In this webinar, Alice L. Ferris, MBA, CFRE, ACFRE and James Anderson, CFRE will discuss the stages of organizational growth, personality archetypes you may encounter, and strategies to build momentum toward change.

Full Transcript:

Steven: All right, Alice and Jim, my watch just struck 2:00 here on the East Coast. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started?

Alice: Yep.

Steven: All right. Awesome. Well, good afternoon if you’re on the East Coast and good morning, barely I should say if you’re out on the West Coast. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “Organizational Evolution: Managing Change When There Are Humans Involved.” And my name is Steven Shattuck, and I am the Chief Engagement Officer over here at Bloomerang. And I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always.

And just a couple of housekeeping items before we get going here, just want to let you all know that we are recording this session. And I’ll be sending out the recording later on today, as well as the slides. So if you have to leave early, or maybe you get interrupted today, have no fear. I’ll get that stuff in your hands later on this afternoon, I promise. And if you’re listening today, please feel free to use that chat box right there on your webinar screen.

We’re going to try and save some time at the end for Q&A. We may also answer questions along the way. So don’t be shy over the next hour or so. Send in those questions right there on your chat box and we’ll try to get to them. You can also do that on Twitter. I’ll keep an eye on the Twitter feed for questions and comments as well.

And if you have any trouble listening to the audio through your computers, we find that the audio by phone is usually a little bit better than the computer audio. So if you have any trouble, don’t totally give up on us, especially if you can dial in by phone if that’ll be comfortable for you, if you don’t mind doing it. Just check your email for the confirmation emails from ReadyTalk. There should be a phone numbers that email just for you to dial into. So try that before you totally toss your computer out the window.

And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I just want to say an extra special welcome to all of you folks. We do these webinars just about every single week throughout the year. We only miss a couple of those day, so major holidays and things like that. One of our favorite things to at Bloomerang.

But if you’ve never heard of Bloomerang, our core service offering is donor management software. So if you are in the market for that, or maybe just kind of interested in our offering, come to our website. There’s a quick video demo that you can download on our website. Get a look at the software. You don’t even have to talk to a salesperson if you don’t want to. So check that out.

But don’t do that right now because you are in for a real treat. We have two of my favorites joining us today. We’ve got Alice Ferris and Jim Anderson from GoalBusters. How’s it going, friends? Thanks for being here. You guys doing okay?

Alice: We’re doing awesome.

Jim: This is a lot of fun.

Steven: Well, I feel really honored because you two are always very busy. You’re traveling right now. You’re not even at the home office. You’re out there doing work for your clients. You squeezed this one in. I’m so, so grateful. It seems like you’re always doing really nice things for me and Bloomerang over here. So for all of you listening, this is a real treat to get the two on the phone for even just an hour. And if you don’t know them, they are partners over at GoalBusters. One of my favorite agencies. They do really awesome work.

I can vouch for personally, and especially if you are in public broadcasting, you definitely want to check these guys out. They do a lot. They do development, campaign assessment, strategic planning, help out with boards, grant writing. And if you go to a conference, especially if you go to an AFP conference or AFP chapter meeting, I think you’ll see their name on the roster eventually. If you go to enough events, they do a lot of speaking while  traveling. So really is a treat to have these two here. So I don’t want to take up any more your time. Alice, Jim, take it away, my friends. Tell us all about that organizational change.

Alice: Great. Thanks, Steven. So one of the things that we get to do as nonprofit consultants is that we get to work a lot with organizations that want to change stuff. In fact, usually the first question we ask people when we go in to talk to an organization, even if it’s just a free consultation or an actual engagement is, “What do you want to tell people in your organization that you’ve that you’ve been saying all along, that they won’t listen to but if somebody else comes in and says the same thing, that they’ll listen to it?”

Jim: It’s often we have been told before that that’s part of the reason that you’ll bring a consultant and either you aren’t being heard or they recognize that outside opinion may be something that will be, I guess, valued a little more, because when you’re so close to somebody, it becomes a little too comfortable.

Alice: So what we’re going to talk about is that whole human factor . . .

Jim: That’s it. That’s the point.

Alice:   . . . of how do you organize, how do you change your organization, when you know, you have to deal with people? Because some of the people that you might have to deal with are like Samuelsson, who’s been with the company since day one. This is one of my favorite change management cartoons because you can often feel when you’re trying to push change through an organization that you are fighting against the people who will always say, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” And that is one of the biggest challenges about making change happen is that anytime you encourage change whether people support it or not, you know, people can be really excited about a change, but it is still something that is different from what they’re used to.

And anytime you do that, it can sometimes be uncomfortable because you don’t know if you have the right expertise, you don’t know if you have the right skills, you don’t know if it’s going to be a good thing in the end. So you may often feel like you are facing this. You are going down the road and all you can see are a bunch of obstacles. So what we hope to do in this brief webinar today is give you some tools to be able to assess the situation that you’re going into that you want to be able to activate change in and how do you make that change attractive to the people around you. And in between these two bullet points, which makes this theme like this is a very simple process, right?

Jim: Oh, yeah. We’re almost done.

Alice: Easy-peasy. But we’re going to talk and give you a lot of real life experiences. And we are going to, for the most part, not mention names to protect the both innocent and guilty.

Jim: Sure.

Alice: So let’s talk a little bit about assessing your situation.

Jim: Yeah, absolutely. If you want to go somewhere, it’s going to be really important to know where you’re at right now. So what are some of the steps that you should go through to understand clearly what it is that you’re dealing with? And a good point to think about is that when you are dealing with objections, and most of the time, if you’re trying to implement change, you’ll have those folks that are ready to work with you. But you will deal with objections, both from people who are on your side who wants to change, but they might not agree with everything. And for those who might want to retain the position or the status quo.

And something to think about here are these two points. Are you dealing with a problem or are you dealing with a condition? And it’s key to recognize that a problem is something that you can solve, you can resolve it, you can fix it, you can do something about this. It’s something that you have some degree of potential control over.

