Unless you’ve been living on another planet, the past few years have shown that we’re in a time of unimagined and unrelenting change—and we’re not very good at it. According to McKinsey & Company, an alarming 70% of all change initiatives fail, largely because we’re biologically hardwired to return to what’s worked for us before. But to create the future we hope for (and cope with the here and now), we need to embrace the very thing we’re wired to avoid, says one author-expert-thought leader and that is leading change from the inside out. 

Meet Erika

Erika Andersen is the founding partner of Proteus, a coaching, consulting, and training firm that focuses on leader readiness. Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture. She and her colleagues at Proteus focus uniquely on helping leaders at all levels get ready and stay ready to meet whatever the future might bring. She is also the author of Leading Change from the Inside Out.

Much of her recent work has focused on organizational visioning and strategy, executive coaching, and management and leadership development. In these capacities, she serves as a consultant and advisor to the CEOs and top executives of several corporations, including Spotify, Amazon, Revolt TV and Media, Charter/Spectrum, and the Yale School of Public Health. She also shares her insights about managing people and creating successful businesses by speaking to corporations, non-profit groups and national associations.

Timestamped Overview

During this interview Erika and I discuss the following topics:

  • 1:00 – Importance of Leading Change: Scott emphasizes the critical role of leading change within organizations and the potential repercussions of not managing it effectively.

  • 3:15 – Understanding Failure in Leading Change: Erika delves into the reasons why leaders may fail in the process of leading change, shedding light on the human side of change and the crucial understanding of what people need during times of change.

  • 9:45 – Humans and Change: Erika discusses the innate human resistance towards change, drawing from historical motivations and technological advancements to illustrate the human tendency to gravitate towards stability.

  • 13:20 – Five-Step Model for Change Management: Erika introduces a comprehensive 5-step model for change management, highlighting the importance of clarifying the change’s purpose, envisioning its outcome, building the change plan, leading the transition, and keeping the change momentum going.

  • 19:30 – Engaging Teams in Change: Erika emphasizes the significance of engaging teams in the change process, making them more change-capable, and outlines four essential change levers for leaders to support people through change: increasing understanding, clarifying priorities, giving control, and providing support.

  • 24:00 – Scott’s Personal Story of Leading Change: Scott shares a personal anecdote of leading his squadron through a massive change, focusing on the challenges and solutions encountered when consolidating a squadron from 9 buildings to 3.

  • 29:15 – Fostering Internal Motivation for Change: Erika and Scott stress the importance of fostering internal motivation for change within organizations, rather than imposing change externally, and discuss effective strategies for achieving this crucial mindset shift.

  • 34:45 – Conclusion and Resources: Scott wraps up the episode, expressing gratitude to Erika Anderson and encouraging listeners to share the podcast with others. Additionally, he invites listeners to subscribe to Moving Forward Leadership for more valuable insights on being a high-performing leader.

Guest Resources

If you are interested in learning more about Erika’s resources be sure to check out the following links:

