I’ve faced several challenges writing this second article in the series about leadership and change. To fully explore this next area, I’m going to need to say some things that many “leaders” don’t like to hear. However, I think its right that I pose these challenges as recognition is the first step in a cultural movement away from these failings. I will try an put positive light where I can but you can be the judge on the balance I’ve given to each side of this equation.

I shall begin exploring “the leadership team”. In most organizations, this will be those at the top of the tree in the power and influence hierarchy. The ultimate team in charge – typically the “C-suite” or similar. This “top team” as I shall call them, are easily defined using the phrase “the buck stops here”. Now that last quoted phrase takes me nicely into my challenge with such leadership teams – Accountability.

true leadershipAs stated in my previous article, the position of leadership and the attributes of leadership are not one and the same. Many want to have the title but don’t want to take the accountability or responsibility that it requires. Discovering that they are expected to act strategically, make important decisions and retain a level of organizational authority can be a surprise to many; frequently rejecting such requirements or at a minimum, taken with immense reluctance and not very effectively. Recent news about leadership style at Uber, may be good evidence of this inability to take on this professional leadership role successfully, but I don’t want to spend paragraphs on that disaster!

In my opinion, there are three types of leaders and they are all present in the top team.

  1. Those that have taken the role because they want the importance, to stroke personal ego and feel special on a personal level. Let’s call these blimps – puffed up, sitting high in the organization but with no real ground lines.
  2. Those that are lost and frightened by the role, jumping aimlessly from one thing to another, hoping not to look too stupid and praying to have something click sometime. We can refer to these as puppies, jumping about without meaning to harm anyone, but not capable of being a fully functioning adult and understanding the expectations of the role professionally within the organization (think Uber again).
  3. Those that embrace responsibility, lead by example and understand how to empower and enable their organization to succeed through clear and considered direction. These are the true leaders, who demonstrate leadership in every way possible.

What is the balance of each in your leadership team? If there are more combined blimps and puppies than true leaders, its won’t be the best performing leadership team – and you will most definitely know it! Sometimes the sheer determination of true leaders can overcome the drag of the others to push forward what is needed, but emotionally this is very draining on the energy levels of said true leaders. If not it’s a constantly disagreeing group that never does anything productive enough to take the organization forward and may drive out the true leaders to seek alternative roles with other organizations.

blimpsBlimps are difficult leaders to work with. They inflate themselves with self importance, feeding a need to feel vital to the organization, but see their role as more about who will do the job for them rather than doing anything themselves. They are figurehead leaders who probably have instinctive command and control approaches, and readily farm out all their real work to others, badly using delegation and empowerment as cover words for their dumping. In organizations where promotion and professional expertise is measured by appearance, sweet talking and externalized displays (peacocking) then these people quickly rise to the top. They are those that talk the talk but never walk it. There is very little that can be done to educate these people and prevention is the best cure. Preventing them requires the culture of the organization to change and that can be a whole scale change initiative in itself.

puppiesThe puppies are those that somehow landed in a leadership position. They often refer to themselves as managers or senior managers because this is where their approaches lie. They landed in a leadership position because nobody else would take it, or they got rapidly promoted within the organization, potentially because of technical or managerial skills but never assessed on leadership competency. These people can be seen as victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes they are victims of lazy managers and leaders who rather than work to develop their skills, want the quick fix of “if in doubt, promote them out”. In a leadership position, they are a fish out of water. They may have some management capability, but that’s as good as it gets.  Unfortunately, puppies are poorly supported, and although they may have the potential to become really great leaders, they are not given the development, mentoring or other support mechanisms and just expected to “hit the ground running”. Without true leadership development programs, these people are destined to fail.

Now beyond the “top team” we can see leaders throughout the organization fitting into these three groupings and demonstrating success or otherwise within each category. The team led by each of these types, become a microcosm of the leadership style. The blimp, does little work, delegates everything and reminds everyone how important their position is. They may even do this with the humblebrag approach “I don’t know if it was my leadership, but we really got the results on that sale….”; “its not for me to say we are amazing, but the results speak for themselves” – you get the idea. The puppies are just trying their best to perform and hoping that they can fake it till they make it.