However, if you’re dealing with conditions, that’s not the case. In fact, if you’re dealing with a condition, you have to manage that condition or you have to accept that condition or have to decide whether this is a condition that you’re going have to remove in some way because it’s not something that you have complete control over. And part of the reason that this is, is that another way that you can categorize objections is are these intellectual objections that you’re getting or are they emotional objections? So ask yourself about that. What are the easier objections to deal with? Is it easier to deal with an intellectual objection or an emotional objection?

That’s a real question if you’re want to make a comment online. But what do you think is? Is it easier to deal with intellectual or emotional? So those of you who type as slow as me, you’re going to get the answer right away. Because what we found when we do these sessions live, is that it’s much easier to deal with an intellectual objection. And the reason is an intellectual objection is someone who will accept new information, somebody who will . . . or the objection can be handled by providing new facts or doing additional research or something can help you solve that problem.

And generally, intellectual objections are problems. Whereas if you’re dealing with an emotional objection, this may be something that is a condition now because there may be emotional objections that you can solve or resolve or fix. But that’s a relationship issue typically and that’ll take some time for you to gain trust and if that is that type of objection. But a lot of times emotional objections you can do nothing about because these are conditions. Nothing is going to change this situation or this objection. And that’s when you get back into, “How do I manage this? How to accept it? Or how do I adapt to dealing with this emotional objection and condition?” So don’t waste a lot of time if you have identified that this is something that you can’t solve or resolve or fix. But spend more time on working on problems when you do encounter them.

Alice: So case in point, when we’re working with an organization, inevitably, especially anytime you have a larger group that you’re dealing with, think about volunteers involved in organizations. And volunteers are those types of people who, you know, you feel like you can’t fire volunteers, you can’t do certain things with volunteers because they’re just donating their time, right?

Has anybody on the webinar ever had to fire a volunteer? Probably, I would guess that there’s a good likelihood that there’s a good sum of the people who’ve had to fire a volunteer before. And often that can be because they have a set idea of what your organization is. So when they’ve determined that this is the way this should be, you can often not change their perspective. And they think because they’re a volunteer, that they have some type of ownership or right to say that this can’t change. That very often as a condition. You can give them all sorts of reasons why this needs to change, but you can’t necessarily convince them.

Jim: That’s true.

Alice: So the other thing that you need to do is understand where the issue is on the organizational growth curve.

Jim: Some of you may have seen something like this before. It is a business model. And if you look at resources or things that Alice and I frequently recommend, you’ll notice that a lot of the stuff that we recommend in ways of tools and resources and reading that can support your work in the world of nonprofits or non-governmental organizations, they’re not all fundraising-based because a lot of this stuff is about relationships. And that means you need to understand communication and you need to understand psychology and motivation and things like that. So you’ll find a lot of tools. And this is a tool that basically identifies that when an organization exists, it exists somewhere within these three phases somewhere along this organizational growth curve.

And just for a quick explanation as to what you’re looking at, well, before I get to the explanation, I’d ask you just go ahead and take out a permanent marker and just make a big X on your screen where you think . . . wait, maybe not a permanent. No, just think about it. Where you think your organization is, okay? And before I even explain it, where do you think it is? Or additionally, you could ask yourself, “Where does my team fit on this curve? Where does my program fit on this curve?” Because every team, every organization, every program, every product, exists on this curve in one of these three phases.

So your first phase is the forming phase. And the key things to think about in the forming phase is that you start out from this specific point and you have a leader, often a strong and charismatic leader who people are willing to take chances with. Phase one is highly risk tolerant. You’re willing to take chances. You’re willing to try new things.

And if you do try new things, invariably, some will fail. And so you’ll move down and it’ll appear as though things aren’t working. It’ll appear as though you’re facing challenges. Leadership driven is a key of this element. And also, when you’re in this element, though, because it’s a highly risk tolerant, you’ll have people who love new challenges. You’ll have people who who’d love change, who’d love unpredictability are a part of this.

But eventually, as you try new things, you know what? Some of its going to work. And as things start working, you then want to repeat what you’ve done in the past, repeat the things that are working, and you’ll move into phase two. So if phase one is leadership driven, phase two is management driven. And in this management driven phase, you repeat things that work.

And as you continue to repeat things that work, it’ll just keep getting better and better and better. Because, you know, you’ve heard the saying, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got,” right? Well, that’s a lie because things change. If you keep doing the same thing and you don’t respond to your community, if you don’t respond economic conditions, if you don’t respond to global or legal issues or all these different conditions that can affect how well your nonprofit operates or your team or your programs, if you don’t respond and you keep doing the same thing, keep expecting that things are going to get better, eventually you are going to plateau, and unfortunately, in some cases, if you’re not aware, and not responsive to the fact that your results are diminishing, you will start to atrophy. And in the case of some organizations, die.

I mean, ask yourself about some of the major corporations that were big, were huge in years gone by. Ask yourself about retailers who used to be huge who are non-existent now. There’s many examples of these things. But who are those organizations that innovate? Those organizations that innovate can continue to thrive. Those businesses and those teams.

So what happens is once you reach that phase three, so the phase one I mentioned was forming. Phase two is norming. So leadership driven in phase one, management driven in phase two. And then phase two, once you reach that point, I’m going to step back a second, once you reach that point of phase two, that, you know, you’re just repeating things, you’re management-driven, you’re doing checklists and things like that, you’re going to lose a lot of the people who like the risk and like the change and like the constant thrill, and you’re going to gain people who really like routine. They like checklists and they don’t mind doing the same thing this year they did last year.

