Essential Change Management Skills for Every Nonprofit CEO
In this webinar, Stefanie Krievins will provide the tools you need to have awareness around your own change style, how your team tends to respond to change, and what you need to do to lead effectively so everyone takes responsibility for new results.
Steven: All right. Stefanie, my watch just struck 2:00 Eastern. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started?
Stefanie: Yeah, let’s rock and roll.
Steven: All right, cool. Well, welcome everyone. Good afternoon, if you’re out here on the East Coast. Good morning, if you’re out on the West Coast. Thank you so much for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar, “How to be a Pro Troublemaker: Essential Change Management Skills for Every CEO.” I love troublemakers. It’s going to be a fun one.
My name is Steven Shattuck, and I’m the chief engagement officer over here at Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always. And just a couple of quick housekeeping items before we get going here. I just want to let you all know that we are recording this presentation. So, if you maybe get interrupted today or have to leave early for a meeting, have no fear. I’ll get you the recording later on this afternoon. I’ll email that to you, I promise. I’ll also send out the slide once again in case you didn’t already get those.
Most importantly, if you have any questions or comments, we love for these sessions to be interactive. So don’t be shy about using that chat box right there on your screen. We’re going to save some time at the end for Q&A. I’ll also be checking the Twitter feed for questions or comments also. So don’t sit on those hands. We’d love to hear your thoughts throughout the hour or so.
And if you have any trouble with your audio through your computer speakers, we find that the audio by phone is usually a lot more solid. So if you can dial in by phone, if that will be comfortable for you, if that won’t annoy a co-worker perhaps, try that before you totally give up on us or throw your computer out the window perhaps. There is an email from ReadyTalk, your confirmation email went out an hour ago that has a phone number that you can dial into if you have any audio difficulties.
And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, I just want to say an extra special welcome to you folks joining us for the first time. We do these webinars just about every Thursday, every single week. We only miss a couple weeks out of the year, so we’re doing maybe 48 to 50 webinars. We love doing it. We bring on great guests like today’s guest is no exception.
But if you’ve never heard of Bloomerang beyond our webinar series, we are a provider of donor management software. So, if you’re interested in that or maybe just kind of curious about what we have also and maybe you’re thinking of switching soon, check out our website. You can watch a video demo. You can see the software in action right front from your desk. You don’t even have to talk to a salesperson if you don’t want to do that. Who wants to do that after all?
So, check that out later on. Don’t do that right now because we’ve got a great session in store for you over the next hour or so. Joining us from beautiful Indianapolis where I am also hailing from. I don’t think that’s ever happened, Stefanie, but we’re both from Indy. And you’re here, you’re here to talk to us. How is it going? Thanks for being here. Are you doing okay?
Stefanie: Oh, awesome, awesome. I’m excited for this Hoosier webinar. Hoosier original, OG, you know what I mean?
Steven: Yeah. This is a true Hoosier webinar. I usually ask people, you know, how the weather is there, but I already know the answer to that question because you’re here in Indy. We’ve known each other for, I was trying to calculate it, maybe like 12 years. We met way back in the day when we were doing some fundraising videos for Catholic Charities here in Indy. That’s kind of where we met. And we stayed friends. And you’ve done workshops for me on site.
And I just love Stephanie. She’s just an awesome person. She’s a big advocate for adoption and foster care here in Indiana and Indianapolis. And one thing that I always look for in my guest speakers is that she had been in your shoes before. She’s worked at a lot of nonprofits here in Indy, Catholic Charities like I mentioned, museums, higher ed, she really knows her stuff, and now she’s trying to bring all that experience in her coaching work, which she’s also a very excellent at. And I think you’ll agree with me after you hear her presentation. So, Stefanie, I don’t want to take any time away from you. Tell us all about how to be a pro troublemaker, my friend. Take it away.
Stefanie: All right. Awesome. Well, thank you for that amazing introduction. As my husband says, don’t feed my ego. My goodness. You make me blush over here. But thank you all so much. And I just want to do a quick check-in with you, Steven. I saw a comment that says slides aren’t visible yet. So, if we could double-check that and make sure . . .
Steven: Yeah. I think we’re doing okay. Yeah.
Stefanie: Awesome, awesome, awesome. So, welcome, my friends, from across the globe. I want to share with you today some essential change management skills that I think every CEO needs, for-profit, nonprofit, no profit, less than zero profit, you need these change management skills. And I want to share those with you today. I’ll share with you a little bit more about my street cred and where I come from in just a hot second, but just know that we’re going to talk about change management. And it’s one of my favorite topics. And I want to wrap it up in a label that I want to invite you to consider becoming if you’re not already, and it’s called being a pro troublemaker. And I’ll share with you those skills as we move through the webinar.
I have a few guesses as to why you’re here today. Maybe as a leader, you want to challenge how things are done around here but you’re not sure how to do that effectively, right? What are the leverage points to get our teams to change?
Maybe you’re already challenging the process, challenging the status quo a bit, but you’re feeling like you’re causing more resentment than change, or you’re feeling that emotional backlash that comes whenever we try to steal people’s cheese, or what is that? Move the cheese, whatever that cliché is, right? But it’s real and it’s palpable in your organization, and you want to find the more effective way to do it.
Or maybe you have devil’s advocates, those pains in the butts in your organization that you call troublemakers, and you’re trying to figure out what makes them tick. Like, why are you the first person to always tell me why it won’t work? I want to what’s going on inside your head.
So, those are my guesses, but I would love to hear from you guys in the Q&A. Why are you here today? What do you want to learn about change management, and about shaking things up in your organizations that would really make your life a little bit easier? We’ll pause for just a second. I’ll read out some of the comments I get from the Q&A. Why are you here today? What do you want to learn?
Susan says, “How not to commit murder.” Susan, I’m going to guess that your commitment to change is a little bit different than those around you. We’re going to talk about that today.
