Framework 103 Leverage Change (8 Levers)


The aim of this framework is to understand change better so that faster, easier, better and desired results are achieved with maximum impact. This is done by

"...identifying the right changes to be made, with the right people, the right way - for your organisation..."

Jake Jacob, 2021


"...people struggle with change. They claim it is hard. It takes too long. Cost too much. And at the end of the day it is all too often disappointing..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Some general reactions to change can vary around  

    - don't understand why change is needed

    - knowing why it's needed, but don't know what to do to make it happen  

    - knowing what is needed to make change happen, but they just don't want to do it  

    - wanted it cascaded from the top or push up from the bottom  

    - knowing what is needed to make change happen and willing to become involved. 

Change covers everything from  

"...- developing and implementing new strategies and culture  

    - achieving successful mergers and acquisitions  

    - launching teams charged with challenging roles and responsibilities 

    - resolving conflicts between different parts of your organisation  

    - redesigning work

    - partnering in original ways with stakeholders

    - making any change needed for you to realise your preferred future..." 

Jake Jacob, 2021 

Four criteria for having a solid purpose to your change

i) results-orientated, not activity-based 

ii) involve all stakeholders, ie so everyone understands and energised by it  

iii) respond to your challenges and opportunities  

iv) is ennobling, ie believe in a greater cause 


A lever works like a fulcrum



"...leverage is the compound force gained by the use of a lever rotating on a fulcrum..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

It means with little, you can achieve much.

"...The essence of leverage: take smart, strategic actions and generate large, positive impact......Leverage means getting more done with less. Less resistance. Less time. Less wasted energy..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Leverage can provide the flexibility required. For example, sometimes you need to be directive, while at other times you need to be participating, etc. You, also, you need to be prepared for the unexpected, ie things will happen which are not part of the plan. Consequently, space to pause and reflect is advised to determine the future directions.

Leverage can be used in almost all situations, such as using a representative pilot run to demonstrate impact of changes for the whole organisation. The levers

"...are designed to be applied in any change, anywhere, at any time, and by anyone..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

As part of leverage, you need resources (money, people, time, etc), pivot point (includes clarity about your desired results, ie desired outcomes) and 'rightness' of your desired results.

"...leverage the wisdom, experience, and people in your organisation to achieve the results you desire..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Eight Levers (to handle)

i) Continuity (to handle change fatigue, resistance and anxiety created by too much change)

ii) Future is now (to handle change taking time, ie too long)

iii) Self-design (to handle lack of ownership/buy-in of the change process; 'Not invented Here' syndrome, ie not home-grown; use a pilot run)

iv) Create a shared database (to handle lack of available information to make good decisions)

v) Impact first, then energy (by initially focusing on areas that will have immediate, visible benefits)

vi) Owning the future (to handle WIIFM, ie what's in it for me)

vii) Making a meaningful difference (to handle people wanting to go beyond their routine work)

viii) Change is part of daily work (change as a core competency by making change is part of everyone's job)

More on the levers (some ways to handle)

1. Continuity (aim is to show that change and continuity can work together, ie ask people to explore how the organisation can continue on with its current successful business while making the changes required; change will not affect everything, ie many things will not be impacted and they will stay the same; to demonstrate continuity, make 2 lists, ie what is going to change and what is not going change; need to highlight what is not going to change. This is sometimes called paradoxical change, ie having a dual focus on continuity and change. This means you have a mindset of continuity and change, not continuity or change, ie focus on 'and', not 'or'. Those stuck in the 'or' mindset get into futile arguments about the right and wrong of the differing perspectives. Paradoxical change involves polarity thinking, ie

"...polarities are opposites that need each other over time to succeed..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Like breathing that requires inhaling and exhaling. Some examples include

- individual business units' success vs the entire organisation's benefit

- centralising shared services for efficiencies vs decentralising them to get closer to the customer

- short-term profit and survival today vs long-term potential

- focus on operations vs customers

Another example is the leveraging polarity between public safety and public trust for the Police Department and the community. Public safety is defined

" a combination of effective policing, government services and resident involvement that creates a safe, secure and liveable city..."

Jake Jacobs, 2021

The term public trust refers

"...A deep belief that police officers, those in government services, and residents will treat each other with fairness, equity, dignity, and respect and will act in the interest of one another's and the collective well-being..."

