Don’t be a snob about managing change

November 17, 2009
145 Views

One of the most dangerous things you can do is think you’re different than everyone else. I have found that the best way to manage change is by asking for a lot of help. The question is, how do you know who to take advice from?

Here are three counter-intuitive principles I have used to figure out who to listen to when it comes to managing change:troll

  1. Be wary of the trolls. Seth Godin notes, “Trolls are critics who gain perverse pleasure in relentlessly tearing you and your ideas down.” I would add that trolls are critics who  can’t see beyond their four walls and any small perturbation in how they see the world triggers a tribal-like pounce.
  2. Listen to your critics (minus the trolls). I listen to my gut in terms of whose criticism to pay attention to. I start by checking their intention. Does the criticism come from a desire to improve—a place of caring?  Or does the criticism come from a self serving need to make themselves feel better? After I figure that out, I pay attention to the former. Peter Drucker’s famous “what to stop doing” question is important here. Sometimes change should fail because it stinks. As change leaders, we are not passive bystanders with our



One of the most dangerous things you can do is think you’re different than everyone else. I have found that the best way to manage change is by asking for a lot of help. The question is, how do you know who to take advice from?

Here are three counter-intuitive principles I have used to figure out who to listen to when it comes to managing change:troll

  1. Be wary of the trolls. Seth Godin notes, “Trolls are critics who gain perverse pleasure in relentlessly tearing you and your ideas down.” I would add that trolls are critics who  can’t see beyond their four walls and any small perturbation in how they see the world triggers a tribal-like pounce.
  2. Listen to your critics (minus the trolls). I listen to my gut in terms of whose criticism to pay attention to. I start by checking their intention. Does the criticism come from a desire to improve—a place of caring?  Or does the criticism come from a self serving need to make themselves feel better? After I figure that out, I pay attention to the former. Peter Drucker’s famous “what to stop doing” question is important here. Sometimes change should fail because it stinks. As change leaders, we are not passive bystanders with our only mission to follow a change management process. We are (or at least should be) critical thinkers that pay attention to criticism in terms of where it’s coming from and the intent.
  3. Be in touch with those in touch. More experience and big titles do not equate to better advice. When it comes to finding people to listen to, the most effective are the people who have the best memory of what it was like to be where you are today. A vice president that has been in their position for many year is not always in touch with what the workplace is like today. If your mentor is an executive that came from the “command and control” type workplace, they are not likely to be in a position to coach you on how to connect with Gen Y.  Connect with the connectors.