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My 7 underlying principles of Adaptive Change

A few months ago I wrote a post about the differences between Lean Change and traditional change management methods like PROSCI's ADKAR or Kotter's 8-step model.


In that post I wrote that, in 2014, I discovered Jason Little's Lean Change Management. I attended a Lean Change workshop in Amsterdam, facilitated by Jason himself: it opened a brand new perspective on change for me.


Lately I've been asking myself what my key principles are to stick with Lean Change as a basis for my courses and services. Why does Lean Change resonate so well with me?


Giving this some thought, it appeared to me that the concepts Jason keeps repeating reflect experiences I've lived through in the course of my professional (and personal) life.


When I tried to capture these experiences in words I came to a short list of 7 principles that underly the work that I do. After more than 20 years I can finally formulate what has seemed common sense to me all that time. Thanks to Lean Change.

Here are those 7 principles:

  1. You can’t design a change for people, only with them.

  2. Being able to explain why a change is needed (not wanted) is more valuable than trying to define 20 different What’s In It For Me statements.

  3. You can’t plan all the details of a change program at the start because you don’t know yet how the people (the organization) respond to the first activities.

  4. People don’t naturally resist change; they rather have other priorities to work on more urgently.

  5. Removing obstacles for people to work on and applying a change (facilitating change) is more important than leading or managing the change (which you can’t).

  6. Change is fluid, when you finish your first activities the status quo you started from has changed.

  7. Measuring the progress (with leading indicators) enables you to learn your way through the change and course correct when needed.




If you're looking for a change manager and these principles (or belief) align with how you think change should be: get in touch!


If these principles got you thinking about change and to go about it, but you want to understand a bit better what these practically mean for your organization: get in touch!


If you think these principles will never work in your organization, or you simply don't believe in them... Well, get in touch, I'm always open to learn about what else can work!






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