Call Dr. Stebbins today 503.957.6528

Call Dr. Stebbins today 503.957.6528

The Pain of Change: What Can You Tolerate?

Over the years, I have heard from employees and leaders that in spite of meticulous planning, communication and engagement, implementing a change is a painful process. I do agree that is the case…..I always tell my clients that change is ‘messy’ and to expect some pain! A personal experience has made me re-evaluate this belief from a different perspective.

A couple of years ago, I went through a divorce which certainly was painful and now that I am on the other side of it I ask “Was the pain worth it?”  In my case, I discovered that the pain of my unhappiness in the relationship  was far greater than the pain associated with the divorce itself.

As organizations, individuals contemplate making changes and express concern over the inevitable ‘messiness’ and pain that will occur, I ask “If the change is not made, what will the impact [pain] be?”  or ” How much pain can be tolerated before a change must be made?”.

Here is a tip for easing the pain for yourself and others: Create and continually articulate a vision for what your organization or work will be like after the change has been made!  This strategy worked well for me as I moved through my divorce. I believe it will work well for any change!

So what about you? What change have you been avoiding?  Now is the time! Call me and let’s develop a strategy and vision for your pending change!


Change and Creativity

In my client change management work, I have been struck by the fear people attach to ‘change’. There is so much concern about the change itself that there is the inability to look ahead to life beyond the change event.  I do understand the reasons for this situation and am not critical of it at all. Having gone through two major life transitions recently, I have experienced both the fear and the ‘coming out the other side’.  The lessons I learned from these experiences are profound……the most significant lesson I learned is shared here.

Research tells us that the top 3 life changes that cause the most fear, anxiety and stress are: Job loss, Ending of a relationship and Moving.  In the last 12-18 months, I have gone through two of these life events.   Having come out ‘the other side’ of both, I am now experiencing the highest level of creativity I have had in a very long time. My work, projects, and music are all benefiting from this creative ‘renewal’. In addition, my circle of friends/colleagues is expanding at an amazing rate-these individuals truly represent/reflect me:  ever evolving and ‘renewed’.

So as I come into this Holiday Season, I am filled with gratitude for this gift….one that I pass on to you!

Happy Holidays!

Change Management: An Ethical Perspective

I was heartened when I read a recent interview with Prosci’s lead researcher, Robert Stise. When asked why change management is important to him he responded:

“Change Management is not just a field; it’s an ethic about how you treat people as individuals. Yes, it can save you money, yes, it can help you meet deadlines, but if we can create a culture where organizations recognize their employees as individuals and can do a better job of helping those individuals through times of change, I  think that’s an incredible step forward.”

This quote beautifully summarizes what I also believe to be true: organizations have an ethical responsibility to view their employees as the single most important resource they have……businesses would not be successful or even exist were it not for their employees. Thus, when initiating any kind of organizational change, does it not make sense to engage employees as much as possible in the implementation of that change?  I have found that doing so results in higher quality/quantity of implementation strategies AND less resistance to the change itself.

Contact me and let’s talk about how your organization can create a more employee engaged culture… important element for successful change management.

The Year May Be “New” And………

I respect the celebration of the New Year as it is an important opportunity to reflect and set goals…that said, I pose this question for your consideration: Does ‘new’ only happen once a year? As I observe my world, I see that ‘new’ is not an event. It is an ever evolving part of life…I need only watch a sunrise, the ocean waves coming ashore and the changing seasons to know that this is true! On a micro level, I find it easy to reflect on the past, i.e., the time I have spent that I cannot recoup. When I do, I completely forget that for every moment in the past, a new moment is occurring. So then the question is: What choices do I have for living that moment?  I have come to the conclusion that embracing the newness of every moment and knowing that how I live in each moment is a choice, is what brings joy and richness to my life and work.

As you celebrate this New Year, how will you also celebrate each new moment?

September Fierce Event in Portland

It's Time to Get Fierce Red Arrow


Join me September 4-5 for a Fierce Conversations Workshop at the Unviersity Club in Portland. Click the link above to register!


‘Project’ and ‘Change’ Management: An Evolving Marriage

Does the need for a ‘change’ result in a ‘project’? or does a ‘project’ result in ‘change’? An interesting “chicken or egg”question! Writing in The Next Evolution:Unifying Project and Change Management, Thomas Luke Jarocki says that regardless of how these questions are answered, there are three “givens” regarding these two:

1. Any ‘change’ initiative, however it is defined and regardless of its scope, requires a planned approach/structure [project management].

2. Any ‘project’ will result in ‘changes’ that will impact employees, the way the work gets done and, potentially, organizational structure.

3. Effectively managing both the ‘project’ and resulting ‘changes’ will result in long lasting organizational benefits.

Why does project management fail? Because the “people and cultural” side of change the project produces has not been addressed.  It is apparent that a sound ‘project management’ plan must include change management principles and strategies. To use an analogy, think of a car: it is the mechanical/technical piece [the ‘project’] that has been developed to move an organization forward and the human behind the wheel is the one who will determine the car’s direction… how the driver reacts to the car will dictate whether or not the car moves forward[change management focus].

Prosci Change Management methodology captures this relationship very effectively: