Volume 87, June 2008: Sustaining Change

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2008 ISSN # 1545-8873

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” — W. Edwards Deming

“Leaders are dealers in hope.” — Max DePree

“Hope is the thing – that perches in the soul – (a)nd never stops at all.” — Emily Dickinson

“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” — Arnold Bennett

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” — Maria Robinson


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Keeping the vision out front and ever-present.
  • Rekindling hope.
  • Providing an environment that allows momentum to gather.
  • Discouraging satisfaction with the status quo.
  • Facilitating organizational learning and collective thinking.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Why the emphasis on hope? Leaders have an obligation to maintain “momentum.” Propulsion is achieved through attachment to a dream – hope for a better future. Through a clear vision, a well-thought-out strategy to achieve the vision, and carefully conceived and communicated direction, leaders enable everyone to participate and be accountable for achieving the dream and sustaining change.

If you have lost momentum, dream together.

Frequently Asked Questions

“My group is worn out with changes, and I am reluctant to introduce new initiatives.”
I think we have indulged in too much frivolous change – copying others, following the fads, knee jerking to crises. To complicate matters, the first human reaction to any change is usually negative, a push-back, some resistance. The second reaction is a “creative” phase, where it is possible to frame the change as beneficial.
You cannot stop changing, for that will be the death of the organization. Focus on growth and nurturing your most important assets – the people. Second, keep the vision steadfast and the next few steps clear. Change becomes normal and healthy, not whimsical. When enough people become change-friendly, renewal of the organization is naturally continuous (Oakley & Krug, 1994).
“How do I lead people forward?”
There are Pull strategies and Push strategies. A Push strategy is like a law, a requirement, a threat, “turning up the heat.” A Pull strategy is more of a compelling vision, a desire, a feeling of growth. In either case, the advantages of changing, for an individual, have to outweigh the advantages of staying the same.
The beauty of a Pull is that it maintains creative tension – a compelling movement forward. Whereas, a Push, once removed, loses its motivating qualities. Pull links to desire – “I want to;” where Push means “I have to.” Which works better with you?
Are you:
  • Telling or asking?
  • Focusing on problems or shared vision/purpose?
  • Seeing limitations or possibilities?
  • Doing the job or continuously improving?
  • Pointing to what we can’t do or what we can?
“Our energy is flagging. How do we get pumped back up?”
It is natural for energy to ebb and flow. This site gave some helpful ideas: Sustaining Change.
Have your group list everything that has been accomplished since the start of "the change." Celebrate it! Cite the advantages of this way over the old way, and notice what it took to achieve it. (Pride.)
Then ask everyone to set their sights for a new future: concrete results they hope to accomplish for the next time period and small steps they can take to achieve those outcomes. Celebrate that! (Hope.)

Exercises and Action Items:

  • Create a vision of your desired future, as a group.
  • Celebrate short-term wins on your way to the vision.
  • Periodically stop, to take stock, and debrief what you have learned about your change(s).


Five tips for sustaining change: Five Tips for Sustaining Change.

Managing change – articles and videos: Managing Change – Resources.

Key Associates offers leadership training and keynote addresses on Managing Change. We also conduct Visioning Conferences for large groups. Contact us for more information.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

The 9E model on Driving Change: The Nine Essentials for the Change Journey (the 9Es©).

Some tips on change mastery: Change Mastery.

Keyzines on related topics: Change, Motivation, Organizational Culture, Personal Change, and Transformation.



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