Jake Jacobs, 2021

One aim is to transform your greatest resistors into the staunchest allies. This means listening to the resistors as they may have good ideas, ie they could be highlighting challenges in your change process that need addressing and/or are unknown to you. This is different from the normal approaches of ignoring them and/or hoping that will go away and/or putting pressure on them to conform with the change. You need to

"...rethink what these resistors have to offer. In many cases, they highlight basic traps that you have overlooked in your excitement to move forward. Within polarity paradigm, there is wisdom in resistance.....It's a point of view that you need to include..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

NB Need to be willing to challenge your existing assumptions about change. Paradoxical change highlights the wisdom in all perspectives. There is therefore a need to listen so that everyone gets a better appreciation of each other's points of view and their thinking in supporting that point of view, eg assumptions. Need to be careful that hierarchical and/or majority power does not dominate.

Some key success indicators:

- previous resistors, troublemakers, etc are celebrated as valued contributors, ie make friends with the troublemakers

- other polarities are identified and included

- people feel that they have ownership of change, ie not pushed into it- best past and present practices included

- change/continuity are regarded as one

In summary, this lever ensures that

i) effective things of the past and present that will help you achieve the desired future are identified and valued. Some examples might include teams that work together successfully, effective tools and techniques, other stakeholders, like suppliers, customers, bureaucrats, etc that have partner successfully with you, etc

"...what you continue on from the past will have as much impact on your future success as what you decide to change..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

ii) everyone is valued for their unique perspective, ie people are neither 'right' nor 'wrong' and everyone brings wisdom to the discussion; see resistors as valuable contributors, not troublemakers

iii) the organisation works as one team, ie not 'us' vs. 'them'; focus all energy what is best for the organisation.)

2. Future is now (too often you think about the future as happening later, not now, ie the future is something you have to wait for; however, you need to think and act as if the future is happening now, ie live tomorrow, today; don't separate the future from the present, ie bring the future into the present; envisage what you want and begin to behave as if you already have it, ie think and act as if the future is now; bring the future up-stream; go beyond planning to implementation; include those involved in implementing so they become active participants in the planning, ie expand your team of change agents; the larger the team, the more momentum generated; you need to be clear about your preferred, shared future; it becomes something you create rather than something that happens to you, ie

"...what can you do today to make any aspect of your desired changes real..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

To handle the low 'believability index' (people don't believe it will happen) and 'show me' attitude (wait to see what will happen), there needs to be immediate action, eg use pilot runs, continuous improvement (small steps), rapid prototyping, ie

"...creating a rough-cut version of the change you desire. Then you test it and get feedback. Quickly revise and approve it. Test it again, gather more feedback, and repeat the cycle until you're satisfied with your results..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Need to be careful about the impact of unclear roles, poor allocation of resources, people inadvertently working at cross purposes, indifferent effort, etc

Some key success indicators:

- people embracing the new paradigm ie they believe in it

- envisioning a winning future, ie one you and others want

- people being willing to implement the future now, ie get alignment through conversation, actions, etc; appreciate similarities and differences; speed of change increases

- a culture of 'fail fast, learn and improve', ie failure is a learning experience; don't be risk averse, ie be willing to experiment

- change becomes more about action and less about words, ie with this new attitude, better, faster decision-making, etc can occur

- stakeholders' expectations increase, ie people want new skills and knowledge; collaboration increases, eg more cross functional, multi-disciplinary involvement with improved communications (formal and informal); there is less cynicism and suspicion, with more momentum and positivity; energy levels increase, ie people get excited, more motivated, etc; the line between planning and implementation blurs

"... Planning gives you a rough road map with which to begin your journey. Implementation gives you the opportunity to test assumptions and make real-time course corrections..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- widely communicate lessons learnt

"...Unshared learning leads to repeated mistakes..."

Jake Jacob, 2021


"...You won't get the future right the first time, every time. Become comfortable with close misses and larger gaffes alike..."

Jake Jacob, 2021)

3. Self-design (as each organisation is unique, you need to be in charge of your own destiny; this vibe increases stakeholders' ownership/buy-in/participation/involvement/commitment, etc; each stakeholder's input is valued; involves creativity, ie co-creating; need to have maximum flexibility; there are many frameworks, approaches, concepts, etc that

"...exist to guide you through the change efforts. Don't feel trapped following somebody else's recipe for success. At the same time, don't ignore them. Adopt and adapt what works for warns you against adopting approaches without considering how suitable they are to your organisation's culture, strengths, and weaknesses ..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Remember: You own what you create and you resist what is forced on you by others.

