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ChangeSmart™: Implementing Change Without Lowering Your Bottom Line

In today’s business environment change is key to survival. Yet implementing change is more challenging than ever. Business people want to improve their bottom line through change, not change for the sake of it or spend too much time and energy on it. ChangeSmart™: Implementing Change Without Lowering Your Bottom Line is written specifically for them.

Managers are on the front line of any change a company wants to make. It is up to them to get employees to change their behavior and do what is required. Yet managers are not always given the tools needed to inspire such actions in others. In her first book, ChangeSmart™, Dr. Beth Banks Cohn seeks to resolve that issue.

In over 20 years in business, Dr. Banks Cohn has been on the receiving end of change as an employee, on the implementation end as a manager, and on the advising end as both an internal and external consultant. Using all of her experiences, she has devised the ChangeSmart™ framework to help busy managers take the actions they need to affect successful change. Change management is all about connecting to the power of your employees in order to effect transformation. ChangeSmart™ is full of the practical advice and tools needed to make those connections and ultimately achieve success.

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ChangeSmart™ Table of Contents

The ChangeSmart™ Framework


  • Analyze
    • Understanding the Context
    • A Tool You Can Use: Create a Map of Change
    • A Tool You Can Use: Organizational Readiness Chart
    • Deep Dive: Know Your Leadership
    • Case In Point (Case Study from the Banks Consulting Archives)
  • Collaborate
    • Feedback Loops
    • Positive Partings
    • Case In Point
  • Plan
    • Prepare
    • Checklist for Success


  • Engage
    • Case in Point
    • Another Case in Point
  • Connect
    • A Tool You Can Use: Conversation Guide
  • Train
    • Case In Point
    • Don’t Forget about Managers
    • Case In Point
    • Checklist for Success


  • Align
    • Case in Point
    • Honor the past to move into the future
  • Measure
    • Baseline, Baseline, Baseline
  • Complete
    • Are we there yet?
    • Case in Point
    • A Tool You Can Use: Lessons Learned
    • Checklist for Success


  • Three Types of Resistance
  • Blind Resistance
  • Ideological Resistance
  • Political Resistance

An excerpt from the book:


So the day is finally here; today you are starting to implement the business initiative you have been working on. If you haven’t already been engaging all those affected by this initiative, now is not too late. People may be unsure of themselves and where they fit in with all the changes. They may be enthusiastic but rudderless. All the factors you thought about during the Prepare element – organizational readiness, the context and magnitude of the change – come into play here. It is essential to engage people immediately or risk losing them.

A time of change affects different people in different ways. This is a time when some people may choose to withdraw into themselves. They may be creating an emotional distance which they think will help them weather this latest “storm.” That doesn’t mean that emotions are bad and should be suppressed. On the contrary, emotions are an important part of any change process. But by engaging people in the change, allowing them to fully participate, you can help them start creating their new reality sooner.

Whether you ask them their opinion through a focus group or their manager makes time to talk with them, engaging individuals throughout the process will be a critical success factor. This work continues all through Execute and into Sustain. If you start engaging people in the Plan element, it will be easier to continue that all the way through until the end. But even if you don’t, it is not too late to start during the Execute element. Just don’t forget to carry it through.

How to Engage You, Let Me Count the Ways

As a project team, brainstorm all the potential ways to engage people throughout the change process. The project team isn’t the only group of people who can reach out and connect with people. If the change affects the whole company, that also means that every senior leader and every people manager can play a part. In addition, don’t forget your “informal” leaders – those individuals whom people follow even though they may not have a formal leadership position. Those individuals need to be both engaged and to engage others. Their role can be very important.

Even though I have already mentioned managers, it is worth mentioning them again. Your middle managers will be the difference between the success and the failure of your business initiative. I am sometimes amazed how many team leaders, middle managers themselves, forget to engage their peers. Engage them, work with them, utilize their expertise, and it will go well. Ignore them, alienate them, try to work around them, and the results will be disastrous.

Managers are the individuals responsible for making the day-to-day operations of the business proceed as necessary. When a change is implemented, the organization looks to the managers to be their “man or woman in the field.” Yet they are often forgotten and overlooked. When discussing ways of engaging employees, have a special plan for engaging managers. Whether it is creating a manager advisory committee or conducting special briefings on the project’s progress, whatever you can do to include this group will relate directly to the change’s success.

©2007 Beth Banks Cohn. All Rights Reserved. Do Not Copy Without Permission.



Beth Banks Cohn, PhD, founder and president of ADRA Change Architects, is dedicated to helping you and your organization reach your full business potential…
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ChangeSmart™ Advantage

Change is a fact of life today in business, but that doesn’t make it any easier to carry out successfully. ChangeSmart™ is a framework, a way to approach change. It is a roadmap for success.
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