Afsaneh Noori


Book Review – Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change

Read Jason Porritt’s review of a new book called Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change

Since, we don’t live or work in isolation, knowing how to work with others is important. Influence is an important skill when working with others. The framework in this book is a six-quadrant grid meant to help identify ways to influence key behaviors in ourselves and others.

The vertical axis includes three scopes: Personal, Social, and Structural. The horizontal axis includes Motivation and Ability. The intersections of these two axes create the six change strategies that the authors discuss in the book.


Becoming a Change Thriver

Organizational change is personal when we are going through it, whether we are in the role of a change leader or not. As a human being, we cannot escape the cycle of change in our lives. We have no choice but to experience the breaking-apart stage of the change cycle. But we have choices in the exploration and break-through phases. We have the choice to thrive through change.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin

Becoming a Change Thriver means that we grow to be change-ready—we have learned ways to embrace change rather than run away from it. Being a Change Thriver is not something we are born with. Although certain personality traits can make it more comfortable for some people to deal with change, for most people thriving in change is a developmental process. The first step to becoming a Change Thriver is to identify the essential characteristics and the role they play in making change an easier process for us. The next step is to take inventory of our skills and determine the additional skills we need to develop.

To thrive in change we need to examine 3 main sets of characteristics of Change Thrivers:

Internal Mind-Set and Beliefs

  1. Have a sense of their life purpose
  2. Incorporate their spiritual beliefs as a foundation in their daily life
  3. Strive to be true to themselves and are motivated to live their own truth
  4. Stay attentive to internal messages
  5. Trust in the process of their life
  6. Can let go of control in things they cannot control
  7. Practice an attitude of gratitude and seek the advantages in situations


  1. Cultivate a solid support network
  2. Care for their body, mind, and spirit during the process of change
  3. Honor and express their emotions
  4. Recognize the value of humor
  5. Have strategies to cope with uncertainty
  6. Stay open to possibilities
  7. Are adaptable


  1. Know and are confident in their own abilities
  2. Know their own shortcomings without judging themselves
  3. Think beyond the obvious
  4. Have the courage to be proactive
  5. Are willing to take prudent risks
  6. Are willing to follow through with plans and commitments
  7. Approach change holistically and take into account the impact of change on others

The more we learn and practice these skills, the easier it becomes to thrive in change as well as lead change.


Want to raise your emotional intelligence? Focus on these 3 components

A good article on Emotional Intelligence to share with you.

What was regarded in the past as a “soft skill” has emerged as one of the most critical determinants of career and leadership success: emotional intelligence. While leaders may not be able to change the aspects of their personality that others find unappealing, adding communication and thinking strategies can help improve their interactions with others, and ultimately lead to higher career success.

The 3 tenets of emotional intelligence:

  1. Social self-awarenessRecognize who you are socially and emotionally.
  2. Empathy – Read people and situations accurately.
  3. Self-controlRespond appropriately based on who you are interacting with and what the situation calls for.



6 Strategies for Leading Change

Are you leading your team or organization through a difficult change? If so, these strategies can help you consider the different steps you need to take, in order to help your people understand the pressures for change, address their concerns, get their buy-in and communicate their role in making it successful.

Make it safe!

  • Create an atmosphere of safety and trust.
  • Enhance or maintain self-esteem.
  • Encourage participation.
  • Model the behaviors you are seeking.

You don’t have to agree, just understand.

  • Give information and business reasons as completely as possible.
  • View resistance as a natural and positive mechanism for sorting new information.
  • Expect resistance and expression of emotion.
  • Listen to and acknowledge others’ reality.

Take the time needed to get a commitment.

  • Start from where they are and lead them to where they are going.
  • Answer questions even if they have already been addressed; they may be asked from another point of view.
  • Discuss the goals, reasons and impact of the change on people.
  • Show compassion for their concerns and address their fears and barriers.
  • Ask for and listen to alternative approaches to the same goal.
  • Stay flexible with the methods and include inputs when possible.

To know you are on the right track, you must first see the track!

