Mark Pearl

An optimist is someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a cha-cha



While change brings opportunities, for a lot of people it brings a bit of worry, and a lot of unknowns. Most people, including organizations, don’t like unknowns - or are at least wary of them.

Biggest challenges in creating change

1) Afraid I might hurt my reputation/career
2) My colleagues are resistant to most new ideas
3) Unclear how decisions really get made
4) My ideas go against the culture of my organization
5) Working through approval processes makes me crazy
6) I hate dealing with conflict and controversy

Six reasons people say NO to change

1) It’s just not that important to them
2) They can’t understand what the “it” is
3) Bad timing
4) Uncertainty makes them nervous
5) They don’t like the idea and can’t tell you
6) They love the way things are

When implementing change mindful of…

  • Assumptions (hold us back)
  • Address your colleagues worries (tailor your ideas to make them look less bad)

Good Rebels vs Bad Rebels

What are rebels? Rebels are change agents.
Rebels are people who rebel against what no longer works.
You can be a good rebel, be careful not to be a bad rebel.

Good Rebel Bad Rebel
Create Complain
Mission focussed Me-focussed
Optimist Pessimist
Possibilities Problems
Passion Anger
Attract support Alienate people
Questions Assertions
Pinpoint causes Pinpoint fingers
Listen Lecture
Wonder if Worry that
Reluctant Obsessed


Skills needed by Change Agents

  • Communicate to effect behaviour (what’s at stake, what could be, show it can work)
  • Prove it can work
  • There can be no change without conflict – become comfortable with conflict (learn to listed, ask people what’s in the way, ask for alternatives…)
  • Learn how to strategically address bullies
  • Frame your idea so people understand what you are talking about
  • Don’t go it alone when creating change
  • 10% minority rule – when you get 10% of a group to believe in an idea, it becomes a real idea and has a much higher likelihood of being approved
  • Understand when decisions are made and how things work and get done
  • Make friends with bureaucratic black belts (legal people, management, etc.)
  • Get to know the people who don’t agree with you


Self-Care for Change Agents

  • Gratitude - be grateful
  • Penalty Boxes – if you end up in penalty box for positive intent, know you’ll recover. Use the time to observe, set new strategy
  • Friendships – outside of work friends = priceless to sanity, well-being.
  • Get outside – all adventures are easier when you’re healthy, fit, rested


Change Management Explanation
Book - Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within
Run with the Rebel Wild Pack - Lois Kelley, O’Reilly Software Architecture Conf
Exposing fear of change

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