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Principles for Change Agents - Part 2

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As I said in Part 1, I have been a gatherer of good principles for managing change. Some of the maxims are common wisdom, others I can attribute to individuals whose work has had a direct influence on me. Here are a few more that have helped me to think differently about my work.

Get the whole system in the room - The credit for this one goes to Marv Weisbord, the author of the classic book Productive Workplaces. In his journey from business owner to OD Guru, Marv learned a lot about human systems and how to change them. One of Marv's insights was that change in an organization is possible if you get the right people into the room. Who are the right people? Anyone who is part of the process you want to change. If any key party is forgotten or missing, the entire effort will suffer.

People support what they help to create - This one comes from Meg Wheatley who has taught us that change is made possible when the people who will be most impacted by it are invited into the process of …

Principles for Change Agents - Part 1

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Recently, a colleague asked, Who or what has most influenced your thinking and practice as an Organization Development consultant?

In my travels, I have been a gatherer of good principles. Some are common wisdom, others I can attribute to individuals whose work has had a direct influence on me. Here is a sampler:

Seek first to understand - This one simply says, Before anything else, be sure to listen. In Zen Buddhism, one is taught the idea of the Beginner’s Mind. S. Suzuki once said "In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind, only a few." Having an attitude of openness, being eager to learn, and walking in with a lack of preconceived notions when approaching a new client or problem, is the essence. Be receptive. Listen to your client, your team, your customer. Listen and you will learn. Listen well and you will be in a better position to help. This principle comes from the late Stephen Covey (who died today at age 79) in his now-…