Posted tagged ‘transform’

Positive Change Agents – principles for enjoyable success

August 10, 2011

We’ve used these principles to guide our positive change projects for years.  

These principles are keys to motivating busy people.

  1. Take the time to make goals clear and simple.
  2. The easier it is to contribute the more people do it.
  3. Make starting steps doable and clear.
  4. Make sure people feel confident enough in their role.
  5. Frame goals, directions and other communication positively.
  6. Steady guidance at a strategic level keeps people on track and confident in success.
  7. Make questions specific, positive and generative.
  8. Keep focused on your top priority goal. Ensure that you’ve applied all the resources you need to to this goal.

Are you a positive change agent? – Survey

April 21, 2011

I’m not talking about secret agents … positive change agents are actually in the middle of the action, right in the public eye. They take risks all right, but the kind that help people and organizations grow.

See how many of these statements describe you to find out if you’re a positive change agent, a positive change agent in the making, or needing a weeklong retreat with a gaggle of positive change gurus. Then click the number that fits below the list.

  1. I look for a way to adapt when the change isn’t going my way.
  2. I know the journey is just as important as the destination.
  3. It is intuitively obvious that when people enjoy a change process it’s far more effective, fast and easy.
  4. I prefer to build on strengths and find the best in people, and not the old “break ’em down and build ’em the way you want them” method.
  5. It is obvious that the quality of a relationship is as important as the quality of an idea/product.
  6. I know why Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology, Strength-based development, Positive Deviance, or Solution focus work so well.
  7. I’ve seen that win-win solutions make the most sustainable change.
  8. I’ve found that buy-in comes from authentic questions, real listening, and a chance to make a difference.
  9. I like solutions and talking about what to do far more than creating a list of problems and playing the blame game.
  10. I prefer a few core principles rather than a thick rulebook.

I’d love to hear more about how you create positive change.

Shifting the complex balance of decision making

March 1, 2011

Teeter Totter Effect


Influencing decision-making is challenging if you don’t have direct power.

Even when you do it can be incredibly difficult if there are enough demotivators present. Many of the factors influencing decisions are unconscious, making it challenging to even sway oneself. If you doubt me…

CHOOSING TO LOSE WEIGHT: What percentage of dieters reach their goals? Even though we have high control, it would seem, over what food we put in our mouths, there are many other factors acting as demotivators against the “lose weight” goal. We eat for many reasons including emotional ones that counterbalance the desire to look good.

USING THE TEETER TOTTER EFFECT: Part of the success of influence rests upon our ability and willingness to put more motivators on the teeter totter, and take demotivators.

MOST CHANGE EFFORTS FAIL: As many as 70% of mergers and acquisitions lose profitability. A majority of those are due to culture clashes. These are situations where there are way too many balls on the demotivating side, and they were ignored, not understood, or assumed to not make a difference. Plus, there is rarely enough personal reasons for people in the organizations to work hard to make it work.

Free illustration handout click Teeter Totter Effect

FOCUS: Often helping people focus more strongly on the aspects of the change that motivate them personally are key to gaining buy-in to a major change. Also reducing the things that make them want to avoid your changes as if they were poison.

For ideas on how to have a positive influence see other blog posts:

Positive Change Questions

Influencing your mood

Feedforward – influencing future good action

Focusing on clear goals

I’d LOVE to hear your ideas on how to tip the Teeter Totter to positive action. Please comment or send me an email.

Using classical music to inspire – video

December 18, 2010

This video shows Benjamin Zander in full glory presenting at Being a world-class conductor, he speaks to influence and leadership using marvelous musical analogies. He has wonderful stories that are worth the video themselves as well. And his shoe salesmen joke is a classic example of looking for solutions.

Deep full-life transformation

December 17, 2010

There is an organization that helps their clients truly transform their lives. The Care Center in Nashua, NH.

Their clients move from…

fear to confidence

despair to hope


homelessness to security.

I’ve had the deep honor of interviewing a number of their past clients. Almost every one has talked about living a life of fear,

in a home where the mother’s and children’s physical safety was always questioned…

or one step away from living on streets…

The Transitional Housing Program (their flagship service) is a tightly run process that truly gives the women and their families every opportunity and every tool that they need to transform their life.

They told me that the major ingredient the clients must bring to it is their own grit. They must also believe in the future life they want for themselves and their children. They have to adapt to the supportive guidelines, heal their emotional wounds in therapy, learn new parenting skills, and improve the way they deal with finances. When they did all of this, they succeeded.

I noticed that what usually first drove the women to the Care Center was fear and pain. What then helped the successful ones to transform their life was a vision of greater health, security and well-being for themselves and their children.

There are powerful lessons for all of us in changing our own lives.

  • Let the fear motivate you away from the danger; and then use the love for self and others to motivate to greater things.
  • Be willing to adapt to radically new ways of doing things.
  • Be grateful to those that offer you help – and take advantage of all the resources you can on your journey.


