Jan 212011

Recently I caught up with my old friend Stephanie. Too much time had gone by, and we shared belated New Year wishes.

What made the conversation even more enjoyable was how psyched she was at her new job. Her passion has always been change management, and she practiced it first at Accenture and then at the TSA. Now she is with a startup called The Clearing, and explained how the company can prepare clients to execute change far better than some other well known companies in the marketplace.

Based on our discussion, I decided to find out a little more. Stephanie is a very sharp woman, plus I occasionally encounter my fair share of resistance to change when working with clients. So when she mentioned that the methodology behind their approach was located at www.theprimes.com, I checked it out.

First off, there are 32 of them. So I definitely haven’t explored each and every one. However, based on my interactions with clients two resonated with me immediately — Integrity and Commitment vs. Attachment.

Integrity is easy to describe, less easy to carry through on. Basically it’s always doing exactly what you say you will do. Sort of like a modified Golden Rule — Always do as you say you will. One example is social media — I better make time to do it myself if I counsel clients they should as well.

This is vital in client service, so the client understands they can have total confidence in your ability to deliver on time. But it goes far beyond that — I do my best on this front in social situations, and in my marriage. I don’t say Yes right away, because I’ll be bound by it if I do.

Commitment vs. Attachment requires a bit more explanation. I’m very committed to my work, and I throw myself into every client engagement. Most of the time, the results are very positive.

Rarely, things just don’t work out. It could happen due to a cultural resistance to social media, or to factors outside of anyone’s control (client contact leaves, company gets bought, etc.)

Regardless, I need to avoid obsessing over the “ones that got away.” That is of course as long as I gave 100% and crafted a good plan, and acted “boldly” to carry it out. That’s what I got out of this Prime anyway — click on the link above for Chris McGoff’s explanation of this change principle.

Change management can mean a lot of different things. But I like this focus on human beings, and overcoming obstacles to changing human behavior. After all, every company or agency is just a bunch of individuals trying to work towards a common goal.The best change management plan in the world that fails to focus on execution is bound to fail.

What’s your favorite Prime? Share a change management war story from your field.

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