Ask yourself this question, “Why is it that in the fundraising world, the average lifespan of a career at a given position or a job, at a given position is about 18 months to 2 years?” And I would argue it’s because of this, because a lot of fundraisers love the challenges that they experience in phase one is they become a part of a new team. But when they hit phase two and they’re asked to just repeat what you’ve done, a lot of fundraisers are like, “No, this is boring. I want to go do something new, something different.” So when you do reach that phase three, if you don’t make change, if you don’t start to take risks again, you’ll have that issue that that I mentioned, the plateau and the atrophy.

But if you take what has been working, continue to do those things do so resonate, that are still generating results, and then take some risks to try new things because there are new conditions, then what you can do is you can enter that or you can move from that phase three. You notice that the curve looks kind of similar, that red curve in phase three looks kind of similar to the blue curve entering between phase one and phase two. Yeah, that’s because what you’re doing is you’re storming in this phase, you’re trying new things. And what you do is you have an integrative management style. The success happens here where you have a manager, leader, somebody who will take chances but also knows how to run an effective team.

And it’s important, if you want to understand where your team is, you might want to do this exercise with it. Go ahead and identify this graph. Ask people to put themselves on it. Describe what it is. And you may know that leaders of your organization, you have to be the last person to put your mark on the chart because otherwise there will be people who will simply follow your lead. Because if you think it’s right, they must think it’s right too. So the managers and the leader should always go last in this exercise.

But we’ve had an example where we worked with an organization and the staff at the organization, all thinks they’re in phase three. But the board and the organization, all thinks they’re in phase two and everything is just fine. But the staff knows where they came from. The staff knows where what has been going on. And they know that there is potential there. So it’s good to identify if there are differences and perceptions within your organization or team.

Alice: So that’s the exercise that we did with this organization is that we put up this curve. We asked them to put dots in the curve. And what you see on the screen right now is what they did. And when we asked them to process this, they identified what Jim said, was that, “Oh, that’s why we’re having conflicts right now is because we’re not coming from the same place.” So being able to identify the fact in a somewhat non-confrontational way to be able to say, “Okay, just let us know where do you think you are.”

Jim: It’s an objective exercise.

Alice: Absolutely. It became a good way to have that conversation. So once you’ve identified where you are or where your team is or where you have difference in perception as to where you are on the organizational growth curve that can at least give you some perspective as to where people are moving forward. Because the other issue that you might have is that people don’t necessarily know where they are in this change process based on this grid. So we have people who are either incompetent or competent. And, you know, someday I’m actually going to rewrite the words on this. So they’re not quite as judgmental.

But generally, people who are incompetent and competent, we don’t mean this is a value judgment, either know that they’re incompetent or competent or don’t know. So looking at this grid for the incompetent, unconscious person. They don’t know that they lack a skill. So you may be introducing a change and they don’t know that this change is even possible. Then they might move into a category of, “Oh, [there’s a 00:20:19] change.” And, “Wait a minute, I realized that I don’t know how to do this.” And so then they move into the conscious and competence grid. But then they start working on it, hopefully. Most people will. They move into this idea that, you know, “I know that I know this skill, or at least I know that I’m trying to know this skill.”

Jim: “Yeah, I’m getting this. I’m getting better. I’m improving.”

Alice: So they need to move into this category of conscious competence, where they’re actively working on this skill. But when they become an unconscious competent is when it’s second nature, it’s when it becomes something so easy, they don’t even have to think about.

Jim: It’s reflexive.

Alice: So as you go through change management, you also you need to understand where people are on this path of the, “Do they even know that they lack this skill?” Because we have gone into many organizations where, for instance, thinking of Bloomerang, our host, I am just . . . just this is a shameless plug, I actually am an active Bloomerang user for a couple of our clients right now. And when we had to convert over from the different database product to Bloomerang for our CRM, you know, you go into this and the person who was primarily responsible for entering stuff into the system didn’t know what skill she didn’t know.

But as we started to ramp up on Bloomerang and she became conscious of the things that she didn’t know how to do and so then she would work on them. And now she’s to the point where she knows the system pretty well. So I would say that she’s in that category of conscious competence right now. And I’m hopeful that she in the near future will move into that conscious, unconscious competence in knowing how to operate the system.

Jim: Well, and we’ve had situations as well where we have a new person who’s joining the team and we understand that there are skills they don’t know they need. So they are that unconscious, incompetent. And we identify the skills that they need to learn. They are aware that they need to learn these skills, and they don’t invest in it. They hit that conscious and competence. “Yeah, I know we don’t get this, but I can’t do it,” or, “I won’t do it,” or, “I won’t invest in it.” And that’s problematic because if they know what’s necessary and you’re giving them the tools and the opportunities to learn this and they are unwilling or unable to attain those skills or participate in that growth, they’re going to get stuck in the conscious, incompetent area.

And so thinking about this, as you look at these four quadrants, ask yourself, “Which of them might be problems?” When you have somebody that’s in that position or in that quadrant, where are your problems and where are your conditions? Okay? Where are you going to find the most challenging people and what’s the most dangerous to your organization or your team? Because I would argue that in that first quadrant, a unconscious incompetent, well, that’s a problem. You can solve that, you can resolve it, you can fix it. Because when you move to the second quadrant, conscious incompetent, that’s the point that once they are aware of it and they know what the tools are, it’s still a problem unless they refuse to move on.

And if they refuse to move forward, and if they refuse to progress and invest, then they have become a condition that will be one of the most challenging things that you will deal with. And they are the most dangerous to the team because if they have, you know, a toxic personality or something like that, they may drag other people down or lead them to believe that what trying to be done here is not important or unnecessary or counter to what is best for the organization. But then you move in. And once you get into the conscious competence and the unconscious incompetence, these are people that are on the team. They’re moving forward. And they’re working well. But be wary of that conscious and competence.

Alice: I would also argue that the unconscious competence can be problematic . . .

Jim: That’s true.