In the next few weeks I’m going to post video of some of the interviews, so that you too can be inspired by these heroic women.

conference room combat to improv jazz – true story

October 28, 2010

This is a true story of Improv Leadership creating more dynamic presentations.

This is a guest post from a good friend and colleague of mine, Eric. He is a senior healthcare architect who has mastered the art of co-design with his clients using improv leader and solution-focus techniques. Here’s his story:

My work as a healthcare planner requires a capacity to talk about complex medical issues and translate those issues into a spatial solution for my firm’s clients; there is, of course, never enough time, space or money!

In the past, those meetings have been “conference room combat” for me, now they are “improv jazz”!

The difference?

  • I have come to recognize that the best solution is not “my solution” but is truly owned by the folks who will use the end result (the implemented plan). By freeing myself up from the presumption that, as the “planning expert” I must generate the “best plan”, I create the opportunity for me to participate freely in the dialogue.  That dialogue, in turn, is free to head into unexpected turf and unconventional, but effective solutions.
  • Once I frame alternatives as potentials for them to review, criticize, examine, take apart and reassemble, clients actually respect my professional skills more, rather than less.  It removes the “yes/no” charge from discussions about solutions, and directs the discussion into the wonderful grey area of “what if?” where true can emerge.  We focus intuitively on the positive and the potential, and view obstacles as opportunities to be mastered!
  • By engaging in dialogue, my clients understand that I view their expertise and experience as critical to the process.  When clinicians are invited to participate, they focus on real issues, rather than “grandstanding” or politicizing the process.

In “conference room combat”, someone may appear to win, but ultimately, everyone loses. The end product suffers.  By creating an environment that allows fluidity of thought everyone has a voice at the table, and the result is an improvisational work session that can truly lead to better, more dynamic and optimal solutions.

Eric R. Lautzenheiser, AIA, ACHA

Director of Health Facilities Planning

Francis Cauffman

If you have a story to share and want to be a guest blogger here, let me know.

Influencing a community to help the homeless

October 25, 2010

Have you ever wondered how to ignite passion for your goals with large groups? How to involve people to gain helpful input and buy-in? How to inspire people to follow-through with meaningful contributions?

Would you like to observe, or better yet participate, in a unique, free community summit?

Join me in a high-energy, fun, and emotionally meaningful event at the Harbor Homes Nashua Care Center, November 8, 2010 (click here for event information)

This special collaborative summit is an important part of the strategic planning process for the Care Center, a phenomenal nonprofit that you can think of as the “Harvard of the Homeless.” This center offers a “hand-up” to women who are committed to transforming their lives in order to achieve a stable home for themselves and their children.  Graduates come from hard-knock situations and go through powerful programs to gain the skills, emotional stability and education to become strong, healthy, contributing citizens.

If you’re like me and you find REAL change an inspiring and fulfilling experience in your life, please come with an open mind and heart. You’ll hear a few stories from graduates of this challenging program, and from others who have been fulfilled by contributing to its success.

Then-and this truly is the fun part-you’ll join in a brainstorming session to uncover fresh ideas to help the Care Center be even more transformative going forward. You’ll see the power of Appreciative Inquiry and other positive-change tools in action. And you know me, it will be highly engaging, with lots of laughs, interaction, and insight.

Attitude is Altitude – focus on what you HAVE

August 3, 2010

Nick Vujicic. This man is INCREDIBLE!

He is a living embodiment that attitude is critical. If he is so positive and inspirational, imagine what can you do when you focus on living your dreams.

Positive deviance – not good vandals, but heroes…

July 19, 2010

Positive Deviance is a great movement that works wonderfully in synch with Solutions Focus and Appreciative Inquiry, which I use extensively. It’s particularly wonderful to see the social and environmental ills it helps. This is particularly close to the first two of my Improvement Questions: Goals? What works already?

Do you want to be more popular?

July 15, 2010

What is everyone’s favorite topic – their own successes.

Help others feel good

Do you want to be more popular?  Sincerely look for and acknowledging other’s real strengths, accomplishments and insights.

The best leaders (described as Level 5 Leaders in “Good to Great“) surround themselves with others who have superior skill sets, abilities and talents. Then they encourage them to do their work. These are the kind of leaders that people will go the extra 10 miles for.

Look for what is best about your spouse. Share that in a sincerely appreciative way.

Look for the talents in your children – let them know as well.

Appreciate out loud what you like about your friends – become more popular.

Just keep it real. Sincerity is key to lasting relationships.

And do it for yourself as well. Acknowledge your strengths, build on them, celebrate them. (for those that are modest — when we celebrate others strengths first most people are willing to give us credit for ours as well.

If enough people do this, the culture of your company/family/circle of friends becomes more fun, more effective and safer to try new things.

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