We really need to have a better way of getting the right people into these positions and supporting those that are placed here. We hiring structures to reflect leadership competence as a demonstrated behaviour – not assess it by a list of titles previously held. To have truly great leadership in organizations, we need to have development and support mechanisms to enable those in leadership roles to truly release their potential while embracing the responsibilities that go with that role.

Capillary Consulting offers a range of leadership development opportunities that can be tailored to the needs of your organization. Let’s discuss how we can help your puppies, prevent your blimps and support your true leaders.

Coming next … Leadership & Change 3: Stick or twist? Navigating the personal journey.

Leadership is not about a title. Individuals may be appointed, anointed or otherwise installed in positions of power, authority and decision making but that doesn’t mean they are able to exercise true leadership. It isn’t a competence that plugs in by virtue of the situation.

holding handsIts been a little over 2 years since I first posted about Change Agent networks, the role of Change Agents and their relevant benefits. They are popular articles and I’ve seen readership reach thousands across them all, prompting me to realise that there is appetite out there for their purpose and the topic worthy of an additional visit.

One of my frequent mantras is that successful change is done with people, not to people. When you have a cohesive groups of people all experiencing the change together, they can mutually support and carry each other through the ups and downs of the change. They feel part of the change, have a sense of ownership and are far more readily inclined to engage with the change on a personal and thus professional level.

Change initiatives are generally driven from the top. A strategic delivery, business realignment or improved operational activity is cascaded into the business. For the groups of people at the sharp end of these changes, they frequently resist, push back or become disengaged with the change because they feel it is done to them. Unfortunately, this is often the delivery model organizations follow. These approaches are driven from a focus in project management or technology implementations which focus on deliverables, outputs, Go-Live dates and other such key goals. These are key indicators for the delivery of a change, but not the reflective of the true success needed, that of gaining employee, consumer or stakeholder adoption.

I’ve said before that Change Management is not a one size fits all approach. Driving change management as some side piece to delivering the new initiative or encasing it the same old methodology as every other change, is just asking for failure. Focusing on the people is at the heart of change and Change agents are key to navigating that successful pathway of both head and heart.

lego connectedThe simple truth is that successful change needs many people to play the part of Change Agent where that Change Agent is a role beyond that of the change manager or change lead person for the project, initiative or activity. Change Agents can of course be these full-time roles, but my view defines them as being anyone with responsibility for enabling the people in the organization to engage, accept and move forward with the change as it affects them and those around them. So, for me, Change Agents are people throughout the business who connect the top to the bottom, the process to the people and the operational to the strategic for any change event.

Change Agents may be senior managers, team leaders or front-line staff. Some of the best placed Change Agents will be the go-to people in the organization who readily show they have an informal leadership within their workplace. Connecting all the Change Agents provide us with the network. A network that functions beyond the typical cascading communications and project dictated control processes. These people operate in multiple directions outside the traditional hierarchal structure. Their role is to support each other and work with everyone to help them understand the change and how they are affected. The Change Agent is far more than a champion for the change. The Change Agent is a connector that allows 2-way communications between the delivery focused team and the people at the front-line of the change. All organizations that have these networks in place are far more successful in delivering change.

Why are Change Agent networks successful? Three key reasons:

  1. The Change Agents are supporting the business from the inside out, working with the people affected by the change;
  2. The network has 2-way interactions. The Change Agents are key subject matter experts for their function and providing feedback to the delivery team, yet they also provide a fast and direct access route to those at the frontline.
  3. The Change Agents are trusted advisors to all, understanding the business, its people and with quality education, able to expertly navigate emotion driven responses that go with any change within the business area.

When it comes to the success or failure of a change, the label is often defined by the way we measure it. In my view a change is only a success if it has realised the benefits that were foreseen at the point of origin. Those benefits can only be truly arrived at, when the people are performing the new or different activity in the business. Changes are ultimately successful because of the people, not because of the process applied and people help people to deal with change.

I’ve recently returned from the great Berlin Change Days event. An awesome couple of days over a weekend focused on exploring the art of disruption, with lots of arts and lots of disruption from people, places and the insights they bring.