Alice:   . . . if that person is having to change their skill set on what they already know very well. So if you’re taking away something from someone who is an unconscious competent on something, like for instance, previously was one of the organizations we worked with, we had an office manager who was really good at doing things on paper and pencil. And the second we forced her to move into an environment where she had to use the computer to track this stuff, she was an unconscious competent who was being challenged. And so she became a difficult person and ended up ultimately being a condition that we had to manage.

So while, for the most part, the unconscious competent is going to be someone you can rely on, be wary of those situations where you’re taking away a responsibility from someone who’s really good at it. So ultimately, when we’re looking at organizational change, we really need to assess is this an environment where people take risk?

Jim: Yeah. And the key point here is if they are unwilling to take risks, unwilling to try new things, you run the risk of a stagnation. You run the risk of that atrophy. You know, you run the risk of not achieving what you could. You will never reach maximum potential if you take no risk. But if you’re an organization that is totally taking risks all the time, you can also be equally unproductive because you’re not focusing on the stuff that really does work. And you’re chasing shiny objects too much. And it’ll lead to a lot of stress for everyone. Some people have higher stress tolerance or stress level than others. So you’re looking for balance. Be willing to take some risks, but be careful of no risk.

Alice: So when we’re going into this organization and trying to make some changes, the next thing you need to be aware of are who are the players that you have to deal with? And who are the people who might either get in the way of change or support change? So we’re going to go through some of our iconic, I guess, typologies, and again, names will be removed to protect the guilty. But these are some of the types of characters that we’ve dealt with. And they’ll be plenty more I’m sure that you can think of.

Jim: This presentation grew out of long hours in a car. Most of our presentations are like that. We’re driving somewhere and to some event or organization or something, and we start talking about the work that we’ve just done or the work that we’re about to do. And we start analyzing it. And we have our own little strategic analysis as we’re doing these things. And we started coming up with, “It’s not the person, it’s the behavior. It’s not the person, it some this specific experience.” And that’s why we came up with a few of these examples.

Alice: So our first person that we’re dealing with, the legacy staffer, this is the person that like Samuelson, this person’s been there forever. And this is also the person who generally wants to protect their turf. So they’re someone who has been very good at doing what they did and yet you’re asking them to do something different. This can be a person who can be an ally if you turn them the right way. So for example, the legacy staffer that I had to deal with was at my first job as a Director of Development at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. And I walked into the office on my first day on the job and I inherited an assistant who had been working at Lowell Observatory longer than I had been alive.

And to say that she intimidated me would be a gross understatement. And everything that I did or suggested was challenged by Helen because . . . and actually that is her real name . . . was challenged by Helen because she didn’t want some young whippersnapper coming in and making all these changes. So one of the things that I found was that if I could sell it to Helen, if I could sell it to this legacy staffer, I could sell the change to anyone. And so as long as I could come up and answer her questions reasonably, that wasn’t going to be an issue.

In contrast, we have dealt with someone at another organization who I won’t say his name but he has very clear ideas on ways that things should be done and ways that things have worked. And if you try to explain to him that, “No, this is the way it’s going to work,” he will push back on every single thing because that’s not the way we used to do it. So you’re going to have both of those sides on this.

The next type of person we have is the scaredy cat. So the scaredy cat is someone who’s just afraid of everything. It doesn’t matter if the change is good or bad, it’s just somebody who doesn’t . . . well, goes through life with a lot of fear.

Jim: Well, and part of it is . . . and this isn’t to say that that’s just an inherent personality trait that they’ve always had. It can be somebody that is an organization that is not risk tolerance, that may have tried to convince people to try new things, and it didn’t work out and they got whacked for it. So those organizations that say, “Yeah, let’s take risk, let’s take risks.” But when you do, if something doesn’t work out, and you punish the person who wanted to do it? Guess what? You’re lying. You’re not risk tolerant because you didn’t really give them a chance.

And so you’ll have some people that are in organizations, and it’s like, “Oh, my God, the last time I tried to do something different, I thought I was going to get fired. All I need to do is keep my head down, and I can ride this thing out till retirement.”

Alice: So when we’re dealing with scaredy cats, essentially, you have to give them some kind of environment where they feel like change is not necessarily going to be something that they’ll be punished by.

Jim: There was a question that was asked online by Rebecca. “Do these types include board members too?” Yes, they do. These are the . . . keep in mind that while we’re talking specifically about nonprofits and non-governmental organizations at this time. This is really applicable throughout life in any type of group, but specifically in boards as they are part of the overall organization, but also within given teams that you may be trying to implement change.

Alice: And since we’re addressing questions in the Q&A. Since we know Amanda. Amanda, you’re not Samuelson just saying.

So the next slide is favorite tests. So these are the people who have been the golden child at your organization. So they have been pretty much untouchable. And now you’re creating a new environment where they may actually question whether they’re the good one or not. And we walked into a situation at an organization, actually, an organization where Jim and I started working together, where there were certain people who were treated as pretty much untouchable. These are the people who were perfect.

And then we would come in, and we’re starting to set up a new fundraising program. And all the sudden, that person who could always hit her financial numbers every month was being challenged on how are you hitting those financial numbers every month? And oh, by the way, if you can hit these numbers every month, maybe you should be stretching a little bit. Because frankly, the person that I was talking to said to me very openly one day, “Well, you know, I pretty much hit my number in first three days of the business of the month, and then I just kind of stay at home and stay in my pajamas for the rest of the month.” To which I paused to say,  “You do remember that on your boss, right?”

Jim: Another quick example. I was working with one person who was explaining what their job was. And they said, “You know, really, all you got to do is check into the office at 9:00 a.m., check back in at 4:00 p.m., be out of the office between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. And as long as that’s going on, and you’re hitting your number, nobody cares what you do. Sometimes I go bowling, I might go see a movie, do my laundry, whatever.

Alice: So these are ones that these favorite pets can be dangerous, because they’re the ones who essentially are getting away with something. Or frankly, they could be someone who is just very good at their job and they could be an ally if you can reassure them that they will continue to look good.

