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STOP Asking for Buy-in and START Leading Change with Bee-in

Fear. Frustration. Anger. These and other emotions often are engendered whenever organizational leaders announce the newest change initiative and ask for buy-in. The emotions flow from being excluded from the discussion and decision as organizational change is often not a choice for employees and they typically expect little benefit and potentially much loss from the change.


The resulting success rate for change initiatives might be easy to understand in this light. Decade after decade, research reports that change initiatives fail to achieve desired goals 60% to 90% of the time. Put differently using a baseball analogy, the batting average of success is about 0.250. This research also shows that the failure rate and batting average has been about the same for decades. These statistics explain why successfully leading change is the test of leadership:  mainly because failure is the norm. Thus, for leaders as well as their organizations, the critical question is, “What can be done to double or even triple that batting average of success?” 


This program introduces a novel approach to leading change that surprisingly can triple the expected success rate to a 0.750 batting average or even higher.  The approach, called “Leading at the Crossroads of Change,” has been used to successfully lead change in some of the most challenging of circumstances—mid-level leaders in government. With an extraordinary success rate for those leading change from middle, the Leading at the Crossroads of Change methodology delivers desired outcomes while simultaneously building a positive and collaborative organizational culture. In essence, mastery of this methodology can transform leadership ability.


The program begins by describing how most change methodologies implicitly assume that a change leader is at the apex of an organization with attendant resources and decision rights. For some methods, the assumption is that the change leader is located at the bottom of the organization working on small changes. These methods can be successful in some circumstances for specific kinds of change. 


Yet, most change initiatives are driven by mid-level leaders who don’t have the full range of resources and authorities needed to direct the desired changes. Without a method designed for the middle, cajoling, directing, and pushing often are default strategies and they accomplish little except to build resistance and trigger push back.


Three elements comprise the Leading at the Crossroads of Change methodology. The first element begins by discovering all relevant stakeholders. These stakeholders are categorized in to one of four groupings with no stakeholder allowed to be in more than one group. These categories then become the central focus of the next element.

The second element offers a set of Communications, Strategies, Tactics, and the Sequencing of these components (referred to at CoSTS) specifically tailored to each group of stakeholders. The CoSTS are designed to gain agreement and commitment of those directly involved in the change initiative, create sufficient value for those effected by the change, and gain the support of those who could derail the initiative. The four CoSTS, one for each stakeholder category, are referred to as Agree-in, Bee-in, Buy-in, and Allow-in with Bee-in representing the heart of the approach. The third element recognizes that those who feel disrespected, envy, anger, or fear will not support the change initiative and may even actively work to arrest its progress. Therefore, Leading at the Crossroads of Change offers specific ways to build and maintain relationships and avoid triggering these emotions. As a backup, the method also discusses how to repair relationships if emotions are triggered so that the change initiative can continue and be successful. 

Mastery of Leading at the Crossroads of Change can help every leader transform their chances of passing the test of leadership. 


Typical Program Schedule


Day 1:  (2-hours)  Content delivery

Day 2:  (2-hours)  Content delivery

Day 3:  (2-hours)  Optional consulting experience

Day 16: (1-hour)  First EPC meeting, one for each team

Day 30: (1-hour)  Second EPC meeting, one for each team

Day 44: (1-hour)  First meeting of micro-learning community peer coaching meetings

Day 60: (1/2-hour)  Learning reflection and assessment meetings, one for each team

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