I’ve been following the evolution of Berlin Change Days over the years with eager anticipation as to when I would make the trip. Ironically given that I had to move from the UK to Canada, to put myself in the position to attend.

explosionI had prepared myself for a heart, soul, ego and more to be twisted, turned and shaken inside out. This would be a group of people who spoke my language but were equally capable of keeping me true to my own self exploration of change and disruption.

I’m honoured that Nik Beeson and I had the opportunity to deliver our Disruption & Dis-Chord session on the first night and get a group of attendees clapping and conjugating the relationship of disruption to change through the analogy of beats. I won’t spoil the content for those that may attend or experience a future session but I pose this thought to you: Culture of an organization is its heartbeat – how do you travel to the new beat of the business heart when a disruption occurs?

I’ve always believed that the best change facilitators have a fluid connection between their creative and analytical sides. Connecting emotion and logic for the benefit of navigating a pathway forward. Its partly reflected in my own company name having a human and scientific reference (see capillary motion for the scientific reference). This conference brought that in loud and clear for me to experience and see others joyfully enthuse over.

Sessions used creative art, music, movement, dance, improvisation and many more incursions within the world of the liberal and creative arts to see disruption. We even started by putting disruption in trial with some awesome for and against arguments as to its “buzzword” multiple usage.

As I’ve said before, with any conference the depth can be measured by the side conversations and when you realize that your conversation has moved into international development being supported through pathways of choice – you truly are freeing your intellect to respond in its best way. I loved sharing my insights of curiosity and I loves being able to discuss the geographic perception differences of change management, leadership and organizational development.

Thank you everyone for massaging my synapses, challenging me and making me see with so many different lenses and making me part of the family. Thank you to Holger, Inge and the team, Berlin Change Days is my best conference ever and I look forward to many more!

If you attended, what were your thoughts, takeaways or insights of the experience?

Thanks to the participants at our workshop below…


brainpathI attended the ACMP Regional Conference Canada in Toronto just over a week ago. It’s probably taken that much time for me to let the content sink in, my brain to digest it and to make sense of the many conversations that abound at such gatherings. Any conference is more than the presentations, its second layer is the connections with other minds, thoughts and insights. I’m so pleased to see this gaining traction at more and more similar events.

With around 200 people in attendance, it was a great learning and thinking experience. I love my change management conversations and my personal highlight was facilitating 53 fellow attendees in an exploration of Change Management: where next? This for me was an experience that not only confirmed the depth of passion we have for growing the field and exploring the opportunities it brings forward but it confirmed the themes that were the foundation stones of the conference in my view.

double-rainbowProbably the most common theme was AGILE. Beyond the Agile project management approach this was truly the use of the verb to be agile. Underscoring some great presentations from people like Jason Little and Sean and Hashmeen at RBC were the conversations around being agile in approaching change. Organizations that want flexibility within their staff and their required learning need to demonstrate agility at organizational and individual levels.

The second theme I took away was CURIOSITY. Now I have a slight bias here as I presented on the topic with Nik Beeson, but before that happened many presentations from Liane’s opening Key note, through the round table discussions and general conversations raised the subject. The desire to investigate, to not fear being curious and to encourage questioning was evident for all. Releasing curiosity is releasing that desire to learn. خطط الدومينو

My third observation was a focus on COACHING. Several conversations I had beside the main conference discussed how to develop others in Change Management capabilities through experienced professionals coaching them. Using Leadership Coaching to develop sponsor engagement and support as well as the opportunity to understand the value of change management.

This leads me to my fourth area, that of the term CHANGE AGENT. Time and again reference was made to people being and becoming change agents in all its guises. I recognize my own passion for this but reflect that it’s frequency of use is a good thing. We all have roles to play as change agents for ourselves and encouraging others.

My final take away is PASSION. Wherever I was, whomever I spoke with, and very evident in the facilitated discussion, attendees had a passion for the profession. This was reflected in senior practitioners wanting to develop more depth, offer support to those new to the field and make it accessible to more people. For the newer entrant just discovering their appetite for the field, a definite hunger for knowledge was present, sometimes overwhelming but so uplifting.