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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:01]:
So there you are. You realize things aren’t exactly how they should be. You need to change. Your organization needs to change. But in order to do so, you know the best way to do it is by leading it from the inside out. But how do you go about leading organizational change? That’s what we’re tackling Today, on episode 214 of peak performance leadership podcast, it’s all about leading change from the inside out. Are you ready for this? Alright. Let’s do it.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:45]:
Welcome, 1, welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership podcast, A weekly podcast series dedicated to helping you hit peak performance across the 3 domains of leadership. Those being leading yourself, Leading your team and leading your organization. This podcast couples my 20 years of military experience as a senior Canadian army officer Check out our website at movingforwardleadership.com. And with that, let’s get to the show. Yes. Welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. It is your chief leadership officer, Scott McCarthy, and it’s so good to have you here today. And today, we’re gonna be talking about Uber, uber important topic of leading change.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:47]:
Why? Because Nothing stays the same. Nothing. Absolutely nothing in this world. Change is the constant that drives the world. If you do it wrong, you mess it up, then your organization as a whole is going to suffer. We don’t want that, do we? Heck no. We want it to thrive. We want it to expand.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:12]:
We want it to grow. We want our people to be taken care of. We want to push it forward. But in order to do so, we got a lead change. The best way to do It’s by getting it from the inside out, and that is why today, we talk to expert Erica Anderson. She is the founder of Proteus, which is a consulting and coaching training firm That deals with leadership readiness including, you got it, change management. Much of her work is about organizational envision, strategy, management, and leadership development. She serves as consultant advisors, CEOs to top executives of major corporations like Spotify, Amazon, Revolt TV, Charter Spectrum, Yale School of Public Health.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:08]:
She speaks to All kinds of different people and writes for, online newspapers and articles such as, you know, Harvard Business Review. So credentials, yep. They’re there. Today in this interview, Eric and I talk about, You know? Why how and where leaders fail leading change, 3 things people want to know during a period of change, How leaders can foster change from the inside, 4 levers of change management, And the 5 step model for it as well. It is a great episode. So if you’re in the middle of change, which congratulations, doesn’t matter, You are there. This episode is for you. Why? Because you want to make sure you get it right.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:59]:
Because as you see, the first thing we talk about is what happens when you get it wrong and how most people get it wrong and why Most people get it wrong. Alright? So this episode is for you. And before we Hit play on the interview. You’re looking for a change yourself, then maybe it’s time to consider joining the leader growth mastermind. That is our Paid mastermind community where we discuss these topics such as change management in great detail With a nice, tight group of people, we have weekly Zoom calls where we get together and we discuss these topics face to face. And as well, you get a lot more in-depth training direct from me through live videos, weekly email, content, and so much more. So if this sounds interesting to you, go to moving forward leadership.com forward slash mastermind, and you’re gonna see all the information there. And last thing I’ll say is it is not Cost prohibitive is measly $29 a month.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:15]:
So if you’re interested, again, check Moving forward leadership.comforward/mastermind, and that is gonna get you there where you can apply to Sign up. And that’s the last part I will say before I hit play in the interview is that you have to apply. There are a limited number of seats available right now, And you have to apply to get in. So it’s all about quality over quantity. So if, You apply and the number of seats are full. Sorry. You’re gonna have to wait for someone to come out. So act now.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:52]:
Alright. Last time, that link moving forward leadership.comforward/mastermind. That’ll get you there. Anyway, that’s enough for me. Why don’t you sit back, relax, and enjoy my conversation all about leading change from the inside out with Erica Anderson. Erica, welcome to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. So great to have you on.

Erika Anderson [00:06:29]:
I’m very excited, especially now that I know that we’re, like, 10 miles apart. It’s crazy.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:34]:
10 miles, 16 kilometers for me. It’s such a small world as we were talking about.

Erika Anderson [00:06:41]:
Yes. Yes. Exactly.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:44]:
But, nonetheless, we are not talking about how close we live together Heather, today, we are talking about change and doing it right. So let’s dive into that, shall we? 1st thing, out of the gate, you know, why you know, I guess, probably why is probably a bad question, actually, out of the gate. How about this? Where do people fail with leading change, first off? Well, we start there.

Erika Anderson [00:07:13]:
Oh, that’s a really interesting question. I would say that the if I had to just put my finger on one thing, it’s not really understanding, Attending to and accounting for the human side of change, just what human beings need in order to be able go through change successfully.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:37]:
Oh, and let let’s dive in that. So from your standpoint now, what is it that humans need to undergo these changes.

Erika Anderson [00:07:46]:
Well, if I can kinda pull the camera back a little bit and get a little contextual. Let let me so, you know, I just wrote this book about change, change from the inside out. And when I write a book so this is the 5th book I’ve written. And when I write a book, it’s always because I get curious about Something. And what I got curious about here and we and my company at Proteus, we’ve had a change practice for, Gosh. Almost 15 years and have been helping companies through change. But I kept noticing 2 things. 1 is that Change is really hard for people.

Erika Anderson [00:08:18]:
Most people, not everybody, but for most people, it is really hard to go through change. And the more change organizations go through, the harder it is. And I thought, Why is that? Why is change so hard for us? And then I thought, okay. So once I’ve figured that out, and I can share that with you, what I the conclusions I came to. How does a human being actually go through a change? A specific human being, what happens Psychologically and emotionally when you actually do make a change. Because I felt like if I got clearer about that, I could help people do it better. You know, help us rewire ourselves to get better at going through change. So when I was thinking about why is it so hard for us to go through change often, I I really looked at it from the point of view of history.

Erika Anderson [00:09:05]:
And I realized that if you think about any given human being, A 100 or 200 or 500 or 1000 years ago. And think about that person’s life. Like, say, somebody 200 years ago in upstate New York. That person’s life would have been un almost unimaginably stable to to us. You know, they probably grew up in exactly the same place their parents grew up in, did the same work their parents did, ate the same food, went to the same church, Probably almost never traveled very far outside. You know, their lives were just incredibly stable and predictable. And when a big change happened, it was almost always a danger and a threat. It was a war or a famine or a flood.

