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Organizational Change By Pam Marmon

8 Rules to Transform How You Think About Organizational Change

If you’re leading a disruptive organizational change—a church-wide reorganization, for example—you’re probably feeling the pressure.

Both in leadership and elsewhere in life, we’re taught to associate change with pain and discomfort. It’s no surprise then that many people fear transformation and assume the mindset that change is hard. But to be most effective in leading your organization through a major shift, you can’t buy into negativity or you’ll hesitate during crucial decision-making moments.

Here are eight rules of leadership and psychology that will transform how you think about change and put you in the right mindset to guide your organization.

(1) Every Successful Project Requires Change

If there’s no change, there’s no progress—you wind up right where you started—which is why every successful project requires change. While project management is about implementation, change management is about adoption. You can’t have one without the other; they are interdependent and integral to the success of any change effort.

(2) Change Is Personal

While a brave few embrace change, most people react to a major shift with apprehension.

Whether the change is a new routine, a reorganization, or other day-to-day impact, when faced with change, people’s first instinct is to understand the personal impact, or the “What’s in it for me?” They want to know why going through a learning curve and adjustment period is worth it. Once they have grappled with the answer, they can assist others on the change journey.

(3) Change Is Emotional

Change is frightening, remember? That reality can be dangerous for leaders trying to maintain order because feelings are a more powerful change motivator than logic. As much as we’d like to believe we are rational human beings, our emotions undermine the logical part of our brain. You need to manage your team members’ emotions as much as any other aspect of your change process.

(4) People Commit to What They Help Shape

Everyone wants to be in control of his or her life. Instead of telling people what to do, help them craft their own hero journey with you. They’re far more likely to get on board with and commit to your change plan if you give them the opportunity to help shape it than if you simply tell them how it’s going to be.

(5) Your Audience Is Hungry for Your Message

People crave information. They want to consume it with delight and embrace the vision that’s worthy of their time, their efforts, and their legacies.

As an organization leader, you have more access to information and a bigger picture view than any of your team members. Therefore, it’s up to you to make sure the right information gets communicated to them in a way that minimizes confusion and maximizes buy in.

(6) People Like Progress

Everyone wants to feel like they’re part of something that’s progressing, improving, and growing. They want to progress on a personal level, too. As a leader, you can tap into this and discover the deep desire of humanity to wrestle, adapt, and master the shifts of nature in search of comfort and control.

Frame change as a path toward progress to get your team members on board with your plan.

(7) Everyone Wants to Change for the Better, and Everyone Can

We as human beings are capable of adapting to change in search of growth, opportunities, and mastery of our environment. Keep this in mind as you share plans for change with your team. Remember, before anything else, they will likely wonder, “What’s in it for me?”

Have confidence that even the most resistant person can come around to your organization’s change if they can clearly see how it offers a path to improvement.

(8) With the Proper Process, Change Is Not Hard

Lastly, know that change is only hard when it is attempted aimlessly. If you go into it with a clear process and outcome in mind, you can transform your outlook on change for good. It will no longer be something that frightens, but an opportunity that excites. It’s a chance for you to prove yourself as an exceptional leader and embark on your most ambitious journey yet.


Pam Marmon is the CEO of Marmon Consulting, a change management consulting firm that provides strategy and execution services to help companies transform. This past was adapted from her book, “No One’s Listening and It’s Your Fault,” available NOW on Amazon!

This post is the first in a three part blog series!

1. Organizational Change

2. Cut through the Noise

3. Your Team Isn’t Listening to You

More About Pam Marmon’s New Book!


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