Paige says, “I’ve had to be a change manager repeatedly. But I don’t have any formal training. Are you doing it right?” Well, I don’t know, Paige. So, let’s dig into that. I’ll share some tools with you. Definitely, there’s no right or wrong answer frankly. It’s about are you doing what’s most effective for the culture that you’re in, for the people that you work for. That’s the gauge of success. Not right or wrong, but instead, are you using the best tools for those people around you?
What else we have here? Olivia, “Just had a strategic planning session. It was pushing for change. But I want to learn how to ensure the change doesn’t necessarily mean more work.” Ooh, yes, girl. Like, those strategic planning sessions are always about growth, and change, and doing new things. But we all know, once we get into explicating a strategic plan, it’s really easy to go back to the status quo. So, here’s the simple answer to that one, you have to have focus. You have to say no to work that’s not yours to do. You have to say yes to the work that is yours to do. So, that’s my simple trick right there. You have to have focus. And you can’t inundate people with too much work. There are lots of tips for productivity that I have around that that maybe we can do another webinar around.
Let’s see, Meryl here. “I’m leading major change. And as I’m working on it for over a year, but we’re just now expanding throughout the country. I know too much to look at with fresh eyes.” All right. So, lots of expansion, big, big, big work there, Meryl.
Abigail. “I’m the new executive director at an old established nonprofit. I’ll be leading the board in a drastically new strategy. I want it to be a happy transition.” Well, girl, I can’t guarantee happiness. But let’s talk about the transition piece when we talk about change curve because there’s always conflict when it comes to change. So, how do we move through that in a grateful way.
I shoot for grace versus happiness because as we talked about with the change curve, there’s a lot of emotions that people have. And I’ll even tell you about my experience in an organization. I touched the flagship program of the organization, which was like its baby. And to watch all the emotions pop up is always fascinating. Fascinating organizational development learning experience.
Let’s see, Cherie says, pardon me, Cherie, if I don’t see your name right. “How do we take in as the nice troublemaker?” Oh, girl, nice. How about kind? Let’s be a kind pro troublemaker because if we’re going to cause change, we can’t control how people interpret that. But of course, you can be nice if your intention is to be nice.
Jennifer says, “I’m new to an organization that’s been doing the same way for 55 years, and I’m the changemaker.” Oh, yes, that organization needs you. So, how can you show up consistently and own the fact that you’re going to create conflict? Like, that’s all there is to it. And conflict is not bad. We’re going to talk about healthy conflict, but you have to own and be confident in the fact that you’re going to stir some things up, and that’s what the organization needs.
Kelly, last one here, and I’ll get moving ahead. These are awesome. “We’re in a massive growth period, and I want to make sure we set habits now that keep us growing sustainably and well.” Oh, yes. Love it. Yeah. Because growth at a breakneck speed will hurt people. Like, that sprinting all the time is just not sustainable for human beings. So, how do we do that? These are so good. Oh, yeah, all these comments, so I could dig into these for hours. Thank you so much for sharing.
Just in the spirit of time, let’s keep on trucking through. And I have some discussion questions that I will pose to you. But if at any time you have a question, don’t hesitate to reach out, and you’ve got Q&A and ask it, and I will work those in as I can. And then also, we’ll have some Q&A time at the end, and we’ll see what we can do for you. And of course, the recording will be available as well, and you’ll have my contact information if you want to reach out offline, too. I’d love to support you in any way I can.
Just a little expectation setting, my friends. I know it’s really easy to think you can multitask and answer your email while you’re listening to the webinar, but please, I invite you, just for the next 50 minutes, give me your full attention and really focus in on these skills because I want to make sure that this hour of time is worthwhile for you, and it can be worthwhile for you if you give it focus. That’s the key to success on so many things. I said it earlier. I’m going to say it if it applies here. Please, let’s have a conversation together and learn together, and you’ll get much more out of it. I promise you that.
So, just to share with you all a little bit about my background, so I have a master’s degree in nonprofit management. Steven and I met when I worked at Catholic Charities in the archdiocese of Indianapolis. He was putting together those marketing videos, and I was putting together the scripts for the events, and the honorees, and all the things. I don’t know if Steven knows this but I actually had seven bosses at the time. So I was a one-person marketing department for Catholic Charities across 39 counties here in Southern and Central Indiana. And so, learning how to manage all those different priorities was an amazing consulting project in and of itself.
From there, I went to work for a national leadership and HR consulting company where I learned the power of what HR can do for our organization and for our business results. So, I worked with nonprofits, for-profits, from 5 employees to 1,500 employees, compensation programs, performance management plans, leadership and development, manager training. I learned all the fundamentals of the best practices of what HR and learning and development should be doing for our company.
I also wrote 400 engineering job descriptions. I don’t remember. I don’t recommend that for anybody. I was laughing at Steven and said, “I remember those seven bosses. They were probably in there talking to [him 00:12:35].” But yeah, so, it was an awesome job and awesome learning experience. From there, I went to work for a national Christian and social justice nonprofit, which basically means I did very niche training and development work for an organization that at the time had been around for 10 years, was seeing continuous decline in membership programming and revenue, 200% staff turnover in 2 years. It’s what I would call a hot mess.
And during that time, I had the opportunity, it was actually my first assignment with them to reprogram, reformat their flagship program. It was the one that the founder had created, had taken national, had been very successful for a long time, and then it wasn’t. And watching the emotional energy of this organization emerge was absolutely fascinating and a wonderful lesson in change management because what happened was I saw . . . I was implementing all these decisions that the board had already made. And as I did that, I watched as individual board members and the founder would question my credibility. I would make decisions with two other people who had been on staff for 10 years. And if someone didn’t like the decision, those two staff members would throw me under the bus and say, “Oh, well, Stefanie made that decision all on her own.” It was so fascinating to watch this go down.