Erika Anderson [00:09:50]:
Right? And so in that stable, stable, stable life, the best bet almost with exception was to quickly try and get back to that previous Known stable condition as quickly as possible. So that’s how we’re wired. The change is bad, and when a change comes, just get back to the way it was before, You know? As quickly as you possibly can, which is kinda what people wanna do with the pandemic. Right? Let’s all go back to how it was 2 years ago, which is just not gonna happen. So when I realized that, and then I thought about the last 100 years, especially the last 15, especially last 20, You know, I at the beginning of my book, I I talk about how when I was a little kid, TV was a new thing, and we got a TV. And then 10 years later, we got a color TV, and that was the pace of change in the fifties. Every 10 years, some big technological advancement happened. Right? And now we have Innovations on our phones about every 45 minutes that are as big innovations as from black and white to color TV.

Erika Anderson [00:10:48]:
Right? So it’s just so here we are now in this, nonstop change era, Really push now even more by the pandemic, and we’re just not wired for it. So, of course, it’s hard for us for we have our ancestors for 1000 of years, We’re we’re not used to this. We don’t we don’t have the wiring for this. So that’s what led me to then, okay, then how do we rewire ourselves? If if We can get clear about how we go through change, then we can get better at doing it. Does that make sense?

Scott McCarthy [00:11:19]:
Makes absolute sense. I really like the the whole aspect, you know, that whole part of the you know, basically, how it’s ingrained in us that Change is bad. You know? Yeah. Period appeared in the beginning.

Erika Anderson [00:11:32]:
Yeah. And and for 1000 of years, that reaction has served us well. Come okay. Let’s get back, know, homeostasis. Let’s get back to the way it was before. So then, as you know, I I unpacked kind of what happens when a change comes at us and we actually do go through a change. And what we what we realized is that when a change comes toward us, and this is especially organizationally, but also societally, economically, Psychologically, if change comes at us, it turns out that it’s really predictable that people want to know Three things when a change comes at them. They wanna know what does this mean for me specifically.

Erika Anderson [00:12:10]:
You know? What am I gonna have to do differently? That’s thing 1. Thing 2 is why is this happening? Because most of us do have a strong preference for the status quo. It’s like, You know, I’m gonna need a really good reason to even consider this change. So why is it happening? And then the third thing we want to know is, What will it look like once the change has been made? What’s that future post change? Because it’s interesting. When I was writing the book, I Ran into this, you know, doing the research. It turns out the last psychologists believe that our deepest fear is fear of the unknown, And that makes complete sense given everything we just said about the past. It’s like, wait. What do you mean the unknown? So when a change comes at us, we wanna know what how’s that gonna Change everything.

Erika Anderson [00:12:56]:
What’s the future gonna be? So as we’re starting to gather this information, we call this proposed change. What’s in it? What does it mean to me? Why is it happening? What’s it gonna look like when it’s done? Even as we’re gathering that information, we’re already assuming that the change is gonna be bad because of our historical wiring, I think. Right? So we assume even as we’re asking the questions, it’s like this negative confirmation bias, We’re assuming that the change is going to be difficult, and costly, and weird. And difficult means I don’t know how to do this. I don’t have the skills. Other people are gonna get in the way. There are just gonna be a lot of obstacles. It’s gonna be hard.

Erika Anderson [00:13:39]:
Costly. And this one’s really interesting. Costly means that I I think you know, my mindset is That this change is gonna take from me things that I value. Right? And it might be things like time and money, Kinda simple things, but it’s more likely to be intrinsic things that I can’t even maybe identify, like reputation And power and relationships that if I have to change in this way, it’ll take away from me these things that are important to me. And then weird just means, Strange. This is not how we do things around here. So we’re assuming that the change is gonna be difficult, costly, and weird. Right? And then and this is what I think is the beating heart of change.

Erika Anderson [00:14:21]:
When people change, when people actually do make a change, it’s because they change their mind. They change how they’re talking to themselves about the change either on their own or because they’re helped to do that by someone, and they start thinking That the change could be easy or at least doable, rewarding, and normal. And you can see when somebody’s mind starts to change because They start talking about it differently. They start rather than saying, oh, here are all the ways it’s gonna be awful and terrible, and I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. They start saying, well, How how could we do this? Or how, tell me about the benefits. You know, their their mind starts to move. And as soon as someone is generally thinking, believing that a change a particular change could be easy, rewarding, and normal, then They’re willing to start learning to do the new things, the new behaviors that the change requires, and the change can actually take place. So that’s that individual arc through change.