No 2 change efforts at the same; they are all unique and different.

Some key success indicators:

    - ownership by relevant stakeholders, eg co-creating results in buy-in, etc; better understanding of what is required in the change process; people learn as they go along, eg learn from past experiences with change; encourage diversity of thought and creativity, etc

"...secrets for addressing today's challenges can be found in yesterday's successes and failures. Take the time needed to understand not only what happened but also why. Look for clues beyond the obvious..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

    - the approach fits your needs, ie fits your culture, values, vision, purpose, mission, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, etc

"'re more likely to win the game of change when you're the one making the rules......focus on the work that needs to be done......Define and redefine the scope of your change effort based on what you have learnt as you progress..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

    - develop an  appropriate, understandable roadmap based on current realities, purpose and outcomes, eg build on past practices that worked, explore new ideas, establish work teams, encourage face-to-face meetings, analyse facts, ask questions, treat everyone equally, etc; maintain flexibility; continually monitor and evaluate performance, ie revisit, review and refine By asking these questions;

"...- Have we made the progress we anticipated?

    - Are we ahead of schedule or behind? Why or why not?

    - Is what we are asking of people realistic and achievables?

    - Will the support we need from people lead to their having too much on their plates..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

NB The goal is a shared picture, not necessarily the same picture; your current realities shape your purpose and outcomes; people's perspectives are shaped by their experiences and this can lead to differing points of view; need to understand the reasons underlying them. To get connection, you need to speak to the audience's hopes, desires and dreams;

"...this is not about pushing your agenda through the organisation. It's about engaging people in conversations that can be proud of your work - just don't protect it from improvements others think are needed..."

Jake Jacob, 2021)

4. Create a shared, common database (the more informed and aligned the organisation is, the better the chance of success; information is the key to people understanding what, how, why, etc is trying to be accomplished; the more the information is shared, the more powerful and valuable it becomes; better access to the right, needed information results in better, smarter, more considered decisions; best to err on the side of disclosing too much information, ie allow information to be free-flowing up, down and across the organisation; create a culture of learning that by conversations, processes, systems, structures, etc

It is essential

" burst the paradigm in which information represents power for a few..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Some key success indicators:

    - everybody realises the need for change (despite people having their own perspective, there is a shared recognition of the need to change; creates alignment, ie integrated views)

    - everybody is making better decisions (better quality of conclusions and decision-making from having access to shared information from both internal and external sources, ie 'free and open' flow of information

"...Debates about right and wrong get replaced by conversations about what makes the most sense......Choices and plans of action reached are based on solid logic, not just the prerogative of the most powerful person in the room..."

Jake Jacob, 2021)

    - increased strategic thinking (people willing to challenge the status quo and long-held assumptions; realising and analysing the uncertain nature of the future; reviewing external events that could impact the organisation; explore alternative scenarios and assess their probabilities, etc)

    - evolving into a learning organisation (people understand 'why' as well as the 'what'; increase in organisational intelligence, ie stakeholders understand how the organisation operates, including understanding why things work the way they do; mistakes become learning experiences rather than opportunities to blame scapegoats; increasing curiosity and creativity; learning is only as good as the information it is based on; need to put in place structures, systems, processes, etc that support the learning process, ie exchange of information; encourage people to experiment with trial and error, ie exploring, testing, learning, and retesting, etc

    - more mutual understanding, inquiry and advocacy, ie respect and understand others' point of view, especially when based on the same information; freedom to share differing thoughts; becoming more comfortable in tolerating ambiguity, uncertainty and even confusion; as new information comes to hand, modify the database; with a reduction in defensiveness, ie your point of view is right and they are wrong or 'my way or the highway'; understand and be curious about the assumptions behind each point of view; move beyond 'I think, you think' debates

"...actions are taken based on strongest logic......that logic has been well vetted by those charged with implementing those actions..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

    - healthier conversations (invite participants to ask questions, so that the answers will help them ask better questions, etc)

    - reduction in silos (moving away from the attitude of 'you stick to your job, I'll stick to mine'; people know what's going on in other parts of the organisation, ie they become active participants; planning and implementation are no longer done in isolation; developing a more integrated, complete view; people educating each other; realising that different realities exist in different parts of the organisation, eg operations, corporate, sales, HR, etc)

    - emotions are monitored, ie people's feelings (subjective realm) are seen as just as important as the facts)

"...Are people excited about changes you're making or afraid of them? Are they confident or concerned?..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Some questions to focus on:

"...What impact did your decisions have on others? How did you measure success? What kinds of resources were needed? What was most exciting, and where were you frustrated?

