into organizations continues to be a challenge. Some of us within Microsoft champion the importance of achieving business value from the productive exploitation of technology. We are passionate about this idea. But at Microsoft, surrounded by so many bright people brimming with new ideas, it is always a challenge to get attention for your own. In this competitive ecosystem, it is even more challenging to get them to stick when the organization is so fast moving. The real passion comes from being expected to have ideas and to champion them, whatever your level at Microsoft. Finding new and sustainable ways of achieving business advantage through technology is one such example.

We do use patterns that Mary Lynn and Linda describe to share our enthusiasm. We regularly use Brown Bag* sessions and take advantage of other opportunities as Evangelists. We use External Validation from respected organizations to bring credibility, and hold significant events offsite (Location, Location, Location) with the support of Local Sponsors to give the best chance of convincing others in the organization (Personal Touch). Having read Mary Lynn and Linda's book, it is evident that we also work to Sustain Momentum.

Your organization will have its own culture and ways of introducing new ideas. It may encourage new ideas, or it may discourage them. Either way, explore whether you can find patterns here to help. Finding a Corporate Angel or engaging in Corridor Politics may work for you. Does your organization recognize new ideas but need help with exploiting them? Creating a Group Identity could help to provide a focus and direction.

The most innovative and competitive organizations are those that make the most of their people's skills and knowledge. Yet describing knowledge in a way that it can be recognized, shared, and used by others has long been a problem. The patterns in this book describe a practical structure for capturing that hard-to-record knowledge. Whether to share "how to do it" gems or to capture the subtleties of a deep subject matter expert's experience, the experience reports demonstrate that the structure and language works.

This is not a step-by-step cookbook, but then change never happens quite as expected. Whether you are introducing change in an organization, creating new networks, finding new levels of empowerment that involve participation at all levels, or just aiming to work together smarter, you could use a Brown Bag, set up an e-Forum, or share your passion as an Evangelist. Whether you decide to Involve Everyone or choose to Just Do It, the first step is to remind yourself that there are many ways to Test the Waters, and you may proceed best Step by Step. Either by dipping straight into the patterns, or by studying them more methodically, let Mary Lynn and Linda guide you toward those techniques that will work for you.

Andy Ellis
Business Value Consultant, Microsoft

*Names that appear in a special font are references to the patterns that are described in this book.


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