Change Whisperer – Gail Severini, Symphini Change Management Inc.


“The Top 3 Common Mistakes made on a change engagement”

This question, posted on LinkedIn, prompted some very interesting debate.  My full response follows. Perhaps, more important than “mistakes”, the dialogue points to great OPPORTUNITIES for leaders and organizations who seek to become masters of change.   

Firstly, there is an important  distinction between ‘change management’ (CM) and Organizational Change Management (OCM).  The question of “mistakes” resonates in both arenas.  For context, we break it down this way: continue reading here



Social Media Marketing: Newsletter vs Blog vs Twitter
February 16, 2010, 1:49 am
Filed under: - Marketing | Tags: ,

In much the same way that cash as the primary currency has been displaced by cheques, debit and credit cards, not to mention ecash options, so are communication vehicles increasingly fractured. 

The choices for online communication vary widely from: old style enewsletters, to blogs, to 140 characters on Twitter, to more social media like LinkedIn and Facebook communities, YouTube and wikis.  And we should expect that more options will develop and emerge.  

Note that I deliberately did not use the term “marketing”.  Although many of these media are used for marketing most of these media are much more interactive in nature.  Most allow for comments at least and many for ongoing dialogue.   This results in developing ‘relationships’ and this presents entirely different opportunities and challenges. 

As far as cost / benefit analysis: the jury is still out.



Reflections on defining “Change Management” – Killer Value Proposition

Recently, in several global Communities of Practice, many different interpretations, and mis-interpretations, of Change Management have been debated. The breadth of definitions is quite incredible (from “Leadership” to “Implementation Metrics”) as is the depth of any single component (such as “Change Communication”). However, the “ah ha”, for me anyway, is that the past does not yield the Killer Value Proposition – that lies in the future: change is changing and Change Management must change.

All of us reached back – into our education, reading, experience. And there is a treasure trove of value there. But I cannot help thinking that the problems we need to solve – helping organizations anticipate, prepare for and optimize change – have changed. Not to be coy, but “change” has changed. Faster, deeper, etc. Added to the extraordinary and increased complexity of organizations today ….

I wonder if these conditions add up to making our old tools are inadequate – either alone or even, in some cases, combined. Certainly, in most cases, any ‘change management’ is better than none – but what would be optimal? Leadership + communications + training + + + +. Would that be enough?

I mentioned “Glimmer” (Warren Berger) in a previous post but just want to reference a quick quote: “What I’m hearing from top Fortune 500 executives is that they know how to make just about anything—but they don’t know what to make.”—Patrick Whitney, design and business strategy guru.

If the goal posts are moved from ‘implement this change’ to ‘develop an organizational capability to let go of the past, imagine and reach for the unknowns in the future, develop the fortitude to experiment ….’ What would we call this? It is more than ‘leadership’ and more than ‘management’ – it is culture + process change + + …. There is no single role in an organization today responsible for this – many roles have an important part to play, including every leader, but I am reminded of the story of “Whose job is it? (Everybody, Somebody, Nobody)” (available here https://gailseverini.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/who-makes-change-happen/)

If this is the kind of thinking required to move our economies forward then as change practitioners we too need to adapt. Using old, sometimes too familiar, names and catch phrases does not convey the value that needs to be driven. I certainly don’t propose to know the answer but I am intrigued to know if anyone else is thinking along these lines – what would you call this organizational competency?



“noisy and messy and complicated”
February 4, 2010, 8:59 pm
Filed under: - Organization Change Management | Tags: , , , ,

“But remember this –- I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I could do it alone.  Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated.  And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy.  That’s just how it is.”  – Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 27, 2010

What more needs be said?