Daryl Conner

February 19, 2013

The Practitioner’s Journey: Departure

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In this series, I’m using Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” to relate some specific implications of the hero archetype to the path many seasoned change practitioners follow as they come to terms with how they work with clients. In this post, I introduce Sara, a change practitioner, as the protagonist who first struggles to break out of her perfunctory role, but who eventually earns her standing as a hero.

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August 21, 2012

The Four Kinds of Burning Platforms

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Contrary to how some people relate to the term “burning platform,” I don’t see it as a story of disaster. To me it’s a tale of courage and tenacity that illustrates the commitment necessary to face the risk and uncertainty inherent in departing from the current state of affairs.
I never intended to give the impression that an emergency was always necessary to motivate sustained major change. If one word is associated with the story, I would prefer it be resolve rather than peril. People don’t have to face a life-threatening situation or organizational insolvency in order to support fundamental change. I’ll say more about that in this post.

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June 5, 2012

What to Stop or Avoid During Ongoing Turbulence

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I have been talking in this series about how to respond to a client who wants you to give him or her a big-picture view of what the organization will have to address to fully realize the goals of a large change initiative. In my first post, I shared some suggestions for answering the question, “What is a realistic set of expectations I should have about embarking on this change?” In the second post, I began answering a second question: “Can you give me some general DOs and DON’Ts that will likely apply to what we’re facing?” In this final post, I’ll finish answering that question.

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May 29, 2012

The DOs and DON’T’s of Dealing With Ongoing Turbulence

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In this series, I am talking about how to respond to a client who wants you to give him or her a straightforward, broad perspective of what an organization will have to do to fully realize the goals of a large change initiative. In my last post, I shared some suggestions for answering the question, “What is a realistic set of expectations I should have about embarking on this change?” In this post and the next, I’ll share my answer to a second question: “Can you give me some general DOs and DON’Ts that will likely apply to what we’re facing?” I also include a list of some of the issues I raise when executives ask how they can best withstand the pressures of ongoing change.

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March 13, 2012

Assessing Leaders for Change Roles

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From time to time, both internal and external change practitioners are asked to help select key leaders who will have critical roles as an organization embarks on a vital transition. Unfortunately, many practitioners don’t give enough thought to what might be included in a change leader’s selection criteria. They toss something together quickly or access a generic list someone else has published that doesn’t take into account the particulars of the organization, the demands of the changes at hand, and the personalities involved. Leader appointment is an important aspect of change success and, as professional change facilitators, we are obligated to be as prepared as possible when asked to participate in the selection process.

In this series, I will share an extensive list of criteria I consider when asked to provide parameters for change-related leader selection.

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February 21, 2012

Helping Clients Through the Deep Emotions of Change

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Serving as a professional change facilitator is challenging under any circumstances but this is especially true when attending to people in the midst of deeply emotional, or cathartic, breakthroughs. The intense struggle associated with trying to hold on to the status quo, the anxiety of letting go, and then the difficulties of opening up to new possibilities generates extremely profound emotions that we must be prepared to recognize and respond to properly.

In this post, I include an extensive list of ways we can help others in their emotional journeys.

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October 11, 2011

Guest Interview—Mel Toomey

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Mel is one of the few change practitioners who can honestly measure his contribution to our field in decades, but the extensive time he’s devoted to understanding the dynamics of change pales when compared to what he has learned and passed on to countless others. His insights and perspectives go far beyond knowledge of concepts and techniques—he is a source of true wisdom.

The first time I heard Mel speak, I found his views on leadership and change to be penetrating, challenging, and compelling. Over the years, he has been an important resource for my development and it’s an honor to have this opportunity to introduce him to those who might not be familiar with his work.

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