So, right from a change management perspective, I watched this organization and the individuals in it go through the grief process of letting go what of the idea that, oh, once we were wildly successful and now we’re not, and we don’t know how to let go of the past in order to move forward. So, every decision was about, “Well, you know what was successful five years ago? We’re going to do try that again.” And it wasn’t successful because cultures and expectations had drastically changed and they weren’t willing to keep up. It was so fascinating. Five years ago, I went out on my own and became a trained coach. And now in my business, I get to work with people that I affectionally call pro troublemakers.
These are people who want to change the world, who want to make a big impact with their work and with their lives. And in that overzealousness to be important and do important stuff, we kind of get wonky with ourselves, with our teammates. We want to push change. We want to drive change. We want to create change, and that drive gets a sideways with the people around us. So, I help leaders show up with influence, and use these skills of our pro troublemaker that I’m going to share with you here in just a minute, to truly create change with other people, and create new business with other people because they better understand people’s motivation. That’s the secret to all of this is we have to know what motivates other people.
Oftentimes, leaders come to me and they’ll say something like, “Well, they’re just not motivated.” No, they’re motivated. We’re all motivated to get our needs met. As a leader, you just don’t know what their motivation is and we’ve got to figure that out. And so, now in my work, I work with mostly organizations from 5 employees to 150 employees, nonprofit, for-profit. I love to bring the best parts of the nonprofit world into the for-profit world, and the best parts of the for-profit world into the nonprofit world. But at the end of the day, people are people, and we all have needs and motivations, and deserve to joyous at work. And so, that’s what I get to do now through executive coaching, strategic planning and execution, team training, team coaching, and different group programs that I offer as well.
So, enough about me. I want to hear from you all, friends, when I can flip the slide. Here we go. Real quick. In the Q&A, what do you struggle with when it comes to change? Founder syndrome. Rebecca, are you the founder or are you following the founder? Getting others to share my vision, yes. Navigating relationships. Oh, the naysayers. Getting buy-in. Rebecca is the [first CB 00:16:47], yes. Prioritization, getting others onboard. I’m hearing a lot about other people and why they won’t change. I want to hear from you what do you struggle with when it comes to change because we ultimately, friends, we can’t control other people. We can only control ourselves and how we show up. And in the spirit of sharing, I’ll share with you what I struggle with with change.
So, I’m one of those people that loves change for change’s sake. And so, I will push change just because I love variety in my life. And so, one of the things I’ve had to learn throughout my career is that I need to meet my needs for variety, but not necessarily through my business or through my work projects. Because focused intentionality leads to success. And so, if I’m trying to change things up all the time just because I want to have fun, that does not lead to a successful business. I will tell you that right now and I’ve learned that the hard way the first couple years of my business.
And so, what I do is I take out my need for a variety and change on my house projects. So, ask me at any one given time, I always have three house projects in the works. Right now, it’s a new garage and new roof, and finish painting the basement. So, there’s that. I’m going to go to your guys. So, Cherie says, what she struggles with for change, complacency and resistance. Caroline, feeling burned out trying to do everything, get everything done.
My friends, I love your work in the nonprofit sector, but we give people way too big of jobs because what I know in the for-profit sector is oftentimes what would be three jobs at a for-profit business. We try to combine into one in the nonprofit sector, so that employee ends up feeling unsuccessful because they can’t do it all because it’s not realistic that one person can do three people’s jobs.
When people can’t see the vision for change and resist. Lydia, girl, as leaders, we have to paint the vision. If you all want to resource for this, “The Leadership Challenge Sixth Edition Book: How to Inspire a Shared Vision.” Best resource out there.
Mary Ann says, “I struggle with balancing my need for speed with going at the pace of those around me.” Oh, I totally hear you. I have the same problem. I’m a fast, fast mover, and that is not how everybody thinks.
I have to learn how to appreciate the gifts of those around me because chances are, they have a different perspective and will think more thoroughly about decision-making than I will. Because I’m the type of person that like, “Oh, I’ve got my three sets of data. I’m going to make a decision and move on.” And sometimes that’s great. And sometimes, I really mess things up because I didn’t consider everything I needed to before moving fast. So, we need our fast movers and we need our slower movers to make things happen. Thank you for sharing that.
All right, friends. So, I want to do some definition setting right out of the gate. What do we mean by change and change management? Very simply, organizations do not change, people do. Change management, this is from my friends at Prosci. They’re the geniuses in this area. Change management is the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip, and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes.
So, change management, what I take away from this is it must be intentional. And I don’t even mean that we have to use like a proven model, but you as a leader need to use your leadership style to walk people through change, otherwise, it gets really hot messy really, really quickly. And change happens at three levels. So, this is where it gets convoluted when it comes change, right? We think all change management is equal, and we should apply the same tools at every step along the way, and that is not true.
So, change happens at an individual level. So, me, you as a leader changing your behavior, getting clear about your values, showing up with intention. Change happens at an organizational or initiative level. So, this is where our strategic plans come in, right? We create strategic plans. I would bet $100 because I just got back from Vegas that your strategic plan calls for growth, change, removing a program, adding a program, serving a new target audience, adding staff, etc., etc., etc. I’ve never read a strategic plan that calls for doing the exact same thing you did five years ago. And if you did, then you’re at risk of becoming irrelevant in five years, which is scary.
And then the third level of change and change management when you think about is enterprise capability. So, this one is probably the least touched on. The miss is that we create a really great strategic plan and change will happen, and that’s just not enough. So, in order to truly create change at your organization, you need to connect individual change, individual capacity and capabilities to the organizational initiative.
And through your strategic plan, very simply what that means is making sure you have learning and development goals for your staff or adding staff capacity and expertise through new positions in order to accomplish your organizational initiative. If not, chances are, your strategic plan is just not going to happen.
The enterprise capability by way of change management, here’s what I mean by that. So, Ford recently announced or like last year, sometime recently said that they were going to stop making sedans, right? So, Americans are buying less and less sedans. The crossover is all the rage nowadays, the SUV, the truck, all those things as people are rehabbing their homes and making those weekend trips to Home Depot. They want the crossover. They want the truck, right?
