How to Make Things Change

Doing what comes naturally works fine except for when you want to change.

Actually, change is the most natural thing in the world. You and the world around you are changing every moment of every day. That change is not necessarily unfolding the way you like.

• The challenge is not generating change.

• The challenge is getting things to change the way you want them to change.

Doing what comes naturally tends to follow the path you are already following. Deliberate change means doing what comes unnaturally. It means imposing a plan to divert the course of events into a different path.

From this point of view, an important element of a change strategy is a structure that will interrupt the natural course of events. That point of interruption provides a way to derail the natural course of events. The tricky part is to relocate that course onto the rails of your own choosing.

Too many plans falter because people fail to recognize the power of doing things naturally. The structures to remind oneself to eat more sensibly, be kind to people, avoid procrastination, or practice music rely too much on memory and will. Both memory and will are unreliable allies.

The theme of this series—combining individual, group, and organizational action—is very relevant here. Success is much more likely when an individual system has backup from the other levels.

• A workgroup imitative to overcome procrastination has the benefit of removing a potential source of distraction—the procrastination activities of coworkers. [It’s not true that the group that delays together; stays together.]

• An organization with a food service that provides real food will support health programs more effectively than one that does not.

What is your current change initiative?

How many levels have you included in your strategy?


  1. Dear Dr. Leiter:

    Precisely today, we had a meeting where the main subject was how to generate and impulse changes.

    I totally agree with you (and it was the last statement in my power point presentation).
    It is imposible not to change, and it is better to use that power to improve things in a more convenient way, than just being afraid about the forthcoming events.

    Best Regards


  2. Heriberto
    Good to hear that we are thinking along the same lines. Change does keep things interesting but it takes a focus mind to keep things moving in the right direction.

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