It was a pleasure to be part of this great regional conference. It was a strong follow up to the global ACMP conference. If it set the bar for future regional events, it is a high bar to follow. لعبة اون لاين It’s only a small proportion of the size of the global conference but it punched above its weight. بى اوت بث مباشر Thank you all for a great experience.

I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on the conference please share.

blacksmithFar too many times I have conversations that start by asking what methodology I use for change management. Typically, this comes from a client but sometimes a colleague or connection. It’s as if they think I’ve got the secret sauce and three spoons added into the mix will make it all happen wonderfully well. I’m here today to dash those utopian misconceptions. I’m sorry but anyone who thinks they can use the single same approach to every change event is sorely mistaken and doomed to failure more times than they should.

I have many contacts who are certificated in certain methodologies. It’s great they have these in their tool box, but I worry when that’s all I see. The problem is that I see these practitioners forcing their change events to fit their learned methods no matter what the consequences. It’s very naive to think that the change event can be shaped to fit. Do you really think it wise to start your change with a change effort in itself? Fortunately, they often strike lucky and get a change where their approach works, or at least works well enough to satisfy the required change management needs. But I don’t like relying on luck too much.

In a world of continued complex and disruptive change events we need to be able to build the canvas for change activity that suits the change, flexes with it and guides us through the change event. We need to pick up relevant activities to meet the change needs from across a catalogue of approaches as we deploy our strategy. I strongly advocate that change managers who want to truly deliver successful change, should have multiple methods, models and approaches to hand. If you try and make the change fit your preference, then you are undertaking an unnecessary change management activity in itself. Change Management is a multilayered, holistic practice and cannot be undertaken with a cookie cutter approach.

carpenters-toolsSince being part of the founding group and as a longtime volunteer, I’ve been an advocate for the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) partly because of the value it places in being methodology agnostic. Subject to popular myth and conjecture it does not recommend any on approach or methodology. It talks to a likely cyclic experience for change in its Standard® but that is about the journey and activities required not the tools you choose to use for each activity; that my friends is for you to choose.

When I created my certified change agent program I was adamant that the credential would not be about a single approach but about understanding the journey and how to successfully navigate it. Of course it also talks to the whole change agency philosophy I believe is a major contributor to the success of change events in organizations.

By the time I completed my graduate program I had dissected 11 approaches in detail and explored many more. It gave me a multifaceted opportunity to ensure I have more than one set of tools. Like any great artisan, who has some old well used tools together with some new ones; some old reliable that get the job done and some others that are only for those tricky action, my toolbox is much the same. This October marks 25 years in the change field for me – scary times! I’ve had an opportunity to collect like crazy, I just hope that others see the same benefits in a diverse and assorted toolbox to have to hand

Join us at one of our Managing & Leading Change Workshops here or become a Certified Change Agent here.

5 tips for a healthy diet this New Year

Whatever your New Year’s Resolution, a healthy and balanced diet will provide many benefits into 2019 and beyond. What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to fight infections, as well as how likely we are to develop health problems later in life, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and different types of cancer. Check out the latest tea burn reviews.

The exact ingredients of a healthy diet will depend on different factors like how old and how active we are, as well as the kinds of foods that are available in the communities where we live. But across cultures, there are some common food tips for helping us lead healthier, longer lives. These are the Best semen volume pills.

Eat a variety of food

Our bodies are incredibly complex, and (with the exception of breast milk for babies) no single food contains all the nutrients we need for them to work at their best. Our diets must therefore contain a wide variety of fresh and nutritious foods to keep us going strong.

Some tips to ensure a balanced diet:

  • In your daily diet, aim to eat a mix of staple foods such as wheat, maize, rice and potatoes with legumes like lentils and beans, plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and foods from animal sources (e.g. meat, fish, eggs and milk).
  • Choose wholegrain foods like unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice when you can; they are rich in valuable fibre and can help you feel full for longer.
  • Choose lean meats where possible or trim it of visible fat.
  • Try steaming or boiling instead of frying foods when cooking.
  • For snacks, choose raw vegetables, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit, rather than foods that are high in sugars, fats or salt.

Cut back on salt

Too much salt can raise blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Most people around the world eat too much salt: on average, we consume double the WHO recommended limit of 5 grams (equivalent to a teaspoon) a day. This is how java burn works.