So, from a sales perspective, from an organizational perspective, it made sense for Ford in their mind to cut the manufacture of sedans. That’s an organizational initiative. That is a business level decision, right? You eliminate one service line. The enterprise change as they’re working on driving right now is Ford is no longer a manufacturer of automobiles. Their vision is to become a transportation company.
So, that means developing technology for driverless cars, that means better understanding how the electrical grid will or will not support electric vehicles, how renewable energies will affect how we need to fuel our vehicles. Like, trucking and transportation needs to be changed in the future. That’s what Ford wants to contribute to. That is an enterprise-level decision. Those are big, huge pivots in your work. That is Apple going from the failing, whatever, Macintosh or whatever it was at the time, to the iPad and the iPod, and reinventing how music is delivered. That’s an enterprise-level capability.
In the nonprofit sector, that is an organization truly reduced like going after the big, strategic work that it takes to reduce poverty in the community. These are huge pivots. We’re not going to talk about that today. That’s a really big topic. Instead, we’re going to talk about you as a leader. How do you need to show up as an individual to make it more likely that the organization is going to change. And I just want to know that said Gary, please repeat the resource. That book was “The Leadership Challenge.” And it sounds like a generic name, but it’s not “The Leadership Challenge Sixth Edition.” You can get it on Amazon, probably get it at your library. Fantastic book on how you need to show up as a leader, and a leader exists at every level in order to accomplish that shared vision together.
All right. So, let’s keep on going here. Here’s one of the premises I want to share with you today. Your business deserves your high expectations in order to maintain relevance. I just got back from a leadership conference in Las Vegas, and one of our speakers was like the top sales dude for MGM Resort. And he shared a quote that just knocked in my gut. And he said that, “If your company,” and this applies for-profit, nonprofit, “is not keeping up, you will be irrelevant in five years.” It doesn’t mean you’ll be gone. It doesn’t mean you won’t have a job. Well, it doesn’t mean your colleagues won’t have a job, but you’ll basically be like a commodity because you weren’t able to keep up with the times.
You know, that scares me because I want you to be relevant. I want you to truly do impactful work in a way that makes sense with our current modern contemporary times. And chances are, you’re here today because you want to drive change. You want to create change. And I’m here to say, “Your organization deserves those high expectations for you to live out your strengths and to actually make that happen.” And so, I want to share with you a little bit about how you can do that.
So, the way that I believe individual leaders need to impact change is by accepting the invitation to be a pro troublemaker. And I want to talk about what isn’t a pro troublemaker first before I get to the awesome sauce of pro troublemaking. So, a troublemaker I see is the opposite of a pro troublemaker. They complain. They sound selfish. They’re pessimistic. They break the rules because they don’t serve them. They alienate themselves and others. They’re the first person to tell you why something won’t work, why it’s not possible. They might even raise their hand to say, “Well, let me play devil’s advocate on that one for a second.”
That does not unify people. That does not bring people together. It is not energy-generating. They trigger you as a leader probably. You probably don’t have a great impression of them. And so, you don’t want to support them in their career advancement. You don’t believe that it’s possible that they can accomplish big things because they always sound so pessimistic. The problem is is that they have good intentions and they’re probably right about some things. But their delivery of how they communicate it is ineffective.
So, for example, I have a client and she’s a chief technology person. And the feedback that I got from her boss is that she came across as really selfish. I said, “Hmm, that’s interesting.” And so, I worked with her for a couple of months, and I still wasn’t understanding the selfishness piece to her. And what I came to learn from her bosses was that the reason that she was giving the perception of being selfish was because every time they asked her to do something, she would say, “Well, how much time is it going to take me? If I accomplish this, will get a raise or a promotion? How will this impact my team?” No awareness that that’s how she was coming across, but her intentions were so good because in her brain, she was like, “Oh, of course, I’m onboard. Yeah, let’s do this.”
So, she immediately went to very practical, tactical questions as to what it would take to get it done. So, helping her reframe how she communicated from a more strategic level, from a team perspective, from a mission perspective helped her bosses understand she’s onboard. She’s been onboard. She wants to be onboard. She just wasn’t communicating it effectively.
There’s also a personality style that is naturally pessimistic, and probably naturally more pragmatic than I am, and we need that in our decision-making as a team. Because, friends, I’m a glitter and rainbows kind of girl. Like, I think anything is possible. And so, I need someone to check my realities and be like, “Stefanie, that doesn’t take four hours. That takes four months.” “Oh. Okay, cool. Well, I would’ve thought I could’ve knocked it out in four hours,” right? And then I would be disappointed and then I would quit.
So, we need a balance of decision-making, and troublemakers need help and awareness in communicating more effectively. So, the invitation is over to the pro troublemaker side. A pro troublemaker is creative, curious. They’re focused on the mission, the bigger picture. When they walk in the room to the staff meeting, you’re like, “Oh, yes. I’m so glad she’s here because she always adds the best insight.” They’re energy-generating. They’re charismatic. They’re joyful about the work.
Friends, in some of my nonprofit cultures that I work in, there’s not a lot of joy going on. We need to bring the joy. Pro troublemakers bring the joy to this work, and a lot of you all are doing some really hard work, right? You’re working with homeless families. You’re working with people experiencing detrimental, catastrophic health situations. You’re doing the real hard work that exists on our planet. I’m not saying it’s always easy to be joyful, but joy is a choice and a pro troublemaker chooses joy.
So, the invitation is there to accept it if you want to be a pro troublemaker. I want to switch to talking about change and how that impacts your ability to be that pro troublemaker. And I see Gary here, “Yeah. Definition of a pro troublemaker is similar to being a positive disruptor.” Yes, absolutely. There’s also a concept called positive deviance. Exact, same concept. Here’s my secret, Gary. I do a lot of research on this stuff and I combine it in new ways.
