LEADING CHANGE


Welcome! This list of quotes is part of the Management & Leadership Quotes series of the Bigroads.com website.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons



If you want to make enemies, try to change something.

- Woodrow Wilson

Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.

- Robin Sharma

Don’t forget to update your performance evaluations and annual appraisal forms and processes to reflect major change initiatives.

- John Kotter

When you start a new job, ask people what THEY want to change. Ask them what they like and don’t like. If they don’t like something, you can and should attack that first.

- unknown

Any lofty proposals thrown at your boss that haven’t been logically thought through or have not been financially justified will seem naïve at best, and at worst could result in your loss of credibility.

- Paul Falcone

Change always meets with resistance.

- Lee Cockerell

In complacency-filled organizations, change initiatives are dead on arrival.

- John Kotter

Unending change is a sure-fire recipe for burning out your people.

- Michael Watkins

Develop action plans for improvement. Involve the team in this process. Develop a list of actions with specific dates for implementation. Ask team members to take responsibility.

- Cy Charney

If you don’t question the status quo, you’ll be forced to change under pressure once it’s obvious that your structure is no longer working.

- Lee Cockerell

Transformations always fail to achieve their objectives when complacency levels are high.

- John Kotter

Assume that there is probably a better way to do almost everything.

- John Maxwell

We are often loath to change long-standing policies and procedures. We defend them as if our egos were on the line.

- Fred Lee

Always approach and communicate a process change as an experiment. Try it out for 30-90 days.

- Lee Cockerell

The secret to lasting change is to implement processes that people will enjoy carrying out.

- Michael Abrashoff

By far the biggest mistake people make when trying to change organizations is to plunge ahead without establishing a high-enough sense of urgency in fellow managers and employees.

- John Kotter

Never assume that people will be as excited about a new idea as you are. People usually see obstacles before benefits.

- Cy Charney

Sometimes the best ideas come when things are rolling along just fine and you need to take the next leap forward.

- Lee Cockerell

Transformations require a sense of urgency, a strong guiding team, and a sensible vision.

- John Kotter

Most people are more satisfied with old problems than committed to finding new solutions.

- John Maxwell

If you are nervous about taking a risk, ask yourself if the decision is reversible or not-reversible.

- Lee Cockerell

It is not a coincidence that transformations often start when a new person is placed in a key role, someone who does not have to defend his or her past actions.

- John Kotter

Even though transformations start more easily with a natural financial crisis, given a choice, it’s clearly smarter not to wait for one to happen.

- John Kotter

Always look for a better way to do things, and don’t be afraid of upsetting people. If you have a good idea, give it a chance. Remember, if it doesn’t work out, you can always change it again.

- Lee Cockerell

As an observer of life in organizations, I think I can say with some authority that people who are making an effort to embrace the future are a happier lot than those who are clinging to the past.

- John Kotter

I’d rather be welcome change than dreading change.

- Robert T Kiyosaki

At Walt Disney Resort, we learned that: 20% of people in an organization are active change agents; 30% of people resist change; and 50% of people have the potential to go either way, depending upon how they are lead. Focus on these people.

- Lee Cockerell

Average companies give their people something to work on. In contrast, the most innovative organizations get their people something to work toward.

- Simon Sinek

Being good is the enemy of being great.

- Fred Lee

Complacency is supported by the very human tendency to deny that which we don’t want to hear. Life is usually more pleasurable without problems and more difficult with them. Most of us, most of the time, think we have enough challenges to keep us busy. We are not looking for more work. So when evidence of a big problem appears, if we can get away with ignoring the information, we often will.

- John Kotter

Managers can maintain direction, but often they can’t change it. Systems and processes can only do so much. To move people in a new direction, you need influence.

- John Maxwell

People like change until it shows up at their doorstep.

- Lee Cockerell

You have to touch people’s hearts before you ask them for a hand.

- John Maxwell

Without a sense of urgency, people won’t give the extra effort that is often essential.

- John Kotter

It is the nature of man as he grows older to protest against change, particular change for the better.

- John Steinbeck

Don’t just flat out tell people how to improve things. Instead, ask. Those on the front lines delivering service will come up with better ideas than you can if you give them the freedom to think and express themselves without fear.

- Lee Cockerell

You can’t hope to change your organization’s work culture if you don’t understand it.

- Michael Watkins

Major changes require a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition. One individual cannot do it alone.

- John Kotter

We are addicted to being the way we are.

- Don Miguel Ruiz

The more novel or controversial your idea, the more supporting documentation you will need.

- Cy Charney

Get used to being uncomfortable.

- John Maxwell

Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?

- Reader’s Digest

When you communicate change to those around you, describe it in the context of “the big picture". Show you the change will affect your corporate mission and goals.

- Cy Charney

If top management consists of cautious managers, no one will push the urgency rate sufficiently high and a major transformation will never succeed.

- John Kotter

It’s impossible to make significant improvements without (some) errors.

- Cy Charney

Average people have always resented progress.

- David J. Schwartz

Change is the price of progress.

- John Maxwell

The biggest mistake you can make is to accept the norms of your time.

- Timothy Ferriss

Whenever you cannot describe the vision driving a change of initiative in five minutes or less and get a reaction that signifies both understanding and interest, you are in for trouble.

- John Kotter

The sad ones are those who waste their energy and trying to hold it (change) back, or they can only feel bitterness in loss and no joy in gain.

- John Steinbeck

Sources of complacency within organizations:

(a) too much happy talk from senior management;
(b) human nature, with its capacity for denial, especially if people are already busy or stressed;
(c) a kill-the-messenger-of-bad-news, low-candor, low-confrontation culture;
(d) a lack of sufficient performance feedback from external sources;
(e) the absence of a major and visible crisis;
(f) too many visible resources;
(g) low overall performance standards;
(h) organizational structures that focus employees on narrow functional goals; and
(i) internal measurement systems that focus on the wrong performance indexes.


- John Kotter