I am looking at CTI’s Co-Active Model for answers in all that I do. The model invites us to pay attention to both the relationship and the task, the way we are being as well as what we are doing. In organizations as in life, the relationships are what challenge us and develop us the most.

Several weeks ago, I was asked to present 3 half-hour breakout sessions on change management at an upcoming Provincial Community of Practice for Lean on February 27th in Vancouver, B.C. – with 100 registered participants. Thus began my journey of inquiry into the application of the CTI Co-Active Model to organization change.

There are excellent change management methodologies on the market and we know them. Research demonstrates their value and the failures that come from stepping over the people side of change. Leaders know about the pain of forced change and so do we. I’m not going to talk about what we already know.

Two weeks ago, an entire department was given notice of a physical move within three weeks to another building and shared offices. No warning, no conversation, no support. No people side of change.

Had leaders applied the Co-Active Model, they might have had a conversation about the critical business reasons for the move. They might have asked for input from the employees on the challenges and privacy issues inherent in sharing offices. To tell people to “do” and take action without the relationship component creates resentment, anger, apathy and disengagement.

Surely that’s not what our leaders want.

As change implementers, advocates or agents, we keep trying to convince them to implement change management and end up feeling resentful. Or we give up, because too often they don’t.

I’m not in favour of the blaming and complaining camp. Past three minutes of venting, it’s simply draining.

Perhaps instead of trying to convince them, we need to listen to them. If relationship is at the center of all that we do, how are we being in relationship to our leaders?

What if we are not listening to them?

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