So, the literature is out there. I just try to present it in a more fun, joyful way. So, these people are super smart. I just love to share it with the world. So, those are my secrets there, guys. So, when it comes to being a pro troublemaker and accepting the responsibility to push change in your organizations, I want you to first have self-awareness around your change style. And so, for all of us on the call, we have an affinity, a range of affinity or aversion to change. And it’s based on a variety of factors.
So, personality and behavioral styles, so your Myers-Briggs. If you’re into DiSC, which is a behavioral profile centered around your level of dominance, influence, stability, and conscientiousness. My dominance and influence friends are fast movers, fast decision-makers. My stability and conscientiousness friends are slower to make decisions. Neither one is right or wrong. We have to balance it on our team. But if your team is over-dominated by any one style, you’re going to have a dysfunctional change management process. That’s just how it rolls.
We also have an internal, I call it internal biological clock, but I don’t mean like convey that I’m talking about something inappropriate here, but it’s this internal clock that we really have kind of this speed that which our body desires change. And so, it goes from anywhere from about a year, year and a half where someone is going to be looking for a new job, maybe want to be moving apartments, looking for that raise, that promotion, or to take on a new significant project to a 7 to 10-year time frame.
So, the example I always use is that I change out my shower curtain once a year because I need variety in my life, and I want to see a new shower curtain in my bathroom. My best friend’s husband was miserable in his job for five years before he started looking for another job that he finally got like three years later. His speed of change is much different than mine. Not wrong, not bad, just different.
Our values determine how much change we like and when. So, if you really value stability, steadiness, safety, chances are you’re going to be a bit more apprehensive to change than someone who values freedom, and variety, and flexibility. And I’m talking in hyperbole here and kind of stereotypes but these are things that I’ve learned about people along the way. Your ability to change is going to be reflected by your life, your stage in your life and career, right? Do you have toddlers? Do you have kids on the way to college? You have kids in college. Do you not have kids? Some of that determines our risk profile in competing commitments.
So, we all have a need for change, like at the basis of who we are as human beings. This is part of what makes us human beings is that we have a certain level of the need for variety or variability in our lives, but oftentimes, we have competing commitments that are keeping us from changing. And in the workplace, what that looks like is someone telling you yes to your face, and they’re not actually changing their behavior.
So, you have to be able to have trustworthy conversations with these people to really dig into why they’re not changing, and it could be as simple as, “Well, I’m getting two different directives from two different bosses, so I’m not sure which one to do so I do nothing.” And it could be as deep and as heartfelt as a man that I’ve interacted with. He was an African American man, and he worked in a predominantly white organization. And he was given this big project, and he was told, if you’re successful at this project, you will move up in the ranks of the company and become an executive.
Well, his African American identity was very strong to him. It was an integral part to who he was. And he was making no progress on this project. He was making no progress on this project. And when we dug into why he wasn’t making progress, what he discovered and what we discovered was that he was afraid that if he was successful, he would move into the ranks of his predominantly white company and be seen as a leader and be part of that group, which in his unconscious mind took him away from his identity, and his values as a black man in America. That’s some really deep stuff. And that’s uncovered through a coaching process. That’s uncovered through a very trusting relationship between the superficial of, “I’m getting two different directions and I’m not sure which one to go, and doing this work violate my identity.” That keeps us from changing. That keeps you from changing, and it keeps your employees from changing.
And then also, if we want change to happen, we have to recognize our current level with dissatisfaction with an issue. So, I’ll show you what that looks like here. So, this is the equation for those of you who love models, and equations, and how to get people to change here and want a visual reference. This is the equation for how to overcome resistance. So, our dissatisfaction for the status quo for what is, for a process that isn’t working has to be greater than our resistance to change.
So, if you go to your accounting people and say, “You know what, the process that you’ve outlined creates three hours of work for me. Is there any way we could cut this down to an hour and a half of work for me?” And your accounting department or head doesn’t see a problem with it, they’re probably not going to change because they’re not dissatisfied with the status quo. Because if you’re to eliminate an hour and a half of work from your plate, that probably means you’re adding on an hour and a half of work to their plate.
You have to figure out what’s the leverage point of their dissatisfaction that you can find to help them overcome their resistance. And then in order to get folks to change, you have to help them understand a compelling positive vision, right? So, a lot of times when I say, “What do you want?” People would tell me all the things they don’t want. A positive compelling vision has to be something we can picture. It also has to be stated in the positive, right? So, we’re going to, instead of saying, “We’re going to reduce our terminations by 10%.” We need to say, “We’re going to increase our retention rate.” That is a positive compelling vision.
We can’t say that we’re going to . . . here’s a great . . . it’s a personal one. We can’t say we’re going to lose weight. We have to say we’re going to gain strength. Our brains latch onto the positivity. It can better understand it and work towards it.
And then in order to get there, we have to be able to communicate the clear first steps. So, oftentimes, when we’re talking about a big, grand vision of three, five years away, we want to say, “Guys, there are the 25 steps we have to take in order to get there.” And our brain gets overwhelmed, and it shuts down and it says, “Nope, I’m not going to change.” But instead, your job as a leader is to communicate just the next step. “Guys, I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to get to, you know, growing our fundraising budget by 25%. But here are the first steps we’re going to take in order to take there, and we’re going to figure it out as we go.”
That’s not the same thing as building the plane as you fly it, which that cliché is god awful from a management perspective. But instead, you’re leaving yourself open to flexibility and adaptability. You’re committing to the goal, but you can’t prescribe out all the steps the it’s going to take to get there because none of us are fortune tellers. So instead, we have to keep our planning process flexible and adaptable.
All right. So, focusing on you again and team members and what change looks like and feels like is you all have probably seen this is the classic change management tool. If you have it, I encourage you to dig into it with the change curve. And it looks a lot like the grief process as well. And so, when we think about pushing change, driving change, we have to recognize in ourselves, for ourselves, and for our people with our people that we have all these emotions to go through in order to get to the actual change.
