Change Leaders: Why Should Anyone Trust Your Vision? John Kotter & Harvard Business Review

After reading the complete, updated post of this interview with Harvard professor emeritus & change thought leader John Kotter, I’m again reminded of the classic quote below:


A leader is most effective when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, his troops will feel they did it themselves. ~ Lao-tzu


Imagine if new, agile, market savvy change happened that way.

There are many trends about change management that I imagine Dr. Kotter has seen in his long career.  As I prepare for an Association of Change Management Practitioners conference next week, including editing new videos with change leaders, I wanted to share some of John Kotter’s materials here.  Below is a bulleted, simplified excerpt, that highlights some common assumptions about how leaders approach change.

John KotterJohn Kotter, photo by Deb Nystrom, ACMP conference
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Selecting a Coach: 10 Questions to Ask Your Prospective Coach

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What are good questions to ask a prospective coach?  I was interviewed by Terry Wisner, BlogTalk radio host recently on the subject.   

I covered the three “Cs” of coaching, also referred to as 3 core competencies of coaching.

Blog Talk Radio Interview

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Co-Creation in Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges & the Road to Commitment

Source:  Otto Sharmer and The Presencing Institute

The terms “letting go” and “letting come,” captured my imagination as Theory U arrived on scene several years ago.  The compelling nature of the U model visual added to its allure. 

The concepts that Theory U features are intended to help leaders and managers in the public and private sector break through unproductive patterns of behavior.  This includes breaking through barriers of ignoring their own staff and clients wisdom and other maladies that produce ineffective patterns of decision making.

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Entrepreneurial Success in Business, Professor Saras Saravathy and Effectuation

To understand innovation and entrepreneurship, listen to Saras Saravathy, Associate Professor – Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.  She speaks on how to be successful in business, starting  with “entrepreneurship is teachable.”  She has also been featured on TEDxMidAtlantic.

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Synchronicity! Meaning Making and Sense Making

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Summary: In this session we explored the science and application of synchronicity and other means of meaning making. What is the place of synchronicity in how we facilitate change and transition?  This session will explore how we help ourselves, and therefore help data from the field of existence emerge.  Theory U is a tool, a method and way of seeing and facilitating change, which invites data to emerge through shared meaning making helping co-create and sustain the change process.

What is Theory U?

Its originator, Otto Scharmer, says it is three things.  It is a:

1)  Framework describing a change process.

2) Method for effecting change personally and organizationally, in communities and globally.

3) Description of phenomena in the world – what is naturally happening.

Learning Goals:

Participants will be able to:

Define the concept of synchronicity

  • Identify C.G. Jung’s role in developing the principle
  • Understand how Theory U helps data to emerge
  • Engage groups to create shared meaning referencing Theory U
  • Understand how shared meaning influences change processes

Recommended Reading:

If the concept of synchronicity is unfamiliar, we highly recommend reading:

  • Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle by C.G. Jung or
  • The 7 Secrets of Synchornicity (Your Guide to Finding Meaning in Signs Big and Small) by Trish and Rob MacGregor

Here are the updated blog links to read more about what we covered in the session:

Co-Creation in Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges & the Road to Commitment | Reveln

Talking with Daryl Conner and Change Management Resources, Circa 2011

Change Leadership: Why Should Anyone Trust Your Vision? | John Kotter & Harvard Business Review

Visit the ODX Members Forum at for additional information and to become familiar with the subject.

This session was offered:  Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM  Plymouth, MI

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The Pervasive Talent Myths Meet FLOW, Using Your Strengths

Finding your core strength that fits YOU is key.
One size does NOT fit all!

I ran across an intriguing title today in the news entitled, “How to be Great: Rising Above the Talent Myth.” The you-can-be-anything citations are pervasive.  They create an economy of self-help seminars, books, academies, and certainly generate a lot of revenue in leadership coaching arenas.

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Write Your Business Plan in Pencil and consider a Vision Board

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In my case, I used a sheet of flipchart paper to list three major categories.  Then do a quick brainstorm to list all your present business work via post-it notes, or use a spreadsheet.   It is then easy to review your activities by grouping them in categories or simply the use the big three: strategic, tactical and operational.   

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Choosing a Consultant

Photo by John Guccione on

This article & excerpt could save you, literally millions, via my first-hand experience of some great consulting work as well as some less than ethical consultants out there.

…Beware the consultant who promises too much. It’s the flip side of the client making unrealistic demands.

Consultant contract sprawl, jargon & managing your relationship with your consultant are some key take aways from the excerpt below.

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Strategic Agility: Adapting to Now & Next

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one that is most adaptable to change.  ~ Charles Darwin

via CC by Corrado Dearca

Is strategic planning losing its seat at the table due to the need for speed?  There’s ample evidence that, no matter how much analysis and planning , strategic planning is inherently flawed, quickly out of date, and rendered ineffective due to slow and incomplete execution. 

A phrase that is gaining traction is strategic agility. For context, consider Wall Street Journal writers Joann Lublin and Dana Mattioli reports that current, recession-based business forecasts did not hold true.  Executives learned that strategic planning was more limited in effectiveness than before.

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Right Sizing Your Education Options

Aligning a Course of Study to your Ambitions

Guest post by Scott Wachtmann

by Schlüsselbein2007 CC Flickr
by Schlüsselbein2007 CC Flickr

Choosing a college is a big decision.  It seems to me that students who choose to pursue an education after high school often look at college as the only option in reaching that goal.  The truth is the decision to attend college should be a strategic choice made because it is the best path to reach one’s ambitions.

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