Even if we don’t add extra salt in our food, we should be aware that it is commonly put in processed foods or drinks, and often in high amounts.

Some tips to reduce your salt intake:

  • When cooking and preparing foods, use salt sparingly and reduce use of salty sauces and condiments (like soy sauce, stock or fish sauce).
  • Avoid snacks that are high in salt, and try and choose fresh healthy snacks over processed foods.
  • When using canned or dried vegetables, nuts and fruit, choose varieties without added salt and sugars.
  • Remove salt and salty condiments from the table and try and avoid adding them out of habit; our tastebuds can quickly adjust and once they do, you are likely to enjoy food with less salt, but more flavor!
  • Check the labels on food and go for products with lower sodium content. Try out the best appetite suppressant.

Reduce use of certain fats and oil

We all need some fat in our diet, but eating too much – especially the wrong kinds – increases risks of obesity, heart disease and stroke.

Industrially-produced trans fats are the most hazardous for health. A diet high in this kind of fat has been found to raise risk of heart disease by nearly 30%.

I’m always interested in exploring the true human elements of change management. بوكر اونلاين I regularly have the conversation with others whereby I explain that change is more than a process it’s a journey of feelings and experience. This emotional side is far too easily overlooked, particularly by those managers who want to manage activity rather than the people doing it!

pinkpiggybankIn the past year or so I’ve been taking a keen interest in discussions around the personal, or human emotional bank account. This is based on the premise that every individual has a set level of emotional energy within themselves and every time they do something, part of this energy is used up. However, there is only a finite amount of energy, so over time it may become dangerously low or even be exhausted. When this happens, people fall sick, become depressed or withdraw from interaction with others, even having a breakdown in the most extreme cases. العاب بلبل As with a Fully-Verified financial bank account, when the funds are perilously low, things get scary.

To prevent going too low on your emotional account, you need to find ways to make deposits into it. Like in the financial space those deposits can be achieved from a wide range of sources, and will vary in amounts too. Now we live in a world that doesn’t create a lot of space to get deposits of emotional energy. Most of the emotional withdrawals are linked to change events, with the extreme changes having greatest impact. Of course, one of my personal challenges is allowing people time to recover somewhat from a change before the next comes along. We never have opportunities to truly grieve on the last change, before the next happens.

mindbreakingNow the whole concept of an emotional bank account I find close to building personal and therefore professional resilience. I talked about this in my last post here. If we do not carve space in our hectic schedules for recharge time we run the threat of a poorly prepared organization, unready for change, lacking resilience to cope with that next piece of activity coming fast over the horizon.

rechargeI think there are a number of easy things we can do to help with building up the balance in this emotional bank account. We can start by recognizing its existence and reflecting on our personal levels. We can find ways to recognize what takes more out than others and prepare for those higher value withdrawals. لعبة الكوبه We can also find ways to newly create or replenish those emotional reserves. To this latter point I have seen a personal change in my levels since embracing elements of mindfulness. I’m not an expert in the field by any stretch, but the short time outs to consider self and be centred around your position in the universe have truly paid me dividends. This article I wrote discussed my journey with mindfulness.

I truly see great benefits in managing your emotional bank account, developing resilience and being better prepared for professional and personal change in your life. We live in a constantly changing world with an ever increasing speed of change and number of changes. We need to find our coping mechanisms proactively and move away from Band-Aids to try and fix it when its too late!

Big bang or slow n steady change – which do you prefer? For most people they say that incremental is easier to deal with, not so stressful and more likely to stick. But I ask you, how much of your change is incremental? When was the last time a change manager had the chance to slow things down and have steady paced change?

Disruptive changeI was talking at a small gathering of HR professionals the other night. When the Q&A came at the end, the questions were dominated by disruptive change questions. What I mean by disruptive change? Think discomfort, uneasy and unpredictable change. Consider it more akin to revolution and upheaval within the workplace.

So what were the questions? Typically, the theme was – How do we cope with a totally new “X”. It was less about revisionist tendencies and more about replacement approaches. It was a whole new tech platform, a whole new location or a whole new management. One question even said we’ve been told to be coaches and leaders and stop being managers!