So, there’s going to be denial. There’s going to be blame of others and ourselves. There’s going to be confusion. And then finally, after we get through some of those emotions either outwardly or inwardly, we’re going to start moving towards acceptance and actual behavior change and problem solving. So, just recognizing that, one, you and your employees are entitled to all the emotions that come with this, right, like, I love a passionate employee. I love an employee that is so frustrated at somebody because that tells me they care. I want them to care about their job, but I need them to channel that eventually into problem solving.
And your job as a leader might be to be a coach in the moment to help them work through the blame, the shame, the uncertainty, and move towards acceptance, and problem solving, and actually moving on. Because as you can see with this, and then this change curve is, you know, almost like it’s linear, but as we all know, the motions are more like this, right, just ping ponging around, and then back to blaming an little bit. And maybe you took acceptance for a hot second, then some more doubt, and then we move to problem solving, right?
It’s not really linear. So, this is how humans process their emotion. So, Gary is asking, “There’s also depression and self-doubt. Can I really do to change that is necessary?” Absolutely, Gary. Right. Like, the feelings of insecurity that come up from employees during change should not be ignored. And that’s why I think learning goals are so important that we support our employees. We support our employees in working through those insecurities, but also equipping them with the new skill they need to actually get those new initiatives done. Letting them know that we support them, and that we don’t expect you to know it all, but we’re going to equip you to get it done because none of us know it all, right? I’m always learning. I’m always growing. I’m always saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” And then I figure it out.
So, the next step I want to build onto this, friends, is that with any change initiative, you have to recognize that conflict will come up, and conflict is an amazing thing. It is what helps us really create the most win-wins possible in our project. It’s what helps us come up with the best solutions when everyone is able to engage in conflict. And what I mean by that is healthy conflict. I’m going to break that down for you in a second. Healthy conflict. And so, why is there a change in conflict? Well, frankly, because we’re human. Because there’s a motion. Because people have ownership over their job. Or frankly, if they’re apathetic about their job, it’s just going to create a different kind of conflict.
Recognizing that we don’t always have the skills needed for change as leaders, I will tell you and I love you all, I say this with love. We don’t create plans within that clarity or articulate our expectations on the front end often enough as frequently enough, and as clearly enough as we need to. As a leader, I want you to take 50% more time articulating expectations, communicating clearly, communicating our vision than you’re currently doing.
And with change, it can be complex. It can be simple, but just recognizing that there are different types of obstacle to every change initiative. From information to issue resolution to relationships, etc., etc. So, we can’t treat every obstacle to change in the exact same way. In your job as a leader, if you want to truly meet your change initiatives, if you want to grow, you want to serve a new organization . . . or I’m sorry, a new target audience in a new kind of way. If you want to, you know, growth in serving just single men in your food pantry to serving families in the weekend, whatever that change initiative is for you, you have to learn how to embrace conflict because we all know that we come into meetings, and we present an idea, and people have the meeting after the meeting.
And so, we don’t really hear what we need to hear to come up with the best outcome. And so, your job is to create that environment where all of the stuff that goes unsaid gets said in a team meeting. Oftentimes, what’s happening in organization is that especially nonprofits, my friends, you all are very nice people, and that is wonderful, and I’m glad that you’re kind. But oftentimes, if you’re too nice, you’re creating artificial harmony. So, everyone is agreeing to your face, and then no one is following through. You’re shutting down creativity and decision making because you’re not getting it all out on the table.
You know, that cliché about the elephant in the room is unbelievably true and holds back so many of our organization. If you’re not having enough tension in your one-on-one interaction and your team meeting, you don’t have enough conflict to come up with the best answer. Of course, on the opposite end of that, you know, the more aggressive type of tension that we have in our organization is right where people are outwardly mean to each other, you hear people yelling at each other, there’s destructive relationship behaviors. We’re isolating people and making them feel lonely and disconnected from the team. The tension is too high. That’s not good either. But instead, your job as a leader in order to get change to happen is to create healthy conflict. And healthy conflict demands debate. It demands a variety of ideas.
Everyone has to participate. No more meetings after the meetings. What is said in the meeting is what needed to be said. And as a leader, you create the environment for it. You can call people out in a gentle way to share. You can ask the people who are talking too much to shut their traps for a minute so the more introverted folks can talk. But healthy conflict has to be accomplished in order for change to happen, otherwise, you can’t get commitment because people aren’t going to follow through, because they either didn’t feel heard, or they don’t think it’s the best outcome or the best idea. So, your job is to create that environment where these conversations can be had out loud and not at the happy hour at the bar down the street after work when no one wants to say anything. It really is honesty is the best policy. And of course, communicating all of this with tact and professionalism is an absolutely must.
So, if you’ve not done the DiSC assessment yet or a productive conflict assessment, I would really encourage you to do this. This will tell you how well you deal with conflict, and what you might be doing to destroy a relationship, and what you might be doing to have productive conflict, or yeah, productive tendencies with your relationship at work.
And so, some of the things that some of us do to frankly destroy relationships and shut down conflicts, some of us get superficial. We get overly emotional. So, we’re too up in our feelings like Drake says, and so we can’t focus on problem solving. Other people get really, really analytical and don’t pay attention to the human element. Other folks get kind of combative because they just want to focus on the result. Other people get really scared about the conflict, so they shut down and they start talking for everybody. Well, what we need is and what we need is. No. In conflict, you can only say your own needs.
I’m going to stop here for question. Any tip or words of wisdom for those stepping into a leadership position in the midst of organizational change conflict? Yeah, Liz, I would say define who you are as a leader, make sure you’re in touch with your values and have confidence in who you are as a person. You don’t have to have it all figured out as a business leader, but have confidence in who you are as a person so you can feel confident in your decision-making style and what matters in those moments.
