B O O K E X C E R P T A P R I L 2010
NO ONE WILL CARE !
Managing Change in Organizations
K e v i n J. N i e m i
Acknowledgments: Strong influences on my life
Preface: Who I am & What this is NOT
Prologue: Why I wrote this book
Chapter 1 . . .. . .. .. Direction
Chapter 2 . . .. . .. .. Resources
Chapter 3 . . .. . .. .. Alignment
Chapter 4 . . .. . .. .. Motivation
Chapter 5 . . .. . .. .. Advertising
Chapter 6 . . .. . .. .. Training
Chapter 7 . . .. . .. .. Integration
Chapter 8 . . .. . .. .. Commitment
D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™ Review Checklist
Surveys & Data Analysis
Generic Project Deliverables
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What this is NOT
This book is about change skills, a change approach, a methodology for organizing your work so that you
are successful at implementation. It does NOT speak to or anyway guarantee that your destination, strategy,
objectives, goals are accurate, correct, and what is needed. This chart will help:
YOU GET SUCCESS
WHAT YOU CORRECT
C DON’T WANT STRATEGY
I NO RESULTS FAILURE
L BAD IDEA, GOOD IDEA
L NOTHING LEFT AT THE
S GETS DONE
Success is implementing well an accurate strategy. I and this book can help you increase your change skills,
but you will still fail if your objectives are wrong. This book is NOT a substitute or replacement for accurate
strategy. Going in the right direction is the first priority. Skills to make that happen are a close second.
Prologue – Why I Wrote this Book
I’ve worked for many consulting and research firms and many clients in many industries practically all over
the world. And for this I am grateful – yes, grateful as my life changed in so many positive ways, my
learnings from all of these travels and experiences was huge. There are too many memories to recount and
too many people to thank, but know you all are thanked sincerely. Some of you are acknowledged in the
The point of this book is to share what I know. Let me begin by commenting on the discipline of change
There is too much “insider-language”, smoke and mirrors, book-chasing dilettantes of new ideas, the
appearance of research, and so forth. Many times I’ve tailored various methodologies for organizational
change to other methodologies for managing initiatives. In essence, I’ve “sliced and diced” to fit change
principles into an overarching approach that has three main characteristics:
1. it was developed by strategists or software implementers or other non-change people.
2. people and how they react to change were not considered and included in the original overarching approach.
3. it is not scaleable to be organization-wide without a lot of work.
This “slicing and dicing” is the same as tailoring a change methodology to a client’s needs. I have done a lot
of the latter. See the Checklist in the Appendix.
This book is my attempt to clear the air, put change under the spotlight, and offer an approach that is
tested, workable, simple, and direct. In general and in my experience, the “proof is in the doing.”
First you start with discussion to establish logical validity, then you look at constraints and restrictions,
issues of timing, et cetera (what is sometimes called “reality checking or testing”). Finally you implement an
approach and find out by how well things go just how much you know.
The analogy I like for this is an airplane in flight proceeding to come down and land at an airport.
Analogously my knowledge and work managing change ranges from 30,000 feet to ground level, so I am
somewhat unique in that regard, and without further adieu, let me share.
D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™ is my methodology for managing change in organizations. There are many, many other
approaches, some of which I have used and was an expert in.
This is not about personal change, which is a totally different topic. Others have extensively written about
personal change, and it’s good to know that individuals can improve their self-awareness and their response
Why D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™? It’s the best approach I’ve seen. I started working on it 13 years ago, continued
to use other approaches, have in-the-field experience, and haven’t seen anything better.
Of course, you can get more detailed about what motivates people to change, resist, comply, etc. Again,
this is the topic of personal change, or what some call “transition.” There are two insurmountable problems
with getting more detailed, or as I like to say “going deeper.”
One, you are managing organizational change in concert with software, strategy or some other change –
together you are implementing and therefore you must keep pace. Going deeper doesn’t keep pace. Two,
has going deeper been tested in organizations? If not, then stay away from going deeper.
In sum, going deeper is not relevant to what you do, and even if it was, you don’t have time for it. But you
have time to be D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™. And you have the funds as well.
Think of all the “human resource development” conferences and meetings that you send people to each
year – the costs for airfare, travel, hotels, meals, parking, speaker fees, and non-productive time away from
work. The costs are huge, and the return is often short-term, high-priced entertainment, even boredom.
By comparison, D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™ is only a fraction of the investment. We’re almost ready to get started,
but first a few definitions that have stood the test of time:
- when expectations do not match what happens.
- open social systems that produce outputs and interact with their environment, (living-systems).
- maximized when people are aware, willing, and able.
- aligning expectations to organizational changes
Chapter 8 – Commitment
“At breakfast in a restaurant, a guy orders ham & eggs.
The chicken is involved. The pig is committed.”
Commitment is a fully informed “YES”, an attitude of “we are going to do this”. By a fully informed “YES”, I
mean people who are aware, willing, and able. Consequently, commitment comes later on holistically, not at
If anyone says they are committed up front, don’t believe them. They may hate the status quo, but that
doesn’t mean they are committed to your initiative. They might be committed to destruction, and any major
change will sound good to them as long as the status quo is eliminated. Be very careful of these people.
At best they are fickle motivators and can possibly serve a short-term and well-managed purpose – flag
wavers, advocates, et cetera. Long-term just watch them and see if they evolve or self-destruct or
contaminate or radicalize.