So how do we cope with disruptive change? Unfortunately, all those great change management models struggle to fit this type of change. When dealing with disruptive change we have little prep time, usually the change is heading forward at a rate of knots and the collateral damage is a path of bruised and battered egos left in its wake. Not a good sight!

Recognition, resilience and reputation are my 3Rs for coping with a landscape of disruptive change.


Find a way to recognize the reactions to disruptive change that people will likely express. Recognize those tell-tale signs, the first wave responses and importantly the underlying emotional burden. Remember that what might not be disruptive change from your viewpoint can appear very disruptive from those amongst it.


There’s a lot to be said for the strength of a resilient workforce when change comes along! For me this is all caught up in the change readiness of an organization. If you are ready for change you don’t experience such a big hit when it occurs. You can never be really ready for disruptive change. However, if you have built resiliency into the organization it will have a lot softer landing on arrival.


This may sound strange but I’m not talking about the reputation of your organization to its customers or client base, because there are innumerable websites and large corporations like Salesforce which can easily apprise of where you might be going wrong with your customers. This is about your reputation for coping with change. How well did your last change go? Did it deliver successfully with little damage, or are people still in intensive care nursing their wounds? Your reputation for coping with past changes can inform the workforce how well you will cope with the next.

Coping with disruptive change is not an easy thing to do. I fully appreciate the energy that needs to be exerted and that for me makes resiliency the anchor requirement of those 3Rs. If you can build up your emotional bank account to cope better, you become more resilient and combine this with effective recognition and a high quality reputation and you will come out the other side, better for the change and without the baggage.

Good luck dealing with your next disruptive change!

linkedin-logoI’ve been watching with the interest a recent up tick in comments about LinkedIn losing its MOJO. It generally stems from a relaxation in their social protocols across profile, newsfeed and group management. It’s all gone very relaxed!

Now personally I’ve been an open networker, group contributor and watcher of the newsfeed since I started on LI many years ago. I have always enjoyed connecting with like minds and the conversations have been great, but I’m starting to lose the vibe too. I’m beginning to echo the views I read and nod in agreement as someone else comments about the irrelevant post or group rules being broken. Am I just turning into a grumpy old man or is there some substance to the way I feel about this?

So I took a step back and looked at what has happened and how was the change managed? Where was the change management? What was the stakeholder experience?

A little bit of digging gives me the driver for change: monetarization of the business model. Hmm, so change to make more money from the system. Ok I get it what else? Well nothing I could find. Some references around about simplification, listening to customer needs, greater access etc. But all without evidence. It appears that they are all the PR and marketing smooth overs to make the change seem more palatable. That’s not a good start. This core message was never openly communicated and as for stakeholder engagement…. well it wasn’t present in my corner.

So now to the changes. The good thing is that not everything was done at once. Incremental roll out was undertaken but it was not a smooth incremental. The bad is that there was no engaged education on the upcoming change. There was an email sent. It said this what’s happening, deal with it. So stakeholders didn’t have the opportunity to understand the change, and a cursory awareness was accepted.

After implementation how are people adopting the changes? Well there’s no management post implementation and from my observation and that of others I see, it’s all a bit wild west! Personally I’m getting at least 2 fake profile connects a week, copied into a group message that now reveals everyone else copied in and includes me in every response, and more valueless group messages than I can count. I guess it’s doing something for the people generating these activities, but not me! I’m also seeing my connections start to go all Facebook on me. I’ve always seen LI as a professional network and have no desire to read about the litter of kittens you have for sale, the contents of your freezer or how many discreet liaisons you’ve chalked off this week (ok the last is an exaggeration, but you get the message).

So what about sustaining this change? I guess it’s here to stay until the business development and marketing people at LI find a better model for their needs. We are looking at a massive group of people undergoing a huge culture shift. It’s success will no doubt be measured by the increased revenue for the company or an influencer marketing platform for selling your products.

Personally I would like to see a stakeholder engagement assessment undertaken, just to cover all bases and provide some evidence of adoption and potential sustainment. For my take the jury is still out on this change but I will keep an open mind. What are your thoughts?