My Journey into Change Artistry

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My Journey into Change Artistry

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I came upon this LinkedIn post by Angela Belle Agresto— 

One of the biggest potential pitfalls to implementing successful Agile methodology? Resistance to change.

This can stem from various factors, including fear of the unknown, lack of understanding of Agile methodologies, or attachment to traditional ways of working.

Resistance to change can slow down the transformation process and hinder the adoption of Agile principles across the organization.

Want to overcome this obstacle?
💼 Involve all stakeholders from the beginning;
💬 Communicate the benefits of Agile methodologies; and 
🙌 Provide adequate training and support to help employees adapt to a new way of working.

For more like this, be sure and check out the latest from the blog: Agile Transformation Best Practices – Expert Tips for a Successful Implementation

I used to view the world of change much as Angela does. That is, I need to go through a “process” with you to change you from point A to point B in your operational thinking and ways of working.

For example, she emphasizes training. You resist change because you don’t “know better.” So, I will “train you” so you will see everything the way “I see it.” But I’m unsure as to how well that works. On the surface, it’s simple and tactical, but does it work to support profound and resilient change? My learning and more recent experiences say no, it doesn’t.

I’ve found that—

People don’t resist change…they resist being changed by someone else. Instead, we need to set the conditions for folks to decide to change themselves, to be inspired or incented to change, for a clear goal and purpose that they buy into.

While it seems like wordsmithing or nit-picking, I believe it’s a fundamental change in—

When approaching any change. The point is, it’s so much more than simply a training, support, or coaching exercise.

While I aspire to become a better change artist, I don’t consider myself an expert in this area…yet. But there are some folks that I do think understand it quite profoundly.

  • Gerald Weinberg – who’s written extensively about change. His book—Becoming a Change Artist has had a profound impact on me.

  • Esther Derby – A colleague of Gerry’s, Esther is another influencer for me. Her book—7 Rules for Positive, Product Change is another game changer.

  • Dale Emory—wrote an article on Resistance in 2001 that has stayed with me the longest. Only in the past 5-7 years, though, have I fully appreciated the notion of reframing ideas/words like resistance.

And a more recent find of mine, I like Michelle Pauk’s views to change much better, for example–

And knowingly a bit of a shameless plug, here’s an article that Michelle recently shared that mentions my daughter Rhiannon in another excellent post from Michelle – 

Related to change and changing, many change models have been developed over time. I’ve intentionally skipped them when exploring change artistry because they often foster a mechanical approach when guiding change. Here’s a quick sampling of leading models—

  1. Lewin’s Change Management Model

  2. Kotter’s Change Theory

  3. ADKAR

  4. Kübler-Ross Change Curve

  5. Satir Change Model

  6. McKinsey’s 7-s Model




I recommend that you lean away from the formal models and into the notion of change artistry. That’s not to say the models aren’t helpful, but your personal growth and artistry should be beyond the bounds of static model-based processes and thinking.

If you’re an Agile Coach of any level of experience, I think one of the areas you need to develop are your change artistry skills. I’ve shared some great starting resources for you to consider. I’d recommend Weinberg’s and Derby’s work as fundamental and essential.

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