Erika Anderson [00:15:25]:
When somebody gets to the point where they’re starting to think that the change could be easy, rewarding, and normal, Then that person is actually open to making the change. And to go back to your original question, I don’t think people in organizations generally think about this at all. They just it’s like, here’s the change. Get with the program. If you can’t get with the program, you know, we’ll fire you kind of. And just understanding that if you can help people make that shift, the change is infinitely more likely to be successful.

Scott McCarthy [00:15:58]:
Makes absolute sense. I I I love that whole analogy and explanation and and the light bulb moment. Right? I often talk about change. You know, people start embracing change when they come to a realization that the pain of Staying at the status quo is greater than the pain that they have to go through to make those changes. Right?

Erika Anderson [00:16:19]:
That I I think that’s exactly right, Scott, it’s like you’re doing this you’re we’re doing these internal cost benefit analyses all the time unconsciously. We don’t realize it. Right? And when you start going, oh, oh, okay. Making This change is going to it’s gonna give me more than it takes away, and and maybe what it as you say, part of what it’s gonna give me is take me out of the pain of my Situation. Right? But it has more benefits than cost. The minute you start to think that, then you’re like, oh, well, maybe. Right?

Scott McCarthy [00:16:50]:
Absolutely. So with that now, and you and you talked a bit about, you know, Giving basically how people and start embracing change and taking on. And you kinda mapped out a nice framework for leaders to follow. Right? The you know, those those Three questions that everyone want wants to know. Right? You know, easily communicate that. But I always found That the best change that occurred in organizations is when the change came from internal. Vice having something slammed down your throat saying, hey. This is the way we’re going, and this is it, and that that’s how it is.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:25]:
Yes. You know? How do leaders start to Foster the idea from inside because out there, you know, we don’t have all the answers. Leaders can’t have all the answers nor should they have all the answers, but you want to foster these ideas for changes, positive changes, especially from the internal to organization. So what’s the best way for leaders out there to

Erika Anderson [00:17:52]:
start thinking? I really love that question, Scott. So so 2 or 3 things. The first thing is if because often often leaders see the need for change because they’re Looking at the organization more broadly. So it’s ideas for organization wide change are often going to come from leaders. But if they do it well and if they do it in a way that engages people and cascades them to the change, Then they’re at the same time that they’re doing that particular change, they’re making their people and their whole organization more change capable So that their people then subsequently are going to be more likely to come up with those ideas for change, which is great. I completely agree with you. When a change comes from The ranks kind of sometimes that’s the most powerful thing. The the second thing I would say is it’s how leaders Make change, group effort, right, rather than just something that, as you say, is slammed on you.

Erika Anderson [00:18:55]:
So, we talk about these 4 change levers, levers in the sense of force multipliers, that are really That really help leaders support people through that change arc. And and doing and I’ll explain them to you. And and using these 4 levers Makes any will make any change more kind of democratic, bring other voices in. So let’s say that there’s a change. Let’s say that, an organization a production a manufacturing organization is going to Change the production process for its core product. Right? Big change. Let’s say the head of production was the 1st person who thought of that, and then she Talk to the senior team, then they now they’re at the point where they’re bringing people in, and they want them to understand the change. So here are the 4 change levers.

Erika Anderson [00:19:47]:
The first one is increase understanding. Because a lot of times, as you say, in organizations change, you’re just really slammed. Here’s what we’re gonna do. Get with the program. Really, that’s about what people hear. So increasing understanding means give them context. Answer those 3 proposed change questions. You know, what does it mean for you? Why is it happening? What will it look like? Answer whatever questions people have.

Erika Anderson [00:20:12]:
You know, just really give them as much understanding as you can about what the change is, why it’s happening, how we came to think about it, what it’s gonna mean for them. Just really give them a lot of information. I I feel like generally speaking in organizations, there is not given enough context That change. So increasing people’s understanding about the change, thing 1, really helps. Thing 2, change lever 2 is Clarify priorities. Clarify and reinforce priorities. Because what happens when there’s a big change is people often assume Everything’s changing. It’s now it’s all up for grabs.

Erika Anderson [00:20:47]:
Oh my god. I have no idea. And if you can usually, even with a big change, Most of people’s priorities are gonna stay the same. Like in that example we just talked about, we’re still gonna produce our product, and we still have to have our Clients have a great experience, and we’re still gonna focus on quality. You know, those core priorities aren’t gonna change. Just how we do it, the process of making it may change some. So If you can do that, clarify and reinforce priorities, it’s really soothing and reassuring to people, and it helps them understand, okay. We’re still focusing on primarily the main stuff Except for this one thing.