Jake Jacob, 2021)

5. Impact first, then energy (identify opportunities for immediate, visible impact based around stakeholders' readiness, needs and desires, and focus on them, ie greatest, immediate impact; a misconception that change must start from the top of the organisation and cascade down or 'bottom-up', ie it can start from the grassroots; senior management have 4 options, ie lead, support, allow or block

It is best to

"...Work where you can. Work where progress is most needed. Work where you'll open doors to advances that will make a big difference. Maybe it makes sense to go where it'll be less costly. Or where you can easily build momentum. Pay attention to the work that wants to happen......You can begin in the middle, top, bottom, side, centre of an organisation..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Start that change where it is the easiest. Best to show some early, visible wins to encourage change supporters and 'fence sitters', and to convert the resistors.Sometimes the greatest resistors can be converted to change champions, if handled correctly. Other factors which influence where to start are where is the greatest strategic value, highest impact, best return on investment, ie least cost, where there is maximum support for the change, etc.

Some questions to help with this lever  

"...- Who might be quiet leaders in the organisation you may not have been noticed before?

     - Who could be strong followers providing needed energy along the way?

    - What's worked so far that you want to capitalise on going forward?  

    - What do you want to avoid in future?..."   

Jake Jacob, 2021

Follow the path

"...what makes sense given the realities you're facing, not by some lock-step plan of working level by level through the hierarchy......If you can let go of your preconceived plans, you'll be able to follow people's motivation, excitement, and desire for action, which will guide you along the way..." 

Jake Jacob, 2021

Some threats to success with this lever:

- not understanding the pulse the organisation, ie have a good understanding of what's happening in the organisation by having many conversations with different stakeholders; be careful of people who are telling you what they think you want to hear; create the non-threatening environment for authentic conversation; understand why people feel the way they do.

- not being flexible enough, ie not willing to deviate from the accepted plan; need to be willing to modify plans to handle new realities, eg new opportunities, challenges, etc; continually test assumptions, expectations, etc; leaders need to be part of the team in the change, not dominate it; some useful questions

"...- Where are we achieving our desired results?

    - Where did we expect to be at this time?

    - What level of understanding, clarity, and commitment do we expect to have at this point in the process, and are we there?..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- not achieving the required balanced between optimistic opportunism and planning, ie some questions to help:

    i) Are you discovering unexpected chances to build momentum by capturing wins that have previously gone unnoticed?

    ii) Are newly discovered allies helping by adding energy to make work easier to complete?

    iii) Are you taking advantage of synergies between different initiatives that are having a multiplier effect?

    iv) Are you being more proactive, ie identifying challenges in advance and no longer being reactive, ie fixing problems, mistakes, etc after the event?

- allowing your agenda to dominate, ie

"...Don't let your own well-considered plans get in the way..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Be open to exploring alternatives

- unable to explain 'what' you have done and 'why' you've done it, ie need to have clarity and be coherent, like

" able to describe your thinking and rationale in plain terms that are easily understood..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- 'pushing' change rather than 'pulling' change through the organisation, ie sometimes you need to go with the 'flow', eg the energy of the organisation and staff; positive energy is contagious with encouragement replacing criticism, etc; too much negative energy, eg complacency, apathy, etc can cause problems

Some key success indicators

- resistors are converted to supporters of the change

- all parts of the organisation are working on the change together (multiple initiatives are in play, etc; sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised about who you're working with and on what)

- flexibility, ie a changing organisation does not follow a straight line, it deviates and shifts as you discover new opportunities, realities, etc as you are working towards your goals; exploring different scenarios along the way

"...The goal is to make informed decisions about the most promising directions to pursue......Take the time to also identify the unexpected consequences of different routes. Don't get trapped with only one way forward. Come up with options..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- rumour mill is replaced by informal connections and conversations, ie more constructive conversations.)