Make sure you take the time to understand what motivates those people that in the organization. And use a consistent change management process to guide people through. And so, one of my favorites is focused around community organizing, and I can get that resource for you guys later. But basically, there are typical ways that groups of people react to change. And so, understanding what part of the process they’re in. So, there’s a step in the process where people will get really sarcastic about it and start making fun of the change. That’s actually progress to the goal.
That means they’re moving through it. They’re thinking about it. But having a change management process in your mind that you want to walk people through will help you stay grounded in what is the right thing to do. Because what happens when they’re going through this organizational change in conflict, there’s a lot of emotions, a lot of irrationality, and a lot of chaos that’s created that keep things from moving forward. So, I think your job is to hold people accountable to making decisions and following through on those decisions. That’s the quick version of that one. We can talk offline about that.
But friends, just making sure, going back to this how do you deal with conflict, having awareness around your conflict style will help you tremendously because then you can better recognize your own emotions in the situation and recognize other people’s emotions in the situation. So, for example, the past year of my personal life has been very, very difficult.
I was a foster parent. I had these two . . . my husband and I had these two beautiful boys that we thought we were going to get to adopt. Very long story short. They went to go live with their birth mom after she had been gone for very, very long time. And I’m a high I on the DiSC, and my tendency is to get overly emotional, superficial and sarcastic, and demeaning. And I’m not proud to say when I was at my most stressed out with this situation, right, because my children were leaving and I was afraid for their future, I was all of those things. And I knew it was my style. And I knew it was just like my ego reacting to the situation, but I did all of that. But that situation really helped me develop a high level of awareness around how my destructive behaviors really contributed to my stress.
So, Gary says, “What if I avoid conflict?” So, Gary, your job is to learn how to embrace being brave and courageous in the moment, and finding your own way to engage in conflict in the way that is true to you.
So, you as a leader, how do you embrace conflict? Before there is conflict, prepare your team for that discussion. Prepare yourself, right? Find a common ground. Get people to state their needs, and own their feelings. So, it’s never okay to say to someone, “You make me angry,” or “You always do this that makes me angry.” You really need to own your feelings and own your needs. You need to be able to articulate your needs, which a lot of leaders and a lot of employees don’t take the time to do. Create ground rules so that you all are agreeing on how you will interact before an actual conflict situation shows up. And ground rules are super simple. And you can facilitate this with your team.
This is from an actual team building exercise around how they wanted to deal with conflict. So, if there is something that was highly contentious, they agree. We’re going to take 24 hours before we engage in that situation because we want to deescalate our emotion. We’re going to assume a positive intent from the other person, right? So, this person didn’t wake up that morning, trying to make my day absolutely miserable. They didn’t understand the impact of their behavior. I’d like to share that with them, but I’m going to assume that they were doing this for the right reason for themselves or the organization. And this is a conflict tactic, a healthy conflict tactic, we’re going to call each other out.
So, you’re in a meeting and half the people in the meeting are on their cell phones, you need to call them out because they’re not paying attention. They’re not investing their emotional energy and decision making in that actual meeting. We have to call each other out on these bad behaviors.
What other ground rules do you think would be helpful to help your team embrace conflict, or for you to embrace conflict with your team as well? What would you add? While you guys are thinking and typing, I’m going to add one more tool for your toolkit because one of this group’s rules was construct them feedback. I want to encourage you to think about doing constructive feedback, using the SBI method, situation behavior impact. So, whenever you need to provide feedback to someone, which to most of us feels like conflict, I want to invite you to use this framework where you describe the situation, you then describe the behavior that you saw, and you own the impact of that situation.
So, Sally, I asked you to have me that report that was part of a grant report that I had to turn in on Friday. I ask you to have me your section of the report on Wednesday. You didn’t get me your section of the report until Friday morning. I had to work through lunch. I almost missed the 5:00 deadline because of the edits and the updates I had to make to your section, and because it was so late. I’m frustrated that that report wasn’t as great as it could be, and that I feel like you disrespected my time because you turned it in late.
So, switching off, that’s SBI, situation behavior impact. So, in that scenario, I owned my emotion. I described my perception of the situation, but I also explained to her exactly what she did, and how it impacted the work and our relationship. So, other examples here. Be respectful when being disagreeable absolutely. Being honest with the team and say we’re going to all get through this together. Absolutely. Lead with vulnerability, yes. Vulnerability as a leader is key my friend, and it can be as simple as saying, “I don’t know. I don’t know how to figure this out, but let’s figure it out together.”
Communication is key to conflict. Do it sooner rather than later. Yes. So, we want to make sure when we’re providing feedback, it’s timely. If you’re emotionally revved up, yes, take those 24 hours. Take those two days if you need it. But once you start feeling awkward about whether or not you can go back to provide feedback, you waited too long. So, we need to provide each other timely feedback in a way that makes sense.
My last bit of information before I open it up for questions here, friends, there are so many ways to be a pro troublemaker. Certainly, my style is not the only style, right? Like, I have a fairly assertive personality style, and I’ll say the things that no one else is willing to say out loud. That doesn’t have to be your style. So, you can be a transformational leader, right? So, depending on your position in the organization, you can push, and drive, and influence those around you to do something really big.
So, this is New York City Police Chief who in the 1990s, reduced the murder rate by 50% in 2 and half years because of how he managed the police force and policing in New York City. And I know from my social justice friends, there’s lots of implications there. I get that. But he was a transformational leader who reduced the murder rate by 50%. That’s fantastic.
You can be an influential pro troublemaker. These are my friends who know how to use strategic communication in order to create change.
The good can be great leader. These are the friends that don’t stand for mediocrity, right? Good is actually the enemy of great. If you want to have a great, amazing organization, you can’t settle for good enough.
The quiet and radical leader. These are my friends who have a lot more patience than me and take the long view on change. You can do some really radical amazing things if you’re a quiet and radical leader.