Erika Anderson [00:21:22]:
So that’s very helpful. The third thing, and this really goes to what you were saying, the third change lever we call give control. And, you pointed this out, but in organizational change, one of the biggest problems is always that people just feel kind of victimized. They feel like They’re at the effect of this big thing that’s happening. Right? And so give control means give people as much of a voice and as many choices As you can. So here’s the change. Give us your feedback about how you think this is gonna work, whether or not it’s the right change. Was so Take their take their voices and then give them choice.

Erika Anderson [00:22:00]:
When should we do this? How should we do this? How do you wanna communicate this to the field? Get them involved in making those decisions. Because the more agency and the more choice you give people in a change, the more they start to buy in and feel like, oh, we’re actually all doing this together versus Just some leader telling me what to do. So that’s a really important one. And then the last 1 is give support. And the most important kind of support that a leader can give, especially at the beginning of a change, is really to listen to people Because often, leaders either dismiss or reassure or try and talk people out of their concerns. But those concerns are legitimate and normal. And, you know, people like, you know, somebody You’re changing the production process, and there’s somebody who’s been working on the line for 20 years and doing it the same way. Of course, they’re gonna have questions and concerns and What if we’re bad at it, and what if it doesn’t work? Just listen through that.

Erika Anderson [00:22:57]:
So, yeah, this is gonna be tough. It’s gonna be a challenge. You’re worried that this isn’t gonna work as well as the previous way. Yep. That’s a that’s a reasonable concern. And what happens is if you listen all the way through so that people actually feel like you’ve heard them And not even necessarily agree with them, but accepted their concerns as legitimate, then they’re ready for more practical kinds of support. Oh, yeah. It is gonna be tough.

Erika Anderson [00:23:20]:
And here’s a training, or here’s a description of the workflow, or you’re gonna help us redesign the product line. You know? So that support is critical, and leaders are the not good, generally speaking, at the first most important part of which is just listen through people’s concerns. They’re legitimate. Don’t assume that they’re not. And so by doing those 4 things, not only do you help People move through the change arc, but you bring them into the process so that they can see that, oh, the only way this is gonna work is if we actually do this together.

Scott McCarthy [00:23:57]:
Love it. Absolutely love it. There’s so many great nuggets in there, and I’m gonna throw 1 purse purse personal story to, you know, solid by everything you said.

Erika Anderson [00:24:06]:
Good. Yeah.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:07]:
So so I don’t know if you checked in my background much, but, by day, I’m a senior Canadian army officer. And, I was in charge of a squadron, a squadron of 200 members, and we had a massive change coming. We’re moving, to a brand new building, Which was great. Right? That’s a great thing. A a new piece of infrastructure, like, you know, it’s like, everyone. But it was a huge change. And the reason why it was a huge Change was because we were spread across, 9 different buildings, and we’re consolidating down to 3.

Erika Anderson [00:24:38]:
Wow. Wow. That’s huge.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:39]:
So we went from a very dispersed command and control model to now a very centralized one where everyone Was gonna be working under the same roof. You know, 98% of the squadron, something like this. So that was a huge change. Like, Everything was changing, like, you know, from workflows were changing to places. You know? And we had to work through all these problems, and it was like, okay. You know? This change is coming. This is coming. There’s nothing we can do about it.

Scott McCarthy [00:25:06]:
So, yes, that part’s getting slammed down our throat. However, how do we, as a team, You know, get through to the best of it. Right? And and I end up bringing you know, starting, like, basically, a tiger team of, Yeah. Let’s talk about the potential problems and go back and go to your individual teams. Say, hey. This is what this is what’s happening. You know? And we talked with everything. I mean, we talked to lunchrooms and the impact the lunchroom was going to have because the lunchroom wasn’t big enough for, You know, roughly 200 people to eat at at the same time.

Scott McCarthy [00:25:42]:
So what were the different options we had to go through? Parking was another thing. Right. And it was above and beyond. You know? And, of course, we often talk about other things such as workflow and, you know, people’s jobs. Job requirements are gonna change and stuff like this. But, you know so this huge operational problem, you know, different workflows and stuff all the way down to the, You know? When am I going to eat my lunch? And everything in between was was discussed.

