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  • Writer's pictureAlessandro Lasi

The Steps of Change Management - How to Move the Needle

You probably have a question buzzing in your head: why a Penguin? I promise you’ll find out in 3 minutes of reading.

The Change Management Curve

I realized it’s nice when something you learnt on your skin is actually confirmed by books and content you hadn’t heard of before. That’s what happened to me with Change Management: all the mistakes I did, all the learnings that came from those ones, are nicely described in a brilliant approach I discovered years later…


  • The Heart: Belief in the Change - create a climate for change, meaning creating a Sense of Urgency and building a Transformation team

  • The Head: Understand the Logic for change, demonstrate that it is possible with short term wins - engage and enable: pay attention to Communicating the Vision and Realize Quick Wins.

  • The Hands: Change the Habit by having people do it and practising the change until it becomes the “new Normal”.

Follow those steps (which you can eventually crumble in the 8 smallest ones, the chart below) and you’ll be more likely to successfully navigate your team through challenging the Status Quo.


The approach above is well described in “Our Iceberg is Melting”, by Kotter, using a brilliant story involving populations of penguins whose iceberg is melting.

What is funny is that I found out the same through my trial and error process, either with small or big Change Management implementations (from tactical Kaizens, to Strategic Projects, to wider Business Transformations).

“Our Iceberg is Melting” by J.Kotter


Well, you would still probably be missing a piece: I was actually taught something more by my mistakes. In step 0, start by listening, and start by creating trust with people.

Here’s an example from my past: years ago I was tasked to facilitate the transformation of planning processes at an Aftermarket Service Workshop in France, as at that time I worked for an Industrial Goods Manufacturer. I had never been there, nor met the local manager before. And he was “my man”, the process owner for the process improvement to come.

As I felt out of sync with him, I jumped on a plane and got there. That day a technician of his crew was out for sickness: his team of 7 people was really short, the manager was so busy we didn’t even have time to talk about the initiative!

I abruptly felt the mess when the phone rung: an angry customer shouted his spare parts hadn’t been delivered yet that morning.

The day I helped deliver missing Spare Parts to a Customer in France

I offered to drive the van and deliver the spares: covering for crew shortage, that would have been a pressure release for the team and a patch for a Customer complaint.

That task wasn’t probably on my job description, and neither it was planned.

But that was the Game Changer for the process transformation next to come!


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