Jim: Absolutely. And that’s one of the keys here. Every one of these examples that we’re giving you could be a problem or condition. It is going to depend upon the person that you’re dealing with. So that favorite pet could certainly move into an area where they can continue to be the best in your organization at doing the thing they’re supposed to do. And they might come along with you, but you need to decide whether they’re willing or not.

Alice: The next character in our rogues’ gallery is the go with the flow person. So this is the person that says, “Yeah, sure. I’ll support that that idea. I can go that direction.” And that can be a good thing. And that person initially would be an ally for you. But the problem with the go with the flow person is that they can also go the other direction. So they don’t necessarily have a whole lot of conviction. And so when the rubber hits the road, they may not be a person who will support the change, because they will just go in the direction of the majority.

For the sake of time, I’m not going to give an example on that one, because the next one is also similar to the go with the flow person, which is the thumbs up person. This is the . . . everything is just great. Everything that you suggest is fantastic. That is a wonderful idea. Just don’t make me do anything.

Back to the question that Rebecca posed about board members. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of board members fall when it comes to implementing change, to speak. For those that really see their role as a governance role. So it’s not supposed to do anything, they will say, “Go ahead and make that change. I’m not going to do anything about it.”

So when you think about managing that change process, you may have a couple of people, board related or maybe you’re serving on a board and you’re trying to get other board members engaged. You may see people who are just stepping back and being supportive only in name. And that can be a challenge. That can be a problem or a condition.

The other person that might not be an obvious obstacle for you is the change leader. So you think, “Great, I need to get this person on board to help me manage change, help me implement change.”

However, what if that person doesn’t agree with you? And if that person is an influencer for the organization, and can be that person that everyone looks to to see, “Is this change okay?” That’s great. If they say, “Yes. I bless this change. This is a great idea.” But if they don’t, then you have a problem. And so how do you get that person to be on your side?

Ultimately, what we’re looking for is how do we create our team? And who are the people that we’re going to see as our supporters in managing this change. So looking at this, they can be divided up into a few different categories.

Jim: So this one is something that I . . . it’s one of the first exercises that I’ll do when we enter an organization because as you think about your own team, or as you think about the last time you became the new member of a team, did you have a real feeling in your gut as to who were your allies? Who were your adversaries? And who you weren’t sure about? I’ll bet you did, because most of the time, when you meet people, you can tell, you can tell by their language, you can tell by their body language, you can tell by their eye contact. So much nonverbal communication. You can tell by how much or do they show up on time or not? Do they respect your space or not? You know, you can . . . there’s a lot of things that you can look at to determine whether somebody is an ally, an adversary for and ambivalent.

And you’ll notice that while we have three words in the title, we have four sections, because in addition to that ambivalent, we have the ambiguous. The ambivalent don’t really care one way or another. The ambiguous you don’t know about.

So take a second as we’re talking now, and write down a nickname, preferably, not one that’s identifiable if you work at a cubicle at a conference table. But write down a nickname. Who would be a persona for an ally for your organization, or your team? Who would be an adversary? Who would be an ambivalent? Who is ambiguous? So think about that. And as you’re thinking about it, we’ll move on and we’ll give you some suggestions as to how you handle each of these types. Because if you’re thinking about these four types, there’s specific ways that you should deal with each of them if you want to have the most productive, effective, and functioning team.

Alice: And so part of this is now an overlay of the organizational growth curve as well as this idea of who are the players? And what categories do they fall in? So first of all, looking at the people, if you’re managing change, who are the allies? Who are the people that you know will support your change? And who are the change leaders in your organization who will support your change? Those are the people that you want to reinforce.

And very often, what I’ve discovered is that the people who are your allies are the ones who think that who are in the same place that you are on the organizational curve. So perhaps, you all are in phase three, and you are all identifying that this is the problem that needs to be changed.

The adversaries are the people who think things are just fine. So what you want to do with your adversaries is that very often they can be a condition, they can be something that you can’t change. This can be something where they’re like “Nuh-uh. I don’t think this needs to be changed. I don’t think it’s a problem. I think you’re the problem.” And so those are the people that you have to manage.

And frankly, the adversaries often are people that you just have to tell them if you have the authority that this is the way it’s going to be and hope that they respect your authority. The ones where you can actually make some change, and probably the vast majority of the change management piece is the ambiguous and the ambivalent. And that if you remember from the previous slide is a good chunk. So the blue is the ambivalent, and the four is the ambiguous. So we generally assess that about 40% of your population is going to be in the ambivalent category. These are the people you can sway.

Jim: And as part of this is the people that are in the ambivalent may be those individuals who, “This is just a job. It’s job. I just need to do what I need to do to get my work done. Or get my work done and get my paycheck.” And there’s nothing wrong with that. But they’re not as deeply invested in what your goals might be. What’s your mission and vision might be. Generally, you’ll find that these are going to be one of the most important groups to you because there are a lot of them and you really want them helping you row your boat.

Alice: So what you want to do with the ambiguous and the ambivalent is that ambiguous, you just need to assess. And sometimes the ambiguous ends up being adversaries, sometimes, they’re quiet allies. And it’ll be up to you to kind of get a sense on that. Sometimes you just can’t tell. They will always be a percentage you just can’t tell. Then the ambivalent. They’re the ones that are, “You know, I could change. I could not change. I could do either thing.” They may be that go with the flow person. They may just be quiet. And what you want to do is they’re the ones that potentially provide arguments [for 00:40:51].

Jim: Yeah. And you’ll also find in that ambivalent category the folks that are basically, “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”

Alice: So when you’re thinking about all of these different audiences now, we have to have some strategies for how we communicate with them. So when you think about your strategies for change, we’re going to identify a few categories of strategies that can help you along with managing those people in the process.

