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Dean Lindsay


Change Management Is Dead

The rise of progress leadership

Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 12:03

The way we traditionally define what it means to be brave can be our greatest obstacle. Simply shifting our focus can be the gateway to powerful results.

“Change management” is a business term relating to initiating change within an organization. This could include anything from a change in work culture to increasing employee engagement and morale. The problem, however, with the term change management, is that no one really desires to change. Instead, we desire to plan to progress, and we want leaders to lead us—which creates progress leadership.

Committed leaders, or progress agents, should not apologize for the change, but instead should focus on inspiring the progress of their organizations. If progress agents include others in the process, they can shape and sustain the thoughts that in turn lead to desired results.

Companies are most successful when the goals of the company connect personally with employees. If the goals don’t connect on a personal level with an individual, then the planned progress will be viewed as merely a change and will be resisted or at least not acted on.

Back in 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People (Simon & Schuster, 2010 reprint), and its wisdom still speaks to this point today. Packed with insight on leading strong relationships by lifting people up, the book encourages readers to genuinely care about people and their feelings. Not only does this encourage us to take actions for the benefit of the people we are respecting, but it makes clear that caring about others is good for the person who cares.

It is important for leaders or progress agents to focus not only on actions, but thoughts and feelings as well. An intense focus on feelings during a time of transformation in an organization is often described as the “human side of change management.” If there is a “human side” of business, then what other side is there? Most would say a company side—but this is the problem. Companies are formed by humans who are working in a team effort with other humans to get their wants and needs met. Progress agents who do not take into account the personal goals of individuals working for them are often left wondering where their plan went wrong.

Progress leadership means working to understand and communicate how a team member’s personal goals can dovetail with the organization’s goals and thus create true commitment that gets the team member to act—because he wants to, not because he has to. Progress leadership means striving to help others find meaning in their work.

Here are some quick action steps to help you excel at progress leadership:
• Focus on inspiring progress (rather than apologizing for change)
• Care and listen
• Get to know team members’ parameters for progress
• Help establish team member expectations
• Internalize but do not personalize
• Drink water
• Be passionate about your work
• Be passionate about your team
• Be passionate about your life
• Compliment with reason
• Smile with reason
• Get enough sleep
• Read good stuff
• Be patient

First published Aug. 13, 2018, on the Thought Leaders blog.


About The Author

Dean Lindsay’s picture

Dean Lindsay

Dean Lindsay is a graduate of the University of North Texas and served on the advisory board for UNT’s Department of Marketing and Logistics. He has helped build engaged sales leadership and customer service cultures at a variety of companies, such as New York Life, Gold’s Gym, and many more.



Hi Dean, i can't help but think this was written just to get people to bite. Change Management dead. No chance. It will never die. What will die however, is the term to describe it. You're term, Progress Leadership, is Change Management or Organisational Change. Everything you describe is ironically part of effective change management. Maybe you've been around people who have not applied effective change management.  

Change Management is Dead

Dean Lindsay:

Excellent article. If after so many cases of Change initiatives wrongly deployed and unsustainable people don't realize that Change Management is barely alive and something needs to be done differently then Houston you got a problem.... Some CM providers like Prosci acknowledge their approach donesn't work https://blog.prosci.com/defining-success-after-change-management-certification- Thanks for sharing

Is all change progress?

Playing the devil's-advocate... is this presuming that all change is progress?

Consequently, wouldn't this also require the change agent to justify the change and show that it leads to progress?

I'm questioning this because I've too often seen where "change" just becomes "change" and not an improvement.

Change can be good, change can be bad,,, and sometimes, change is just change.

The challenge is in ensuring the change-activity is not only accepted but can actually be shown to lead to progress/improvement.

Progress Managememnt

Seems like you've invented a new term to Change Management. Proper Change Mananagement includes all the elements you've l;isted.

Yes, you are right people basically may not want to change unless they see a benefit and and smooth way to achieve those benefits both personal and professionally! That is Change Management done right!