Point B: A Short Guide to Leading a Big Change by Peter Bregman provides, as its title suggests, a short guide to leading change.  Peters offers three (3) things that I find particularly helpful and he concisely points out important reminders about of change.  He writes that employees don’t always say what they mean; he offers 7 strategies for change and he provides an engagement continuum.   Peter writes:

in corporate environments emotion is often avoided in favor of a more acceptable intellectual response.  “I can’t do a performance review because I don’t have time with all my other priorities” is a lot easier and more accepted than “I am afraid to talk to my employees because I don’t really know how.”  For people to express fear, they have to be willing to make themselves vulnerable.  Without this willingness, real change cannot occur.  You have to create a safe environment in which people can be openly imperfect.  

This is one of those insights that people seem to “know” but forget all the time.  When you remind someone that people don’t always say what they mean, often the response is “of course, I know that” but if they did and had thought about it, you wouldn’t have had to remind them of it to begin with.

Peter also outlines 7 strategies to creating change

  1. Share the Story
  2. Keep Everything Simple
  3. Get It Half Right
  4. Integrate the Change
  5. Provide Ongoing Support
  6. Build in Feedback
  7. Use the Partner System

“Share the Storty” and “Get It Half Right” are my two favorites:  “Share the Story” because people learn and retain better when there is a story and “Get It Half Right” because it simultaneously says “do it” and “it will evolve.”  Both of which are critical concepts.

Peter also puts forth a Engagement Continuum that correlates various activities with the success in helping change.

  • Tell/Sell
  • Offer Help
  • Discuss
  • Solicit Input
  • Include in Decisions
  • Hand over Decisions
  • Support Ongoing Decision Making

This is a great way to conceptualize steps to employee engagement.

Throughout the book, there are sticky notes with reminders of key points.  The following are some of the key points:

  • People don’t resist change, they resist being changed
  • There are no perfect designs
  • Pretty deliverables delay change
  • Centralized control blocks ownership
  • If you are on top of all the details, then there aren’t enough details [I love this one]
  • Consistency is Only Important if it Helps Achieve Your Objectives
  • People “Own” What They Control
  • The program isn’t the point; the point of the program is the point
  • Any small change  you ask other people to make is a big change
  • Only change the things that are in the way

Peter provides much more detail around these concepts, including sharing his story of change.  I highly recommend Point B: A Short Guide to Leading a Big Change .