Since you picked up this book, we assume that you've tried to introduce something new into your organization. Maybe you were successful or maybe you were not completely happy with the result. Change is hard. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the people, just like you, those "powerless leaders," who have had some success in their attempts to introduce a new idea, could sit down with you and share their secrets? This book will provide the next best thing. We've gathered strategies from those successful people so you can take advantage of their experience.
We've been working on introducing new ideas into the workplace for some time.
Each technique or strategy we have collected is written as a pattern, a form of knowledge management for capturing a recurring, successful practice. The patterns in this book are the result of years of documenting our observations, hearing from people who have introduced new ideas, reading a variety of views on the topics of change and influence, studying how change agents throughout history have tackled the problems they faced, and sharing our work for comments and feedback. This book, the final product, does not simply reflect our ideas but includes those of many different people in many different organizations throughout the world. Expert change leaders are likely to say "I do that!" when they read many of these techniques. We will take this comment as a tribute to our work because our goal was to identify tried and true practices, not just a collection of good ideas that may or may not work.
The idea of documenting patterns for successful solutions to recurring problems was introduced by a building architect named Christopher Alexander. Even though we are not architects, a number of us in the software development community have adopted Alexander's approach as a way to capture known solutions for software architecture, software design, testing, customer interaction, and other aspects of software development. The introduction of new ideas is, of course, not limited to the software area, but it's where we both began to see a new source for important and useful patterns.
We intend this book for business practitioners rather than academic scholars, so we have chosen not to cite sources inside the text. However, we are always happy to answer any questions about the specific sources and the patterns. This work is built on research, including that of Robert Cialdini, Malcolm Gladwell, Geoffrey Moore, E.M. Rogers, Peter Senge, and many others. We have included a complete list of citations in the References section, if you would like to read further.
The patterns are listed alphabetically, with a brief summary, on the inside front and back covers of the book. Pattern names include a page reference where the complete pattern may be found, for example, Fear Less(?). As we describe pattern uses and experience reports, you will see a pattern reference and you can turn to the appropriate page and read more about the pattern. This book can thus become a reference after you have read the initial chapters. When looking for the solution to a particular problem, you can simply skim the summaries and refer to the complete pattern description for a more detailed explanation.
This pattern collection has evolved over several years thanks to many pattern originators and countless others who have provided comments, pattern uses, and other feedback. Even though the book has now been published, we continue to care for these patterns and would like to hear from all of you, our readers. As Christopher Alexander noted:
We may then gradually improve these patterns which we share, by testing them against experience: we can determine, very simply, whether these patterns make our surroundings live, or not, by recognizing how they make us feel.
Review By: Heather Buckman 05/14/2007
Here's a quick litmus test for you: does the idea of a sweeping change in your organization make you break out in a cold sweat, or break out in a victory dance? If you're dancing in the streets right now, then Fearless Change was written specifically for you, the “change evangelist.” Change evangelists are the ones who aren’t content to let things be, who are idea generators, and whose success depends on getting other people on board. This book addresses that critical piece of getting people on board. Focusing on “patterns of change”--patterns that work successfully across situations--the book covers forty-eight techniques that you can implement immediately in your organization. Similar to patterns in programming, the book takes a look at using program structures to solve a cross-platform problem. People are unique, and Fearless Change provides a veritable catalog of ideas to help transform the hardcore skeptic into the next evangelist.
Examples of techniques include:
External Validation: To increase an idea’s credibility, use external sources. Then they’re not just going on your personal word.
Employ a Champion Skeptic: Choose a strong opinion leader to play the role of “official skeptic.”
In Your Space: Keep your ideas alive by placing visual reminders around your company.
Brown Bag Lunches: Invite people to come during lunch to hear about a new idea.
Trial Run: Take the pressure off by telling people you’re going to do a “trial run” of an idea.
Many books on change cover less concrete material--“change is hard,” “people will resist change”--but few deliver when it comes to concrete techniques. Fearless Change is a book that reads like a toolkit for the innovator who has an idea that she wants the team to embrace. It pays homage to the fact that it’s not enough to have a good idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but to have one adopted passionately takes hard work and careful strategy. Technology as a field is saturated with change. Couple this with acquisitions, layoffs, and turnovers, and you have a field rife with reason to study up on change.
While skeptical at first that this book would have anything new (In a past life, I was a social worker; we like to consider ourselves seasoned change agents!), I have to say that I was surprised. It’s easy to get caught up in the fast-paced life of business and lose sight of the fact that it is natural for people to resist change. We have two choices: ignore it, and plow ahead; or address it, using tactics provided in the book. Ignoring it, while easier in the short-run, can breed a culture of distrust and resentment. Why go through the hassle of addressing change resistance? Simple: addressing it gets you the buy-in you want and need in order to be an innovator who gets things done. It’s a law of science that you can push further with less resistance. This book does an excellent job of giving you the tools you need to be the groundbreaking innovator you were cut out to be.
Change evangelists are the ones who aren’t content to let things be, who are idea generators, and whose success depends on getting other people on board. This book addresses the critical piece of getting people on board. Focusing on patterns that work successfully across situations, it covers forty-eight techniques that you can implement immediately in your organization.