There is a bewildering array of change approaches in the market. My aim is not to add to them, rather to present a synthesis of what I have seen work in multiple contexts. People change – not organisations or groups. Individuals decide, they choose to behave or think differently and this occurring across multiple humans is what creates change on a macro scale. Hence our change efforts have to start with the people involved preferably before we look at technology or processes. 


Developing a change leadership practice for your people leaders starts with understanding where you are – what is the level of change readiness in your people leaders, where is your culture and what can you draw on to help the change and what are the elephants that may get in the way. Research with 130 digital leaders in Australia and New Zealand concluded that “the prominence of cultural issues as a critical barrier to transformation does not bode well for those professionals who are already grappling with an increasingly complex digital transformation agenda. The challenge is complicated if a cultural transformation roadmap with proper change management measures isn’t embedded in digital transformation projects from the start. Attempting to manage change once a transformation project has commenced is a recipe for failure.”[1] It is called digital disruption for a reason – your organisation will not and cannot be the same once you start down this path.


Resourcing support for your people as they go through change is critical – if we already had the capacity to behave differently and that would get us our reward sooner and easier we would. The fact 81% of organisations report some kind of resistance[2] should be startling. The reasons people resist are many, and all are valid. The challenge is to start where people are, explain why the change is required and help them move themselves towards the goal.  


McKinsey found that “for both successful and unsuccessful transformations, roughly two-thirds of respondents indicated that the single most significant factor influencing a transformation’s outcome is the degree of ownership and commitment of the organization’s leaders.”[3] Ownership and commitment is more than alignment and agreement. Whatever the change is, it has to be supported by those people in the organisation who are tasked with leading people, this is the key success factor in any change activity.


Below are the steps I take in developing a change program – whether we call it change, transformation, innovation or a pink unicorn. The journey is the same – work out where you are, where you are going and why, what exists in the organisation that will help and hinder and finally, what the timing will be for activities to support people to understand and embrace the new future.


  • Diagnose - evaluation of culture, change readiness, identification of inhibitors and amplifiers. 

  • Design a Change Program based on a fit for purpose change leadership practice approach

  • Align the Change Program with existing culture change, digital transformation, organisational development and people engagement activities  

  • Create a supporting structure – people, budget and deliverables

  • Plan a program of change activities

  • Tell the stories of the Change Program


If this approach is of interest or you have a problem that you think might be helped through this type of work, please make a time to have a chat with me. 


[2] PROSCI (2018) Managing resistance to change report

[3] McKinsey (2017) Secrets of successful change implementation



"The intention of cultural evolution is to enable individuals, collectives
and communities to live their highest potentials, making a positive and deeply humane contribution to their spheres of influence." 


How do your people and your structures need to be to support your preferred state in the future?


The Adaptive Cultures approach to developing organisations can thrive in a VUCA world is the best I have seen anywhere. I am honoured to be working with Alison Cameron and Andrew Brown to deliver this program into organisations across Australia and the world.


Their highly influential white paper outlines the journey that organisations can take to equip their people with the foundations required to support activity in a disrupted future. As we develop ourselves and our leadership in organisations, we must also develop our cultures.


In more recent times, research has emerged that suggests that both leaders and cultures need to continually evolve and develop, to create greater agility and adaptability in the face of a constantly changing world. At the core of this approach is intentionally developing the capacity of people...while the research has tended to follow an evolutionary path towards notions of constant adaptation, the actual practices in many organisations have failed to evolve. This has, in our view, hampered the development of effective organisations and suppressed the joy, vitality and potential of collectives and individuals. (Adaptive Cultures White Paper 2018)


The Adaptive Cultures approach to developing healthy and adaptive behaviours and work practices will transform your organisation. By starting where you are and then identifying your aspirational culture, we can bridge the gap using proven approaches.


As organisations focus more clearly on a compelling, authentic and altruistic purpose and enable people to be the best they can be, sustainable financial results become far more likely. (Adaptive Cultures White Paper 2018)


Using the Stages of Cultural Evolution framework, you can visualise the journey of evolution and cultural maturity. This tool will assist you to see where your organisation is on the journey, in order to recognise and face into adaptive challenges.


The Adaptive Cultures Framework enables leaders and culture practitioners to assess what culture is necessary to achieve their organisation's highest aspirations. The framework also helps identify the current stage of cultural evolution, which is a powerful indicator of an organisation’s capacity to adapt.


While many organisations espouse the need to build adaptive, sustainable cultures, the methods typically used are traditional change management methods that reinforce traditional cultures. More adaptive and agile methodologies, requiring significant organisational learning, are required to build more adaptive and agile cultures. This kind of cultural evolution, in our experience, is not only possible but can powerfully release the necessary energy for the organisation to create its desired future in service of its customers and world.


For cultural evolution to be sustainable and successful, it also requires an inner transformation of the organisation’s mindsets, beliefs and values. For organisational mindsets and beliefs to transform, so must the mindsets and beliefs of individual members of the organisation.




If you would like to have a conversation about this with me, please book a time below.