Erika Anderson [00:26:09]:
That that is such a great example. You know, when we have and I don’t know if we’ll have time to talk about it, but we have a a 5 step model that we use to help people through change. And it’s a It’s a way to integrate the kind of practical nuts and bolts operational aspects of change with all this human stuff that we’re talking about. And the step 3 of the model is called build the change, and the main thing is to build the change plan. And we really encourage people to do exactly what you guys did, which is just Really think all the way through it because changes have ripples. Right? And a lot of times people think in a very narrow way about a big change. Well, we’re just moving from point a to point b. Oh my gosh.

Erika Anderson [00:26:48]:
There’s a 100 things that are gonna be affected by that, so think all the way through it. And then the 4th step of the of the model, which we call lead the transition, is where you really think as you guys did about how human beings are going to be affected, what’s ending for them, what’s beginning for them, and how are you gonna help them through it, Are you gonna support them through that change with those 4 levers while you are implementing the operational parts of the change? And if you can do those things together as you guys did, you know, create little tiger teams, talk through it, make sure people have a chance to think through it, think how it’s gonna affect them, Help them in to change, give them the support they need. Then as you, I’m sure, experience, the change is much more likely to be Successful because you’re thinking about it in that three-dimensional way versus just boom boom. No changes ever like that. There’s always lots and lots of human and operational consequences of a change. Right?

Scott McCarthy [00:27:47]:
Absolutely. So you you talked about 2 of the 5, so you might as well hit on the the the other 3

Erika Anderson [00:27:52]:
Oh, okay.

Scott McCarthy [00:27:53]:
Of those the 5 step model because I’m sure the the listener is like, What are they? What what what are they?

Erika Anderson [00:27:59]:
Tell us the other ones. Yeah. Okay. So so, let’s assume, as we talked about for that most changes because this is how most change happens organizationally. There’s usually a small group, a fairly senior group, that’s thinking about a a big change. And the first 2 steps, that small group, which we’ve come to call a change initiation group, they’re they’re they have 2, responsibilities kind of on behalf of the organization. So the first step is they really need to get clear about what the change is And why it’s needed. And not just why it’s needed from their point of view, but why it’s needed from the point of view of people in the organization.

Erika Anderson [00:28:36]:
You have to create a An elevator pitch of why in effect that will be meaningful to the people in the organization. Like, for instance, the example I always use is, Let’s say an organization’s gonna make a change that will make the organization much more profitable. Well, if my compensation is tied to Profit or if I have equity in the company, that’s gonna be meaningful to me. But if I’m some person who’s gonna make 15 or $20 an hour regardless of how profitable the company is, That’s not meaningful to me. So what other things will happen as a result of the change that could be meaningful to just regular people? Will it serve customers better, which is often very important to people in the organization? Will it, Free them to do more interesting, more fun, more challenging higher order work by getting administrative stuff or, you know, Paper stuff off their place. So think of the reasons that will be compelling for the people in the organization, and that’s that’s what this group has to do. What’s the change? Why is it happening? And then the 2nd step is what will it look like? You know? Which as we said before, everybody wants to know. So they’re thinking through this on behalf of Organization.

Erika Anderson [00:29:43]:
Both what will it look like aspirationally, you know, what do we envision as our future post change, and then how are we going to measure that Excess, so both aspirational and practical. So then when they’ve done that, those are the first 2 steps, then they start bringing more people into the tent. So in the 3rd step, Usually in organizational change, it’s not those senior people who are gonna plan and manage and drive the change. So usually they nominate a change team, Bring those folks together. Take them through the work that’s already been done so they can start going through their change arc. Here’s what the change is. Here’s why it’s happening. Here’s what it’s gonna look like.

Erika Anderson [00:30:17]:
And then they, that change team, can start, to your point, planning the change really in detail, you know, all the way through those implications so they’re not blindsided or caught out by not having thought through things. So then when you have the the people who are working on it, and they know what their role is, and they’ve planned the change, then the 4th step, which is what I was talking about, which is critical and so rarely happens, is we call lead the transition. And it’s where you think about the people who are going to be most affected by the change. And what are they gonna need? I mean, to your point where you had these tiger teams that went out and talked to people and asked a lot of questions and answered all their questions. So that’s part of the transition plan. So there’s the change plan itself. What are we operationally gonna do differently? And then there’s what we call the transition plan, which is How are we going to help people through this change? And then you implement them together, which is genius and works really well, much better than change usually works. And then the 5th step we call keep the change going, and there’s 2 important things that happen in that step.

