BooksChangeJanuary 25, 20190A New Book

Start­ing a new book is a lit­tle like the first few months of preg­nan­cy. (Gen­tle­men, you’re going to have to find your own anal­o­gy; I’m sure there is one.)

You’re excit­ed and a lit­tle ner­vous (less so of both if it’s not your first book or baby). Even though you under­stand the process, it still seems like a bit of a mir­a­cle that at the end of it you’ll have this whole brand new thing. And even though, espe­cial­ly at the begin­ning, nobody can tell you’re expect­ing — you think about your con­di­tion a lot, and find that it affects you on a dai­ly, maybe even hourly basis.

So: no, I’m def­i­nite­ly not preg­nant.  But I am start­ing a new book.

The work­ing title is Chang­ing, and the for-now sub-title is Rewiring Our­selves and Our Orga­ni­za­tions for Con­tin­u­ous Change. The core premise is that change is no longer a one-and-done thing, where you just pick the orga­ni­za­tion up, move it, set it back down again and leave it there. Change real­ly is con­tin­u­ous — per­son­al­ly, social­ly, orga­ni­za­tion­al­ly — and this is a huge chal­lenge — because most of us are strong­ly wired to pre­fer stability.

The book, and our Pro­teus approach to change, reflects this real­i­ty: when work­ing with clients to sup­port them through major change, we help them to acquire mind­sets, skills and ways of oper­at­ing that will help them make this tran­si­tion — and all the tran­si­tions yet to come. In oth­er words, instead of just help­ing them make a change, we show them how to re-wire them­selves and their orga­ni­za­tions — per the sub­ti­tle — to be able to suc­ceed and even thrive through the con­tin­u­ous change that is cer­tain­ly ahead for them and for their companies.

I’m excit­ed and ner­vous. It seems amaz­ing  that in a year or so, I’ll have a brand new bounc­ing baby book.

Since this is the fifth time I’ve done this, I’m pret­ty con­fi­dent it will work out OK — but there are dif­fer­ences; I find that every book, as every preg­nan­cy and every baby, is unique.  This book is in some ways the most com­plex of any I’ve writ­ten:  I need to com­mu­ni­cate not only how change is dif­fer­ent now — faster, more ubiq­ui­tous — and how and why that con­flicts more deeply with our  “sta­bil­i­ty wiring,” but also how our response to change now needs to be dif­fer­ent. We need to think about and tar­get our change efforts on three dif­fer­ent lev­els — lead­ers, indi­vid­u­als and the orga­ni­za­tion itself —  in order to be effec­tive at deal­ing with rapid ever-present change and our wired-in resis­tance to it.  Then there’s the fact that chang­ing suc­cess­ful­ly (not just once but over and over) requires a shift in mind­set, and also learn­ing new behav­iors and cre­at­ing new sys­tems and approach­es. And final­ly, the fact that orga­ni­za­tions today are much more com­plex, with the parts and peo­ple being much more inter­de­pen­dent, means that in mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant change, you have to think about all the impli­ca­tions of that change, decide which are the most crit­i­cal and address those as part of the over­all change.


But I have faith in the sound­ness of our approach (I’m see­ing it work for clients dai­ly). And I also have faith in my par­tic­u­lar super-pow­er, which is to cre­ate order out of chaos; I’m good at crack­ing codes, in a way that allows oth­ers to ben­e­fit from the decod­ing. And, I’m get­ting tremen­dous sup­port — both con­cep­tu­al­ly and prac­ti­cal­ly — espe­cial­ly from my part­ner Laird McLean, who has broad and deep expe­ri­ence help­ing clients through all kinds of changes.

So, here we go…wish me luck.

And if you’re so inclined, I’d very much like to hear your expe­ri­ences of going through orga­ni­za­tion­al change: what hap­pened, what worked, and what did­n’t. I’m try­ing to gath­er as much real-world con­text as pos­si­ble, to incor­po­rate prac­ti­cal exam­ples. Feel free to com­ment here or to email me at

Thanks in advance!

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