Jim: Before we move into it, think about this. If you realize that you’re dealing with a condition, ask yourself, “Is this a deal breaker? Is this person who is a condition at this point a deal breaker? How important is the change to you when facing this condition? Can you go around the condition? Can you get rid of the condition? Or can you get out of the condition that you’re facing? So keep that in mind because when you hit that point, you’ve got to make a decision.

Alice: Yeah, that’s a good point because at some point, you have to decide, “Am I managing for the exceptions?”

Jim: Exactly. That so frequently what occurs because you may be in an organization, you may be trying to make a change. You might believe that this is really the way that this should go, and you will appeal to the vast number of people. But remember, those who have the strongest feelings about this will object the loudest. It’s something that we need to think about every day. Just because somebody is smaller doesn’t mean that’s the majority of the people would feel this way. So ask yourself how representative is the person who has the objection, how representative are they of the overall group that you’re trying to work with? And so that element is crucial. You know, just because you don’t want to annoy somebody, or experienced their wrath, it doesn’t mean they’re right.

Alice: And Steven, I’ve had a network reset. So if you could advance to the next slide, please. And hopefully, I’ll get it reestablished. So we want to talk a little bit about that the strategies for change. And one of the things is when you’re thinking about those people who are getting in the way of change, the first thing you need to do is identify the fact that they might be afraid of something. And, well, they are afraid of something.

Jim: Yeah. There’s [something 00:43:18].

Alice: And so what you want to do is recognize the fact that they’re afraid of something, but you probably don’t want to tell them that. You want to just in your own way, internal to yourself, identify the fact that they fear something. And so this helps you think about them in a more human factor, a human way. So some of these fears might be a lack of knowledge. You know, I don’t want to be seen as someone who doesn’t know something, because I’m always the smart one. It might be a fear of failure. It might be embarrassment. It might be personal exposure, where it’s identified as, “Oh, my gosh, you know, gee, I didn’t think that person was that way.” Very often, the people who are the “smartest people in the room” can be the ones who get in the way of change because they don’t want to look stupid.

Jim: There’s a couple of things to think about. When people will make decisions based on what provides them the greatest degree of personal satisfaction. So when they’re making decisions, when you’re asking yourself, “Why does this person act this way?” Think about the fact that because it provides them the greatest degree of personal satisfaction. And Tony Robbins, motivational speaker, says that people are much more likely to take an action that will help them avoid pain, more so than to helped them gain pleasure. So a lot of times it is this element right here that Alice is talking about. They are acting the way they are because they are afraid of the pain or they recognize that that will not give them satisfaction.

Alice: So the next thing you do once you acknowledge the fact that they’re probably afraid of something is to understand what drives them. You know, what motivates this person to show up for work every day? And so is it, “Gee, I kind of like doing the same thing every single day. It’s all good.” Maybe they have a high level of skill in their area and they want to be able to show off that they have a high level of skill. Maybe they just have a bunch of friends at work and they just really like hanging out with their friends.

The other reasons that they might think that they want to not do the change that you want to do is that while most people say, “Oh, they don’t want to make that change because I’ll have more work to do.” Sometimes, people don’t want to make the change because they’ll have less work to do. And they’re afraid of, “Well, gee, if I demonstrate that I can be replaced by some in . . . ” especially, technology change. “If I can be replaced by technology change, then why should they keep me around?”

So that can be something that can be challenging to think about. Case in point, we have some people that we’ve been working with where we’re doing what seems like a simple change. And Heather, this kind of addresses your question a little bit where we are not moving people to a new location, but we’re moving people into a new office. And we’re consolidating two people who’ve had two offices that, frankly, we need the space and we’re consolidating them into one office, because our staff has more than tripled in the last year. And needless to say, they’re not happy about it. And part of it is demonstration of physical importance in the organization is that idea of they, “Well, you know, so and so has his own office, but how come I don’t get my own office?”

So there’s this idea of being demoted almost in the structure of the organization. But I also think part of it is the environment of the, “You mean, I’m going to have to respect someone else’s space and have to change my behavior to give that person an environment they can work in?” And so some of it is just that type of fear, that type of pushback and understanding what drives them on that. And we’ll come back to your question, again, Heather, in a little bit towards the end. But the other thing about that person is that they, as Jim mentioned earlier, may see themselves as the protector. They may see themselves as the guardian of the legacy.

Jim: And I’ll admit, I tend to be a very vocal person. And sometimes I recognize that what I am expressing, I am so passionate about that that is problematic for some people in organizations that I’ve been a part of, associations that I’ve been a part of. But at times, I have also had people say to me that they understand my passion and recognize that I am loud because I care so much. And I think that is something that has, you know, that somebody else identified in me that I have been started to see in others when I see them as somebody who could be an adversary, as somebody who could be a condition, I started to ask myself, “Honestly, is this a person who views themselves as a protector of something that is sacred or something that is vital and to this organization?” It helps me be a little more objective about who it is that I’m dealing with and what their motivations are.

Alice: And so this is actually one of my favorite quotes about this from an article that was in “Strategy+Business.” And it was, “Guardians see what needs to be protected . . . Who will ask the hard questions? Guardians keep us honest in the face of self-delusion or blind spots.” So every now and then that person is getting in your way is actually trying to protect the overall organization. So just keep that in mind.

The third strategy we have for you is provide a solution that makes them look competent and successful. So this is one of those things where it can be  what’s in it for them. How can you make this seem like a good thing for them? And one of the things that is part of this process is understanding the habit loop.

So this is from Charles Duhigg, “The Power of Habit,” which is a great book for personal development as well as organizational development. And in it, he talks about this habit loop where you have a cue which triggers a routine, which triggers a reward. So for instance, the example that he gives is that maybe you usually have a candy bar in the afternoon. So you have a cue of its 2:00 in the afternoon. So my routine is to get a candy bar and the reward is to eat it. But the problem is if you do that every single day, maybe the pounds start creeping on. So you have the same cue, which will trigger a habit. And what you need to do is change the routine. So you either change the cue, or change the routine, or change the reward. We’ve generally found that the cue stays the same.

