Be A Change Agent – With a PEOPLE Focus


“People don’t resist change; they resist being changed.”

– Peter Senge

While change guru Peter Senge surely has a valid point in above quote, just think of your last personal change mission; that new diet, ditching a bad habit or starting a new exercise program. How did you do? Did you pull it through or has the change commitment been shelved? People may not resist change, yet every change brings us out of our comfort zone into the unknown. The resulting feelings range from discomfort to fear. Those feelings are the reason that even a self-induced change initiative for one’s very own personal benefit is difficult to pursue. How much more difficult is it to change hundreds of people as part of a corporate change project, without inducing the feeling of being changed?

Put the focus on PEOPLE!

Many change programs have a centralized project set-up, focusing on organizational design and development, on systems and structures that need to be changed and on processes that need to be followed to make the change happen. Organizations should not be built around people and changing organizations should be all about PEOPLE:

  • Picture the future and required changes in a desirable way – in a way that puts the change as the only way to lead the company to success
  • Excite people for the journey; describe what is in for them – for each one of them; have an inspiring change story to tell before people create their own story
  • Orientate people through proactive, transparent and honest communication on regular basis; involve people actively in the planning and execution; to drive engagement, make it their program
  • Prioritize those who may lose out from the change; show empathy for their emotions and ensure they are all well taken care of and looked after; this can turn resistors into promoters of the change
  • Listen to the people, understand their thoughts and feelings; remembering the late Stephen R. Covey, only if people feel fully understood they are ready to understand – and willing to understand the reasoning behind the change
  • Eliminate fear and worries as they are the main, if not the only barriers for change; be hands-on – and literally hold their hands if needed


Ideally all this takes place in a change friendly environment. Organizations are ever changing organisms in which the only constant is change. Companies should therefore invite for open exchange on change and instill an active drive constantly embracing change.

This lets me conclude with a quote from inspirational leader Lenny Ravich: “Resisting change is like a chicken attempting to go back into the cracked egg”.

Thus, change is inevitable and whatever your change, put PEOPLE first.


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