So, my favorite story around this, there was a man in the ’80s. He was the only black manager at a bank on the West Coast. I think there were like, oh, a few thousand employees at the time, but he was the only black manager. Over the course of three decades, he hired more women and people of color, and helped retain them when they lost their patience with the organization, right, because they didn’t do the cultural things necessarily to truly have diversity. He created that diversity through this hiring and retention packet behaviors and strategies. When he retired, there were 3,500 people of color and/or women in his organization because of his persistence. That’s amazing change.
Or you can be that tipping point leader. The tipping point leaders know how to leverage organizational emotion in order to create change, right? How do you use the positivity and the impact of your organization to push it even further?
All right. I’m going to stop there. I’ve done a lot of talking. What questions do you have for me about some of these essential things that you need to do as a leader to create change?
Any questions? I also want to ask before we wrap up, I just love to hear in the Q&A, what’s your most valuable insight from today? As you’re thinking about this, I’m going to answer Abigail’s question. How do you start the conversation with board members that are not aware change is needed?
So, Abigail, this is the part where you need to become curious. So, asking open-ended questions about their current perspective will help you understand where they’re at, and then the second step is to start the conversation so that you explain your perspective and why you believe change is needed. What I hear in your statement, and I say this with love is that you believe the truth is is that change is needed. And I don’t agree or disagree with you. And I’d probably agree with you if I heard your side of the story. But we can’t accept our perspective as fact. It’s just a perspective. And so, we have to learn other people’s perspective before we can figure out what are the leverage points we can use to help them see ours.
Mark says, “Did you record this?” Yes. You’ll receive a recording, Mark. Mary Ann says, “My most valuable aspect of today’s discussion is to question myself about my change management.” Ooh. Yes, Marian, absolutely. Dig into that self-awareness. What are you doing well? And what behaviors do you need to change to do it even more effectively?
All right. Let’s see here. John says, “Most valuable insight, don’t hide from conflict.” Oh, yes. I’m singing your praises, John. Yes. Yes. The secret to change in the world is not hiding from conflict. Okay. Any last thoughts or ideas?
Gary, “I love the concept of creating health conflict.” Oh, thank you. And you know what, my friend, this is actually from Patrick Lencioni. He’s a scholar in team building, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” if you have not read that yet. It’s a leadership essential that his whole team, I believe the company is called open table consulting team. They have a bunch of research in this area about how to build trust, deal with conflict, get commitment, have accountability. And then, the fifth level is then seeing the results that you need to as an organization.
Therese says, “Conflict is inevitable as humans.” Oh, absolutely. And my friends, all conflict is misaligned expectation, different expectation. People want to church off that word like it means something, it doesn’t. And I think just from my perspective, conflict is when two people or more people have different expectations. So, you need to talk about it and get on the same page. Steven, it’s 3:00. I’ve just gone on and on and on. I get so excited about change management. Well, you need to do the wrap.
Steven: That’s okay. I could listen to hours more. Yeah. I mean, that was awesome. Well, we should thank you first, Stefanie. Thank you for doing this. Thank you for taking your time and sharing your expertise and all your wisdom. This is really fun. I was totally enjoying watching the questions come in and then hearing your answers as we went along. This was really fun. So, thank you to all of you for hanging out with us for an hour or so. I know it’s quite a busy time of year. We get closer to the year end, so I always appreciate a full room here on Thursday.
So, yeah. I mean, we can wrap it up there for sure. Stefanie, are you willing to maybe keep this conversation going? How can people get a hold of you after we conclude here? I don’t want this to be the last time to hear from you.
Stefanie: Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Friends, if you have more questions, please reach out to me. I’d love to chat with you. So, my website, and let me go back to the beginning here because my mama spelled my first name different, and then I married a Latvian. So, I’m spelling my first and last name all the time. But you can find me at, let me see, I haven’t figured out how to go back to the right slide. So, if you see my logo, Stefanie Krievins. It’s stefaniekrievins.com. If you want to schedule a time with me, see it on my calendar, talk through questions, that’s there. There’s a contact form. You can reach out there as well.
But most importantly, I’d invite you to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get by weekly tips on change management, leadership, how to be a pro troublemaker. You can see my blog post there too to dig into this a little bit more, and then schedule something directly with me there. If you need more help around strategic planning, execution, executive coaching, team coaching, would love to chat with you all about some of those needs so that you can make your big dreams possible.
Steven: I love it. Definitely take advantage of that. And look for the slides and the recording. I’ll send those out this afternoon, maybe you want to share it with a friend or a colleague. It will be on our blog next week, so you’ll definitely see all that good stuff. So, thanks, Stefanie. This was really fun. Thanks for being here. It’s cool.
Stefanie: Oh, yes, yeah. Thank you so much. Thanks for letting me share all this goodness with everybody.
Steven: Anytime. And we’re going to keep the webinar train rolling here. We’ve got a session coming up, not next Thursday. We have a special Wednesday presentation, 1 p.m. Eastern, so six days from now. I’m going to be out of town on Thursday. So, my buddy, John Haydon was nice enough to do a Wednesday session for us, monthly giving, one of my favorites. It’s really important, sustainable, high retention rate, high lifetime value of those donors if you don’t have a monthly giving program. So, if you have one and maybe it’s not doing so great or you just want to improve it a little bit perhaps, join us. This is going to be a really good session. John is awesome, great guy. It will be a great session. So, register for that. Hopefully, we will see you again next week. If not, that time doesn’t work for you, we’ve got lots of other webinars on our schedule. So, just check that out and hopefully we’ll see you again on another session.
So, we’ll call it a day there. Look for an email from me with the slides and the recording. And hopefully, we’ll see you again next week. So, have a safe rest of your Thursday. Have a good weekend. Stay cool out there. And we’ll talk to you again soon. Bye now.
Stefanie: Bye, everybody.