Erika Anderson [00:31:19]:
The first one is, as you well know, every So big changes have unintended consequences. And a lot of times people make a change and then they just walk away, and the unintended consequences happen so then everything falls apart. So if you keep watching, then you’ll notice that. Like, I’ll I’ll give you a great example. You know, I talked before about changing the production process in a manufacturing company. So I use an example in the book about okay. So people decided to change the production process, and part of what they did was automate part of the process. And that worked well, and it, you know, happened, and the automation part was working.

Erika Anderson [00:31:54]:
But then they were looking at their measures of success In step 5, because that’s what you do. Are we actually achieving what we said we wanna achieve? And their cycle time had not decreased significantly. And so what happened is It’s going along the production line. It speeds up during the automation part, and then it comes back to the people. And they can’t do it any faster than they could before, so stuff was just piling up after the automation. Right? So then what they needed to do was double the line after the automated part of the line, and they engaged people in helping them Figure out how to do that. They they did it like a little secondary change. Did it cycle time line up? So that’s the kind of stuff that happens in step 5 if keep your eye on the ball.

Erika Anderson [00:32:36]:
Right? And people love that because in this particular example, which is kind of made out of 2 real life examples that I had with clients, The the knowledge that it wasn’t working properly came from the people on the line. They’re the ones that said, hey. This is not. We need to do something here now. So then they felt great because they saw it. And to your point, they said, we really need to fix this, and they were intimately involved in how they how they did it. Then the last thing that happens in step 5 is if you’re really noticing, you’ll see ways in which the organization itself Has made the change more difficult. There might be systemic or process problems.

Erika Anderson [00:33:17]:
There might be structural problems. There might be cultural problems. And if you can see those clearly and can resolve them, then that really helps to make your organization more change capable. So I’ll I’ll I’ll give you an example. Like, lot of big organizations, because they have grown by acquisition, they have systems that aren’t connected to each other. Right? Like, one part of the organization might have 1 ERP system or 1 financial system or 1 CRM. Another part you know, they’re working with 3 or 4 systems. And having those disconnected systems probably made whatever change you just tried to do hard, but it’s going to make any change hard.

Erika Anderson [00:33:56]:
Right? So if you can resolve that, it automatically makes your organization more change capable. So that it’s a great step 5 is a great Time to look and see what is true in the organization that made this change hard and will make any future changes hard And resolve that overall for the good of the organization.

Scott McCarthy [00:34:18]:
That’s great. Absolutely. So, I I did get a copy of your book, and they’d go through. It was fantastic, by the way. Thank you.

Erika Anderson [00:34:25]:
Thank you

Scott McCarthy [00:34:25]:
for that. Actually, lent it to a colleague at work. He asked me about it because, because that book actually made, a blog post, the 5 top reads for every leader in 2022. So

Erika Anderson [00:34:38]:
Wow. Thank you. Oh.

Scott McCarthy [00:34:39]:
So there you go. So he saw that, and then, he asked me he said, hey. Can I grab a copy of that book? Like, Absolutely. So it’s actually at work because I don’t have it here. So but but the point is, I I I love, you know, nice models like that because it it’s kinda like the pilot checklist. Right? Now is it Yes. Unlike the pilot checklist where, you know, you you still need to use your brain. Right? You can’t just follow every single model Exactly.

Scott McCarthy [00:35:10]:
To the point because we’re dealing with humans. We’re not dealing with machinery like aircraft. Right? Yep. So with that, What is your advice to leaders out there? Like, okay. I’m following along, but something is just you know, either either something feels like it’s off, People aren’t buying into it or there’s something that’s wrong. You know? What what’s your best advice out there for leaders when they’re in the middle of that change and they feel like it? It’s slipping.

Erika Anderson [00:35:38]:
I really love that question, Scott, and it’s it’s funny. I was I told you I was doing another podcast earlier, and and, I was talking about how when when you so as I said, we’ve had a change practice for a decade and a half. And when you When you write a book, you have to pick what you’re gonna put in the book. You can’t put everything that you because it won’t make any sense. It’s just like, it’ll be A 1000 pages long and it’d be overkill. Right? So I picked and chose, and and I even said at one point, look. I’m going to Go through this model in a way that is, in my experience, most likely to be helpful to you, But it’s certainly not gonna cover every eventuality, and it’s certainly not right. So I love that question.

Erika Anderson [00:36:23]:
And what I would say is if a leader is, Using our model, using our approach, really trying to help people through their change arc and following the 5 step model and something Isn’t feeling right, ask somebody. At find a person who’s part of the affected group Who you feel like is pretty fair witness, you know, is pretty objective and has pretty good insights and and wants the best for you, doesn’t want you to fail, And and ask him and say, tell me tell me whatever you see. I I won’t get mad. I I won’t disagree with you. I won’t blow you off. Just tell me what you see because I feel like a lot of times when we’re leaders in change, we can only see what we can see. And we need people around us who are also would like the change to happen and want the best for us and will tell us the truth and see it pretty clearly. But that’s that’s my my sovereign advice to leaders is don’t try and do this on your own.