You know, you can’t really do much about the fact that for instance it’s 2:00 in the afternoon. But then you need to figure out a way to either change the routine, replace the routine, or replace the reward. So in Charles Duhigg’s book, he talks about the fact that, okay, the cue is 2:00 in the afternoon, maybe the routine that I try to get into is to walk to a friend’s office and talk to them. And then the reward is essentially giving yourself a little break to be able to talk to your office friends. So that’s the way that you can start to build a new routine and a new habit.

So what’s in it for them is what you generally need to think about it is how can you change the reward, or change the routine because the cue is probably going to stay the same? So . . . oh, that’s what I just said. What’s the cue? You trigger a new routine. And what kind of a reward?

All right. So then the next point is to have an alternate route. You know, when do you need to recalculate? When do you think you need to think about how you get around somebody who is a condition?

Jim: Well, and the point here, there’s a simple process and a decision making process when you’re trying to decide what it is needs to get done. Ask yourself, “Is it a must do, a should do, or a nice to do?” Is it a must do, a should do, or a nice to do? Because if it is a must do and you’re trying to put in change, this is something that’s non-negotiable. This might be a legal change that might . . . or it might lead to legal repercussions. It might be a regulation that needs to be followed and it’s not followed. There are many different things that have to be done but because of the potential serious repercussions. Those are your must do’s, okay? So you got to do.

The next is should do. What should you do? These might be strategic changes. You know that this is something you should do, you know that this is for the organization. It could be things that you have agreed to, or have been agreed to in the past but haven’t been implemented. Well, we should do it. We’ve all agreed. We just haven’t gotten around to.

And then you got the nice to do’s. So it might make you more efficient and it really bugs you but nobody else cares. So ask yourself, “It would be nice if we did this but how important is it really?” And this is where you pick your battlefield. Is this a must do issue? Is this a should do issue? Or is this a nice to do issue? And choose your battles.

Alice: So, Heather, back to your question. And Heather posted a question in the chat saying, “I’m leading a team through a big move to a new location and our timeline is tight. My staff is not on board with the move. How do I lead them through the transition?” Good question. So I think this is the first strategy that I would look at is the, first of all, I’m assuming they’ve seen your question, that this is a must do. This is really not negotiate. This is something that has to happen. So on some level there will be the . . . if they’re complaining, sometimes they’re just going to have to complain. So you just say, “This is what’s going to happen.” 

But also move elements. What are the things that . . . as we’d like to say, “What are you willing to throw yourself on the sword for?” You know, what is this stuff that is not negotiable? Maybe the timeline is not negotiable? Maybe the location itself is not negotiable. But is there wiggle room for how the offices are assigned, or how the spaces are assigned, or do people get some kind of flex time or something to deal with the move where, “Yes, you have to do this move but you’ll get some, you know, bonus time off for doing them”? There’s, again, what kind of benefits can you provide them? What kind of rewards can you provide them that will allow them to think, you know, “Okay, I don’t want to do this but maybe it doesn’t totally stink?”

Jim: Yeah. And there’s another thing that you can do a great tactic when you’re facing a situation, when people are resistant to an idea is if this is not a must do and you’re in that should do range, or you’re trying to implement this changes is ask for input. Ask for input and make sure the single most often asked question when they respond is why. Ask why they feel the way they do without being confrontational. Because it’ll make them and give them the opportunity to assess why this thing is important to them. And depending upon the situation, this is a one-on-one private conversation or it can be a group activity.

Alice: So back to the example of the office move that we are coordinating for one of our organizations. I did ask that question of why to one of the people who was grumbling the most about this. I said, “Why is this so bad?” The number one thing that she said was, “Well, so and so has a big office all to himself. Why don’t I get a big office all to myself.” And, frankly, I had to be a little blunt at first to say that, “Well, because that person is a senior management member of this team and frankly you’re not.”

I didn’t say it that way but I did have to be a bit direct to be, “This is not really negotiable.” But the other piece that we talked about when I started probing so more was that part of her issue was that she didn’t want to have to clean her office to be able to move it. And as soon as she articulated that, she actually laughed about that, and said, “Yeah, I guess that’s a pretty lame excuse.” So sometimes by going through that questioning process they end up identifying their own challenges and their own roadblocks and identify the fact that, “You know, maybe that’s kind of lame.”

Jim: So maybe you get to take that step and you do get to make some changes. Don’t think you’re done. You know, if you’ve started to make change, remember back to the organizational growth curve, don’t think that you’re done. You should assess where you are, you should review what you’ve accomplished, and you should make changes, if necessary, to get closer to your overall goal. If you think about it from the terms of flying an airplane, which Alice and I get to do a lot. She’s on the road 230 days a year. I’m on the road 180. And we’re on a lot of planes.

And I try not to think about the fact that the vast majority that we’re on a plane that’s headed the wrong direction per se because the plane isn’t flying in a straight line. It’s headed in the wrong direction in most cases and the pilot makes small adjustments to the flight path through the entire flight to ultimately get to the destination. That’s something you should think about as well. As you’re focused on a goal, a change goal, you might not get there in a straight line. So assess where you go through each step that you take and make adjustments and try again.

Alice: So the reality of all of this is that change takes time. And as much as we would like to have change happen instantaneously. In fact, during our staging time I was telling Steven that we’re going through an organizational change right now and I have said, “Why don’t they understand that this needs to happen right now?” And then I realized I was about to do a session on organizational change. So hopefully, I learned something from this webinar today.

Jim: Alice actually said, “Maybe I should listen to me.”

Alice: So change does take time. But my favorite quote about this is the key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the eggs not by smashing it. So what we hope that we’ve given you is if you have the time to be able to walk people through a more healthy organizational change process, to just remind yourself that this is going to take some time to do.

