Leading Change

July 31, 2013


I’m doing an all day training session today on Leading Change for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. It’s one of the most comprehensive training sessions I’ve ever done, with a combination of both familiar and new evidence-based material on human behavior at work. The main source materials for the training are the books Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, and Give and Take by Adam Grant. These are three of the best evidence-based management books I’ve read in the last few years.

Leading ChangeI think it’s impossible to talk about leadership without talking about change, and equally futile to think about change without the process of leadership. The foundation of my message today will be some simple principles of leadership: influence, change, interdependent relationships, and shared purpose.

All change is ultimately about changing behavior. As the Heath’s say in their book (p.4), “can you get people to start behaving differently?” So before I present the Switch metaphor of change, I will discuss some basics of human behavior and motivation.

Finally, I will give participants a personal and organizational target for change – better organizational citizenship. My hope is at the end of the day, folks will return to their workplaces and begin the difficult work of trying to enable themselves and others to behave differently. Only those that engage in this process of change will have really learned anything from the time they invested attending in this or any other training session.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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Comments (2)

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  1. Ian Derbyshire says:

    Hi Bret,

    I agree. For ten years, until 2010, I ran leading-change.co.uk Ltd. – a boutique consultancy helping some v well known organisations lead the changes they sought. Together with Dr David Wall and the (now v sadly late) Gwyn Evans, we delivered programmes, workshops and on-the-ground implementation support and mentoring which proved highly effective. We packed it in after Gwyn died as it just wasn’t the same. But your programme synopsis rings lots of bells and sounds both good and interesting. Would be great to hear about participants’ reactions, feedback, and in due course consequent achievements. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch by email. Hope your programme goes /went down well!

    Kind regards,


    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Ian. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Bret