6. Owning the future (maximise commitment with key stakeholders' involvement; WIIFM (What's In It For Me), ie looking after yourself, eg what are the benefits and costs for me, what am you expected to do and get out of it; what might be acceptable for one person can be unpalatable to another, eg some people are motivated by safety and security, others by opportunities for advancement and adventure, etc; each person needs to value the new future for themselves personally, ie they want to be part of it and know where they fit; each person needs to feel valued and important; there is strength in numbers, ie the more people are excited about the future they are creating, the more they will engage in creating it; building on the best of the past and present to handle the future;

The helpful questions:

- How can you make this future real with your current capabilities, or do you need to buy or develop other capabilities?

- Are you going to engage staff or leave them wanting?

- Is it the future that you want to create?

- Does the future fit with the organisation's vision, mission and values? )

"...When you get the future right for everyone, people care about it to make sure that it is not only achieved but also preserved. Pride in the future taps into a deep well of emotion..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Some key success indicators

- collaborators identify as partners in the creation of the future, ie develop a shared commitment to a common cause by becoming a valued member of the team; treat people as human beings (connect before content); develop meaningful, authentic relationships where different points of view are welcome; be less judgemental and protectionism; more 'win-win, less 'win-lose'; fewer 'I' statements, more 'we' propositions; less defensive, ie

"...'how can we make this work for everyone?' instead of 'how can we ensure that our rights are not violated?'......The game changes. You're no longer looking out for number 1. Everyone is looking out for is an 'all win'..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- people develop perseverance and resilience, ie change is not easy, there will be many 'ups and downs'


"... When things get tough, people often protect their own interests more than they try to advance the common good..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- increases in creativity, eg new and different ideas are exposed and explored

- increase in experimentation, ie encourage trial and error; mistakes are learning experiences; don't take things personally; immediately implement worthwhile, new ideas)

- self-esteem and enthusiasm grows, ie people are keen to work together on a common cause; building bridges between silos that previously got in the way; teams no longer working at cross purposes.)

7. Making a meaningful difference (working on common good, purpose, etc is exciting and different when compared with the daily routine most staff work on; tap into people's passions;

"...Change can be overwhelming for some. They can feel as though they're losing control. The future can be an unpredictable place. Unless you're in the thick of creating......People trade their fears of the unknown for the excitement of being part of something larger than themselves..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Asking people to go beyond their daily routine, to make a difference and to contribute their unique expertise to do something meaningful is a powerful driving force.

Some key success indicators:

- people step-up to the opportunity, ie conduct work that impacts the organisation's future


"... how you choose who makes a decision can be just as important as what is decided..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- each task and role is clearly defined to reduce misunderstandings, ie misunderstandings will undermine trust

" need to be clear upfront about when, where, why, and how people will be making a difference in change work..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- the right people doing the right work, ie people who want to make a difference for the whole organisation, not just their group or themselves. To help with this, ask the following questions

"...- Who has the information, expertise, and experience to best do this work?

    - Who needs to be engaged so that implementation issues are raised and resolved early in the process?

    - Are there people who will see opportunities or traps that others might be prone to miss?

    - Whose support are you going to need down the line to ensure that change may last a long time?..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Could need to recruit to get the right people.

"...what's most important is to ensure that each person in your organisation has their best opportunity to make a meaningful difference..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

People's preferences fall into the following 4 categories:

    i) past practice (the way it's always been done around here)

    ii) current competence (you know how to do things this way)

    iii) future success (this will be the easiest way to get job done)

    iv) best way (by experience, experimentation, etc you find the best way)

"...asking people what they want may lead to answers that are different from what you expected..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- the larger the number of committed members, the greater the likelihood of success, ie need to be aware of different ways of thinking about control and influence

"...direction and participation gives you 2 choices about how to allocate power and influence. Find creative ways to combine the two......It is about balancing the needs of these two dynamics the time..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- importance of diversity of views by mixing up team membership, eg put frontline workers in senior management teams, and vice versa, etc

"...they'll bring fresh perspectives, naive questions, and insights that otherwise would be missed if you stick with traditional approaches..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Don't let your ego and/or your own agenda dominate. Aim for alignment between what matters to you, your colleagues and organisation.

- development of a shared action plan, ie what, how, why, where and when

- increase in alignment, ie between what matters to you, your colleagues and organisation; more acceptance when the approaches are fair and based on objective criteria.

"'ll be better able to appreciate what others are willing to let go of in order to hold on to something that they value more..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- increase in motivation to be involved, ie staff enjoy doing the work and developing knowledge, skills and abilities that are relevant to the work; keen to be involved; people are willing to be challenged, stretch themselves and grow in the process; people are valued for their contribution

- work is done well, ie high-quality work is done on time and within budgets

"...there is broad-based agreement that the right work is being done. You've struck the right balance contributions. When information is needed, it's available. When people are needed to do work, they are eager to begin. When there are important questions that need to be answered, healthy conversations ensue. The right people are around the table..."