Erika Anderson [00:37:25]:
Change is Complex, and it’s human. It’s essentially human. So get other humans involved.

Scott McCarthy [00:37:32]:
As much respect I have for the man, And may he rest in peace, Colin Powell. He he kinda coined the phrase, you know, it’s lonely at the top. And what you just said was, you know, What I fully agree with, it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t

Erika Anderson [00:37:48]:
have to be. At the top. Right? Yeah.

Scott McCarthy [00:37:51]:
And and and Right? And you can reach out to, you know, a member of the team. You can reach out to someone else who may may have experience. You know? You know, reach out to you or I, as consultants or coaches, or, you know, for it’s also the reason why I started my mastermind community, the leader growth to enable space for peers to come together and and peers. Yeah. Totally agree. That, you know, where where there is no judgment because, You know, there’s a lot of places out there still where, you know, superiors aren’t leaders or bosses. Right? And you don’t wanna go there to them and say, hey. We’re having these issues because you immediately feel like you’re being judged.

Scott McCarthy [00:38:32]:
So this is the reason why I started And for the listener there,

Erika Anderson [00:38:35]:
it’s a group. That’s that’s wonderful. I love that, and I completely agree with you. It’s whether it’s peers or and with the change, If you if if something is not feeling right to you in a change, find someone who either has been through a similar change or, Even better is going through this change with you. Now, obviously, it has to be somebody that you trust and somebody who will take your confidence appropriately. But, Yeah. I’d, the the best leaders I know are the ones who are curious and vulnerable, who who Who will go to people and say, what’s up? What am I not seeing? You know?

Scott McCarthy [00:39:15]:
Awesome. Erica, it’s been a fantastic and Super insightful conversation. I truly enjoy it. But, unfortunately, like all great things, this does come to an end. But before I hit stop, I do got a couple last questions for you. Yeah. Yeah. 1st being a question I asked all the guests here at the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast.

Scott McCarthy [00:39:33]:
And according to you, Erica Anderson, what makes a great leader?

Erika Anderson [00:39:39]:
Well, I wrote a whole other book about that. So, you know, I I’ll the so I’ll say very briefly what we found out when I was writing that book is that the 6 things that people look for in leaders To to know whether or not it’s safe and whether it will be beneficial to follow that person, we want our leaders to be Farsighted, passionate, courageous, wise, Generous and trustworthy. So that’s what I think makes a great leader.

Scott McCarthy [00:40:14]:
That’s it. That that sums it up pretty good. And then the final question, we’re gonna be fine here. How can they follow you? It’s all about you. Shameless plug. Have at it.

Erika Anderson [00:40:24]:
Oh, shameless plug. Love it. Okay. So they can go to my Site, erikanderson.com, easy, and or my business website, which is Proteus, pr0teusdashinternational.com. The book, all my books, but this book is on Amazon and hard copy electronic Audio, I did the audiobook. So if you wanna listen to me talk for 8 hours, you can buy the audiobook. And, I’m on Twitter at Eric Anderson and LinkedIn and Anywhere people gather on social media.

Scott McCarthy [00:40:57]:
Awesome. And for your listener, as always, it’s easy. Just go to moving forward leadership.comforward/ 214214, and the links are in the show notes. Erica, again, thanks thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule.

Erika Anderson [00:41:09]:
You too so much. Today. This has been great. I appreciate it, Scott.

Scott McCarthy [00:41:14]:
And that’s a wrap for this episode, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting the peak performance leadership podcast. But you know what you could do to truly support the podcast and know that’s not leaving a rating and review? It’s simply helping a friend, And that is helping a friend by sharing this episode with them if you think this would resonate with them and help them elevate Their performance level, whether that’s within themselves, their teams, or their organization. So do that. Help me. Help a friend. Win win all around and, hey, you look like a great friend at the same time.

Scott McCarthy [00:41:52]:
So just hit that little share button on your app, And then feel free to fire this episode to anyone that you feel would benefit from it. Finally, there’s always more. There’s always more lessons around being the highest performing leader that you can possibly be, Whether that’s for yourself, your team, or your organization, so why don’t you subscribe? Subscribe to the show via moving forward leadership