Who must be committed? Of course the details depend on your initiative, but in general it is the key
stakeholders. The timing of their involvement is critical. At first, a small group of people is committed –
those who launch the initiative – they say “yes” to it, “no” to others, provide funds and staff, and sign-off
on the business case and corporate impact.
If these wonderful people delegate and disappear (sometimes called “D&D management”), you’ve got a
problem. They launched it, right, and so must be concerned that the results look like what was expected.
They may well think:
“Of course, this initiative is critical. That’s why it was launched, budgets approved, et cetera, but now we have to look into other
My point here is delegation is acceptable and required. There are only 24 hours in a day. But disappearing
is not OK. Disappearing s-h-o-u-t-s that other priorities are more important. This project is less so.
Immediately, everyone’s commitment to this initiative starts to unravel, and people start to wonder what
the next new thing is. And maybe they can get involved in it.
Don’t let this happen. Those who launched the project must remain visible to all the stakeholders from start
to finish, because there is no other way to demonstrate commitment.
Demonstrating commitment requires physical presence – kicking off meetings, celebrating successes,
telephone calls, video presentations, ribbon cuttings, meet and greet sessions, coffee with the boss, and on
and on. Sometimes this behavior is referred to as “press the flesh.”
Leadership requires doing more of this at the beginning than at the end, which gradually lowers the time
demands on executives. However, demonstrating commitment cannot and must not stop until the project is
fully implemented, and the To-Be exists.
Do you really want the destination, or do you want to launch the initiative, then D&D? Success depends on
As you get closer to implementation, you need a lot more “committed” people to sustain the initiative –
“throw the switch of implementation” and keep it going.
If you’ve set the direction, provided resources, aligned the power structure, motivated people, advertised
the initiative, trained people, and integrated all these activities with the rest of what the organization is
doing, then you will get people committed to your initiative. Organizational change is not magic, it’s not
linear, it is holistic.
There is only one caveat. If the initiative is significantly opposed to your existing organization culture, then
roughly speaking 1/3 will stay and be committed, 1/3 will be confused and comply in some fashion, 1/3 will
leave for other opportunities. This will happen sooner or later in spite of having been D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™.
What am I saying? Simply, the mindsets of people can be so dominated by the organization’s culture that
they will unknowingly give faulty data that say things are D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™ when they are NOT.
This special case is analogous to an amputee who thinks his leg is itchy when there is no leg.
While organizational culture is complicated, the human mind is more so. In my experience, the mind is
conscious and unconscious across three levels – Hopes/Aspirations, Self-image, Behavior. So the
Conscious/unconscious across all three of the levels below
Hopes/Aspirations-Image (dreams, wanna-be) – “what I hope to be”
Self-Image “what I think I am”
Behavior “what I am”
Organizational culture enters into what you hope to be, think you are, and what you are in conscious and
unconscious ways. If your corporate culture is strong and has a long history, then survey responses may
not be true and may not refer to actual behavior.
You do not survey people in this situation. If you do, the result is faulty data.
So, using D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™ means working with your consultant at first, someone with an objective
perspective on your organization, to confirm your overall plan or at a minimum suggest modifications before
There is no other way to know this stuff. If you are not objective up front, it doesn’t come later. So do this,
and good luck.
But before you do anything, please read the remainder of this book.
D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™ Review Checklist
o As-Is Organization Conceptual Model
o Organization Change Foundation Statements
o Organization Transition Conceptual Model
o Within the Change Management Team
o Fit of the CM Team to the overall Project
Surveys & Data Analysis
o General Guidelines
o Four Specific Surveys Discussed
o Culture Conceptual Model
Generic Project Deliverables
1. Communications Plan
2. Leadership Skills Model
3. Stakeholder Management
o Enterprise-wide Role Expectations
o Departmental Influence Paths
4. Training Plan
5. Culture Conceptual Model
o Burke-Litwin Conceptual Model
6. Change to Project Control Form
7. Executive Team Description and Skills
The first item here is certainly the most important. The 8 items of D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™ are briefly described and
related to the 3 change variables that ALL methodologies MUST impact to be credible and successful –
Awareness, Willingness, Ability.
Consider the Review Checklist, which is next, my list of lessons learned. Mapping methodology components
back to these change variables is the only way you will know that the change approach makes sense. This is
how you “slice and dice” and make sure you are using a valid approach. You can use any methodology or
change approach you want to, but it is NOT grounded unless it can be mapped back to these change variables.
Also in this section, the Appendix, are typical planning considerations and work structure, list of survey
instruments, the importance of data analysis, and generic project deliverables.
D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™ is my methodology for managing change in organizations. You don’t have time for
everything, but you can be D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™.
I will end with my favorite quote:
“strength and honor.”
This is from the ancient Romans.
Intended Audiences and Key Features:
This book will be useful to executives who already have a business strategy and want it implemented
It will also be useful to organizational change/development experts who want to increase their value to
their organization and possibly play a more strategic role.
Theoreticians and academics will likely be interested in the difference between theory and practice.
Also, consultants who are struggling with and possibly unclear about methodologies for change will find
this book logically clear and tight and immediately useful.
Finally, this book will broadly interest anyone who has been on a high-performance team, had success,
and wants to do it again – especially on a higher enterprise-wide level.
Action oriented, not lost in theory, discussions, interviews, research, or individual journeys of transition
Proprietary methodology for managing change - D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C.™ presented and discussed.
Rigorously maintains a consistent point-of-view: managing change in organizations
Differentiates motivation from commitment - both needed for successful change.
Describes organizations as open-social systems and presents managing change within these systems as