  • Clarify the purpose and direction.
  • Create a transition plan and set priorities.
  • Develop success measures and a feedback system.
  • Clarify roles, expectations, and risks.
  • Provide training, incentives, and support.
  • Follow the transition plan.

Only by knowing where you are, can you get to where you are going!

  • Monitor progress regularly.
  • Give feedback on progress.
  • Involve people in making adjustments.

Desired behaviors will be repeated with acknowledgment and reward.

  • Observe and acknowledge every milestone reached.
  • Record every accomplishment.
  • Celebrate successes.
  • Recognize and reward contributions.

When Leading Through Change, Adopt These 4 Strategies

Max McKeown, stated, “Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.” In this article, Matt Mayberry offers four important strategies to lead change:

1. Stay purpose driven

If you direct your focus on creating a culture high on purpose, the “how” will eventually present itself.

2. Communication must be constant

Leaders must communicate both from a technical standpoint and reinforce inspiration & acknowledgment of their people.

3. Invest in your people

The organizations that are passionate about developing & building their people win and come out on top.

4. Persist until you succeed

Persistence is the backbone of the organizations that thrive through extreme change.


Happy People – The Main Ingredient for Organizational Success

I recently read an article by Stuart R. Levine, called “What can we learn from the history of change management?” about the organizational change management movement of the 90s. “Prior to the emergence of the formal discipline of change management, most change efforts ignored the people and the culture within an organization. (more…)


Reactive vs. Proactive Responses to Change

“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”  John F. Kennedy

Change can be difficult when you are afraid of the outcome. Past experiences and fears can prevent you from taking control of your behaviors and actions, which you need to do to make successful changes. Major change is never easy or painless, but you can (more…)


7 Steps for Overcoming Personal Resistance to Change

As change leaders, you are not immune to the emotional impact of change. To lead others, you must understand the role and importance of resistance, manage your own reactions and overcome your opposition first.

Major change is often accompanied by a great deal of emotion. Negative emotions about change, such as fear, manifest as resistance, while positive emotions energize you towards action. All of your emotions are valid, important, and necessary to the change process, because they provide clues and signals that direct your path through transformation.

The more negatively you view a change, the more you will resist it. But resistance can be a good thing. It is nature’s way of helping you navigate perceived dangerous situations with caution. You have to understand and value the role of resistance in keeping you and those you lead safe—without judging or labeling it.

It is also true that the more you perceive a change as positive, the more excitement and energy you feel towards making the change—even though you might still experience some fear. Positive emotions like hope motivate you and those you lead towards constructive ideas and actions.

The key to mobilizing for change is to transform negative emotions into positive ones by addressing fears and concerns.

  1. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and recognize them as protective, self-preserving signals from your subconscious.
  2. Accept your emotional reaction to change and give your feelings expression. Expressing your feelings is healthy, as long as it is not at anyone else’s expense. Cry if you are sad, laugh if you are joyous, and scream if you feel frustrated (you may want to consider screaming into a pillow or when you are alone in your car!). Talk to someone you trust or write or “journal” if that is more your style. You need to give yourself the opportunity to release emotional energy before you can get logical and practical about the change.
  3. Explore the messages your emotions are bringing to you. Ask, “What are my feelings telling me?” Be nonjudgmental and honest with yourself—especially when you examine your negative emotions.
  4. Write down your hopes as well as your fears and concerns. Things are a lot less scary when they are not whirling aimlessly in your head. Sometimes your fears have no basis in reality, but you can’t see that until you look at them closely.
  5. Write down your questions about the change and try to find out the answers to as many of them as you can. Remember—less “unknown” means less “fear”!
  6. Study what you have written. Doubtless, all the outcomes you consider are possible—but which ones are most probable? Identify and focus on those that are likely to happen and let go of the far-fetched concerns for now.
  7. Prepare yourself the best way you can for the likely outcomes. Control and influence what you can in the process and let go of the rest. There is no point in wasting energy on something you cannot do anything about. Make a transition plan that considers all your options, your support system, and your behavioral response to change.