8. Getting Unstuck: Adapting to Protect the Heart of Your Idea with Lyle Kirtman

New ideas are often met with criticism and concern that can derail change initiatives. So how do you overcome these challenges to achieve change success?

In this episode, Kirsten and I review a number of strategies individuals and leaders can employ to overcome obstacles to change. Midway through our discussion, we talk to author and leadership expert Lyle Kirtman who has worked extensively with business, government, and educational leaders. In this far ranging interview, Lyle explains why change initiatives often fail and explains how leaders can increase the likelihood of change success.

Listen for:

• How adopting a sense of play can reduce the inhibitions toward change by diving back into what was interesting with the idea to begin with.

• How the concept of “limit rather than dilute” can help you adjust your ideas to challenges.

• Why identifying what is “positive,” “negative” or “interesting” about an idea can effectively position it for effective adaptation.

• How engendering an outlook of optimism can give those considering change a sense of control – and control can lead to change acceptance.

• How knowing your “A,” “B,” “Cs” can help you develop a sense of optimism.

• How having a sense of optimism can help you see adversity as temporary and not personal.

In  The Advantage , author Patrick Lencioni uses the labels “smart” and “healthy” to describe the “left” and “right” side of leadership and organizational thinking. “Smart” refers to decisions organizations need to make around the work. “Healthy” refers to practices organizations undertake to support the people doing the work.

In The Advantage, author Patrick Lencioni uses the labels “smart” and “healthy” to describe the “left” and “right” side of leadership and organizational thinking. “Smart” refers to decisions organizations need to make around the work. “Healthy” refers to practices organizations undertake to support the people doing the work.

• How engaging in both the “left” (the work that people do) and “right” (the people doing the work) sides of leadership can increase the likelihood of change success.

• How leaders need to personalize the transition from the “old” to the “new” (ala William Bridges) to bring about effective change.

• How people view themselves within the prospect of change can manifest itself as resistance.

• Why coaching can help leaders become more reflective about their own practices.

• How suspending – but first acknowledging – old thinking can lead to change success.

• Why a focus on “results” has to drive decisions about changing practices.

After listening to the episode:

  1. See if you can catch yourself in the moment when any adversity strikes. And the adversity doesn’t have to be huge like you left a burner on the stove. It can be anything that temporarily causes you to pause. What we’re interested in is your immediate BELIEF about yourself and what you do or feel as a result of that BELIEF – the CONSEQUENCE.

  2. Complete a “PNI” exercise – positive, negative, interesting – on some aspect of your work. First share your idea or concept. Next have a group give you their individual PNI comments written down on sheets of paper. Create a spirit of curiosity and play in your mind. Read your comments. Ask how can I address these comments and adapt my idea while keeping the heart of what’s special about it? Come up with several ideas about adapting it and then select the one that is the most powerful while being more practical. Notice how much stronger your idea is.






Jeff Ikler