If you are in a situation where you are managing change and it has to happen quickly, hopefully, we’ve given you a few strategies to be able to at least assess who the players are, assess where the challenges are, identify where those problems and conditions might be and be able to develop some strategies to manage that process. So this is our contact information. And I’m going to stick around a little bit longer for some questions. Jim actually has to go and continue with our fund drive for this radio station. So he’s going to jump off at this point.

Jim: That’s right.

Alice: So thank you, Jim.

Jim: Well, before I go I’d like to encourage all of you to support your local public radio and television stations. Thank you very much. And there’s a good possibility that they have a lovely thank you gift when you visit them online.

Alice: So I’m going to stick around and answer some more questions, if there are any, and that hopefully, was helpful for you.

Steven: Thanks, Alice. And, Jim, thanks. I know you got to run but thanks for doing this. Really a treat if you guys didn’t already pick that up. But Alice and Jim are at a client of theirs on site. They’re on the road. They’re not their home office. They are squeezing this in for us.  So really, thank you to both you for doing this. You’re on the road 200 days a year. This is a big deal. So I really appreciate you both doing this. Jim’s on the air now. And yeah, support your public broadcasting. You get a tote bag or a mug and also it’s a good cause beyond that, so go for it.

So, Alice, yeah, we can stick around for about three or four more minutes, if you can. I know you answered a lot of questions along the way. But it looks like Joseph there is asking if you recommend any survey tools for doing kind of a culture analysis. Do you have any sorts of methodologies or software or tools that you recommend for that?

Alice: So one of the strategies that we have used pretty successfully is the example that we mentioned earlier about the organizational growth curve. And being able to get this environment where you can do it in a person, you know, face-to-face environment. It’s really good because then you can put it up on a flip chart or on a whiteboard and just let people mark where they think they are, where they think the organization is on the curve.

But you could actually also do that through just like a SurveyMonkey or some kind of other survey tool where you could send out an anonymous survey so people don’t have to respond back with their contact information and say, “Here are the various stages of where our organization might be and how do we use that?”  And then you can have people answer, you know, “Where do you think we are and why?” And so there was a request to show the curve again. There it is. So you could do a survey where you say, “Okay, here’s the description of phase one, here’s the description of phase two, here’s the description of phase three. What phase do you think our organization is in?”

And we actually do have a more detailed explanation on our website, which is, And if you do actually, F-R-E-E, we have a whole page of free resources. We don’t even ask for your email, just take it, make it your own. And the organizational growth curve with more detailed explanation is on that page.

Steven: Cool. I just chatted that link out there. Yeah, you’ve got a lot of awesome kind of policy templates. You’ve got sample bylaws, donor recognition policy, gift acceptance policy, that’s a really important one. So, yeah, go to that website and download all that good stuff. I love it. Well, there aren’t too many questions here that . . . Oh, go ahead, Alice.

Alice: And the other thing about this free resources page is that we have done both the PDF and the editable documents. So if you want you can just take our logo off of it and tell your boss that you worked on it all week.

Steven: Yeah. Take credit. They don’t mind. They’ll never know. Well, this was awesome. This is a really cool presentation. I think it’s going to be one of my favorites throughout the year. We’ve got it all recorded. Any last thoughts, Alice? What do you think people could maybe do today to start kind of moving the needle or get this process started if they haven’t already done so?

Alice: I think, part of the thing that I would recommend people do is think about the change that you’re trying to implement and don’t try to implement too much. We all do this. We all have this natural tendency to want to change a whole bunch of things at once. So, for instance, if you’re trying to be healthier you might say, “Okay, I’m going to get up every morning and do a five-mile run, and I’m going to have a really healthy breakfast, and then I’m going to do all these other things, and I’m going to meditate for an hour, and then I’m going to go to yoga class, and then I’m going to go to work, and then after work I’m going to do . . .” you know, and we try to do too much at once.

And by throwing so much change at ourselves, we end up essentially sabotaging our own success. So as you do that you have a tendency to do that with organizational change as well, where you just want to throw everything at people at once. I think the most important strategy in this presentation was the must do’s and the should do’s and the nice to do’s. Figure out what they must do is. Figure out what that one or two things that are not negotiable. What are those things? And those are the ones you should protect. And you may have to find yourself in a situation where you let some of the other changes go.

Steven: I love it. This is fun. Thanks for doing that it, Alice. I really appreciate you putting in a schedule. This is a lot of a lot of good info so thank you.

Alice: Thank you.

Steven: And reach out to them. There are a lot of free resources. They’re free. Like Alice said, no obligation. There’s a lot of cool stuff on that site. So click on to their free page there. Follow them on Twitter. That’s a good Twitter follow by the way, both of that for sure. I can vouch for that personally. And hopefully, we’ll keep the conversation going. So thanks to all of you for hanging out with us for an hour or so today. Always nice to see lots of names in the chat box there. We’ve got some great sessions coming up throughout the rest of the year.

Nice one, next week, one of my favorite topics. Bequest planned giving, gifts, and your will. Good topic. High ROI in terms of your fundraising efforts. So if you don’t have a bequest program, we’ve got Lori joining us who’s going to give you some tips on how to get that going. And it’s pretty easy. I think you’ll find that it’s not as scary as maybe some people make it out to be or might think it is. So same time, same place next Thursday 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Totally free. There’s lots of other webinars you can register for on our webinar page. Lots of cool sessions coming up on, lots of different topics.

I think you’ll find something there that kind of fits your needs right now. So check out that page. And hopefully, we’ll see you again next week. So look for an email from me with the recording and the slides. I’ll get that out to you today, I promise. And hopefully, see you again on another session. So have a good rest of your Thursday. Have safe weekend. Alice, travel safe. Please tell Jim also best wishes for your next flight. I’ll be keeping an eye on your Facebook feed for that. But have fun, and we’ll talk to you all again soon. Bye now.

Alice: Bye.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.