Rocking the Boat: How to Effect Change Without Making Trouble

Rocking the Boat: How to Effect Change Without Making Trouble describes research findings concerning the strategies that managers use to create bottom up, incremental change from within their organizations. Bottom up, or “continuous and fragmented change” as Myerson characterizes it, effected by “tempered radicals” from deep within the organization is contrasted to the “revolutionary, episodic change” that “you read about in best-selling management texts.” The author describes six strategies that tempered radicals use:

  • Resisting quietly and staying true to self
  • Turning personal threats into opportunities
  • Broadening the impact through negotiation
  • Leveraging small wins
  • Organizing collective action

While the author’s research focused on social change: socially responsibility, gender, race and sexual preference equality, the change strategies and underlying mechanisms are very applicable to other kinds of organizational change including systems, people, infrastructure, and process change.

In particular, Turning Personal Threats into Opportunities, Broadening the Impact through Negotiation, and Leveraging Small Wins chapters contain a wealth of specific, practical ideas that managers can apply immediately and easily to effecting any kind of change. The author also summarizes the key elements of the strategies and the tools in tables that make excellent reference tools.

Rocking the Boat: How to Effect Change Without Making Trouble
Debra E. Myerson
Harvard Business Press
2001, 2008

What If You Could Start Over on Monday Morning?

What if you could could start over on Monday morning? What if you just clear off your desk, delete all your emails, crumple up ALL of your to-do lists and just start over? What if you could pick one goal to focus on 80% of the time that you are at work? What goal would be of real value to your company, would get you charged up every day, would let you do the things that you are best at and would require you to learn some things that you always wanted to learn? What goal would you pick? What goal would make senior management sit up and take notice? What goal would be a joy to hear yourself talk about with your colleagues, friends, and family?

I challenge you to come up with that goal. If every manager structured his or her time and energy and resources around achieving one exciting, valuable, differentiating goal at a time, work would be a lot better place to be and productivity would soar. I believe that you can find ways to make your company want you to achieve those goals. I believe your company would rather have you creating change that leads to profitability and competitive advantage than going to meetings, double-checking and second guessing other people’s work, explaining why things didn’t get done, aren’t going to get done, will cost more than expected or just plain broke down, again.

My blogs going forward will focus on helping you pick a great goal and on helping you achieve it. I look forward to hearing which goals you are considering and why, what has stopped you from pursuing them until now, which one you have chosen to focus on, what is worrying you about it, what is going well with it, what is not going that well, and what you need help with. In return I will share with you questions, ideas, resources and a supportive ear.

I believe that it is possible for every manager to make a real difference every day.

Uber* Planning: Five Things the Pros Know About Getting Anything Done

  • How are you are going to get the projects assigned to you this year done?
  • Is Annual Performance Objective setting still an open item on your to do list?
  • Do your projects end up unfinished because priorities are constantly changing?

Trying to achieve challenging projects in today’s world with an ordinary project plan to guide you is like trying to stay dry in a typhoon with only an umbrella for protection!

This entertaining, no-nonsense, one-hour presentation describes five practical tactics that successful managers use to consistently achieve important goals despite the inevitable challenges lurking in the organizations they work in.

During the presentation you will practice each of the five tactics and you will develop your own high-level Uber Plan.

Each participant will receive a free coaching session to help them further develop their Uber Plan.

Invitees are all experienced professionals with people management and delivery responsibilities. This intimate setting provides a great opportunity for informal networking with like-minded peers!

Presented by: Suzanne Zemke Management Coaching LLC

Presenter: Suzanne Zemke

Date: Thursday June 5, 2008

Location: In Good Company
16 West 23rd Street 4th Floor
New York, NY 10010

Time: Informal Networking 6:30 – 7:00
Presentation 7:00 – 8:30 (starts at 7:00 Sharp!)
Optional Discussion 8:30 – 9:00

Cost: $50.00 per person
Limited to 20 participants

Suzanne Zemke Management Coaching LLC
69 West 9th Street 11F
New York, NY 10011

* Uber: from the German über and commonly used by American gamers as a synonym for “super.” Also see Saturday night live usage: “What if superman was German? Would he be uberman?”