Jake Jacob, 2021)

Aim for alignment between what matters to you, your colleagues and organisation.) 

8. Change becomes part of daily work (change is a core competency; making small changes on a continuous basis (kaizen); change becomes part of the purpose of the organisation, ie it is a part of every stakeholder's job description, ie

"...It is on everyone's agenda, every day..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

It requires both mindset and behaviourial changes, which are epitomised by phrases such as 'work smarter, not harder' and 'do more with less'.

For this to be successful, you need to have suitable support including resources, ie how can you be helpful, etc.

Some key success indicators;

- everybody is working on change every day, ie part of everyone's job description

- resistance decreases, ie as people have greater influence and control over changes, there is less resistance

- implementation is more effective, ie people know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why; people have a shared, common goal that is about the future, with people understanding the objective and having confidence in it.

- there is alignment around goals, strategy, culture, business processes, etc

- decision-makers are better informed in real time, ie all information is shared; everyone is able to contribute, all the time

- increasing creativity and innovation, ie improvement ideas become part of the daily conversation

" yesterday's approach to work still good enough today, or can it be better?..."

Jake Jacob, 2021)


Change is no longer thought of as something special. It is part of the daily work routine, ie belongs to, and is the responsibility of everyone, not just the specialists, senior managers, consultants, etc.

Change and daily work are integrated by 'and' (complement each other), not 'or' (not a choice). It's about how you frame it.

It is a sustainable process that requires a mindset of continuous improvement, ie never satisfied what you have achieved, always striving to find a better way to give you a competitive advantage.

Intention that needs to be backed up with action(s) which is/are continuously reviewed for improvements.

The 8 levers can be regarded as core competencies.

How to use leverage

"...the most straightforward way to use the levers? Identify the common problem you're facing. Select your lever. Apply it. Solve the problem......Leverage is not found in pushing hard, arguing louder, or holding onto your position longer..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Select lever that you like and which you think will have the most immediate, powerful impact.

There is a paradox:

"...the more levers you pull, the greater the leverage you have..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Need to tailor-make how you handle change to suit your unique reality, ie there is no one universal way that will work in all situations.

Questions to help understand the levers

"...- Which levers will be the easiest for you to use and why?

    - Which levers may be the most challenging to apply and why?

    - Which levers are already part of your organisation, your team, or you have always thought and actions? What are some examples of how you're applied these levers in the past? What difference did they make?

    - Which levers have you learned to apply from past change work? Why were these levers needed, and how were they applied? What value did they add?

    - Which levers have you never applied before? Identify a change you've worked on in the past. What impact could you have been achieved by applying one or more of the levers?..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

Some questions to help you apply the levers

- What are the most significant problems being experienced now by your organisation/teams/individuals?

- Which lever(s) will give you the biggest leg-up in achieving faster, easier and better results?

- What are the success factors for each lever that are already in place in your situation and any that are missing?

- How can we best apply the lever(s), ie what actions can you take in line with the levers you've selected?

- Who can support your efforts?

Indicators that show the change has been successful:

- better able to achieve your organisation's purpose, vision, mission, etc, ie test them for alignment with the work you being done

- more clarity about the beliefs and values that guide your daily decisions, ie

"...Every action you take ought to be in line with your core beliefs and values, or you should not be taking it..."

Jake Jacob, 2021

- employer of choice, ie people want to work with you and your organisation

- better satisfying the needs of your stakeholders, especially customers and staff, ie explore ways of serving them better

- acceptance that change is a continuous process, ie while changing, need to learn how to keep changing so that you have a competitive advantage.

Some suggestions

- know your reality, ie understand the reasons for what is working and what is not working, etc

- be prepared to look at things differently, ie experiment with different ways of doing things

- go beyond the numbers (financial and technical), ie understand

    i) people's feelings, eg trust, motivation, empowerment, accountability, relationships, alignment, etc

    ii) what you see, eg improved collaboration, teamwork, etc

   iii) what you hear, ie feedback from formal and informal sources, communications, etc

- present the picture of the future as clear, comprehensive, real and compelling, ie think big and challenge everyone

- continually review your processes, practices and people, ie are they suitable for what you are trying to achieve?

- maximise stakeholder co-creation and co-implementation of the change, ie maximise engagement; encourage partnerships, etc

- use HARD goals rather than SMART goals, ie HARD refers to Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult; SMART refers to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound

- 'don't work harder, work smarter', ie be creative

- 'do more with less', ie use leverage to have a greater impact

- be confident with risk, ie cannot always be certain of outcomes, be willing to experiment with the levers, be creative, etc

Common problems with the levers that address them plus tips and advice with some actions


Common Problem Levers That Address It Tips And Advice Some Actions To Implement
There is too much change Pay attention to continuity


(Champion continuity. You will soon celebrate successful change)

- adopt a paradoxical point of view about change and understanding polarity


- appreciate there is wisdom in resistance

- listen to the minority and less powerful

- resistors are valued contributors, not troublemakers

- appreciate that everybody is in the same team

- identify ways that need to stay the same in the future and the risk of allowing them to change


- identify elements of how you have successfully changed in the past that need to be part of the current approach

- recall aspects of the last change effort that were unsuccessful and keep them out

Change takes too long Think and act as if the future were now!


(Don't wait for your future. Live in today!)

- embrace the new paradigms


- envision a winning future

- everybody to ask the question, 'how would we approach the preferred future?'

- fail fast, learn and improve

- widely communicate lessons learned

- identify new behaviours to demonstrate that the change is real


- talk with, and support, people who will be impacted by the change and asked them for ideas about 'living the future now'

- bring forward ideas to implement now

- from key stakeholders ask for ideas to accelerate the pace of change

People reject your change approach because it's 'Not Invented Here' Design it yourself


(Plan your change work for your unique organisation)

- get the right people involved from the start


- learn from your organisation's past experiences with change

- understand the challenges

- use creativity to expand your knowledge

- define a clear purpose and outcomes (including a roadmap)

- continually review your progress

- asked 'why' 5 times to identify the deeper purpose of your work; check your answers with other stakeholders


- identify and test any assumptions you are making in the change

- reflect on the list of desired outcomes around 4 categories, ie count, see, hear and feel

People don't know enough to make good decisions Create a common database


(Share information and alignment will follow)

- include both internal and external sources of information


- pay attention to both facts and feelings (emotions)

- develop processes to sustain learning

- use inquiry and advocacy to communicate effectively

- pay attention to different perspectives on the same information

- what information is needed to make your change work? How do you get it? Who needs it and how it is best shared?


- schedule regular project meetings to discuss key problems and their underlying patterns

All change efforts must begin at/from the top Start with impact, follow the energy


(Make your biggest impact. Energy will guide you forward)

- understand the pulse of the organisation


- do work that needs to be done, whether planned or unplanned

- ensure key stakeholders trust the process

- be opportunistic

- don't let your own agenda dominate

- talk with 'resistors' on how to improve change


- for each step in your change process create a list of pluses and minuses of each step

- identify areas of positive or negative energy and find ways to improve

- identify and implement steps that might surprise people and will help your cause

So many ask 'what's in it for me' Develop a future people will want to call their own


(Create a compelling future and people will make it real)

- recruit collaborators for the ideal future


- encourage shared engagement

- be resilient and persevere

- explore alternative perspectives

- regard mistakes as learning experiences

- identify and recruit to the change, the informal leaders/ gatekeepers, etc needed for success


- check with a range of stakeholders what successful impact of the change would look like them

- identify stakeholders who will be challenged by the change and explore ways to alleviate their concerns

People get to do only the routine work of their regular job Find opportunities for people to make a meaningful difference


(People want to make a big difference. Help them do so)

- encourage people to find ways to make a difference to the organisation and everyone


- get agreement from key decision-makers on meaningful differences

- find new ways to involve people

- don't let egos dominate

- brainstorm a list that could go wrong and develop plans to handle them


- asked stakeholders of their opinion on what a meaningful contribution looks like and help them implement it

- determine gaps in your expertise and find appropriate help

People's plates are already full Make change work part of daily work


(consider change is everybody's job, every day)

- make explicit the expectations that change is everybody's job


- coordinate around common, shared goals

- define clear measures of success

- ensure maximum involvement of different stakeholders

- check that stakeholders have the capability to handle the changes

- identify areas of change that can be made part your daily works schedule


- review work schedules to determine suitability of what you are doing and prioritise them

(source: Jake Jacob, 2021)


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