Category Archives: Change Management

Challenging the Status Quo


“The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo.” —Bob Iger

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


The Status Quo

As Marshall Goldsmith said, “What got you here won’t get you there.” What is sufficient for success today will not be sufficient tomorrow. You must learn to be agile. Evaluate where you are today and where you want to go. Will continuing on your current route get you there? If you are seeking long-term success you must constantly challenge the status quo.

What is your mission?

Your purpose should provide a clear mission. Who needs you? What do they need and why? What must you do to meet those needs? When you have a reasoned mission, you have a clear picture of where you are going and how you will behave on your journey. This clarity allows you to remain calm during times of adversity. It helps you view the lessons of past experiences with an eye for the future. With a clear mission you will find it easier to stay true to your values. Colin Powell reminds us, “Fit no stereotypes. Don’t chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team’s mission.” Continually challenge the status quo in light of your mission.


John Emmerling tells us, “Innovation is creativity with a job to do.” Innovation allows you to create something new that meets an unmet need and provides value. The ability to innovate requires that you overcome our fear of challenging the status quo. When you take all of your small ideas and combine them, you often come up with one, great idea. Focus on looking for ways to innovate everywhere. Listen to the needs of your customers, employees, and stakeholders as you consider challenging the status quo.


When you challenge the status quo you open yourself to seeing opportunity where you least expect it. Ask questions. What is working and what isn’t? How can I make it or do it better? Milton Berle said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Constantly step outside your comfort zone. Take on challenging situations. Be willing to look at situations from a new perspective. Welcome opportunities to collaborate in new and creative ways. Look to the work of others for inspiration and opportunity to reevaluate the status quo.


Change is a necessity; we must change or we become obsolete.  William Pollard said, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”Learn to question the status quo and then embrace the change that is required to achieve success today, tomorrow, and into the future.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Howard Schultz believes that, “Any business today that embraces the status quo as an operating principle is going to be on a death march.” It would be foolish to think that you can continue to be successful by doing the same things tomorrow that you did yesterday. You must learn to adapt your thinking to embrace new challenges, strategies, and ways of approaching your work. Clarify your mission, pursue innovation, seek opportunity, and embrace change. Challenge the status quo and move your business forward.


© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli


Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


How Are You Managing Change?



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“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” —Arnold Bennett

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


Why Change

Fight it all you want, change is inevitable. When we fail to embrace change we cause ourselves undue stress and waste valuable time and resources. Why change? Change becomes necessary when the needs of our organization, customers, or employees change.

How We Change

Once we realize that needs have changed, and therefore we need to evolve; we must set a realistic change goal. Every level of management must roll-up their sleeves and get involved. Employees must understand and believe the reason for the change and the benefit to them personally. The organization must be committed to pursuing the long-term vision and the change requirements associated with it. Here are four factors that will help you manage change.


Have a clear purpose. How will this change influence, improve, and impact others? What problem are you solving or what are you improving on? How will it benefit you customers? How will employees benefit? How does this change fit into the overall organizational objectives? People’s main concern is their own well-being; your employees need a clear understanding of your purpose and how they will be impacted by the change.


Create a proper plan for implementing change. Spend extra time formulating a good plan. Build flexibility in the plan. Set clear goals, identify milestones, and outline the timeframe. Ensure that goals are ambitious, yet attainable. What scope does the plan cover and what are the deliverables? Identify what success looks like. Determine what relationships and resources you will need to accomplish your goals. Do your plans for change fit with the vision of the organization? You must determine a budget for the plan. Specifically identify who will be accountable for each task. Then, bring the right team of people together to implement the plan. Check results early and often to ensure you are not veering off course.


Develop an organizational culture that embraces change. Your culture should encourage a sense of responsibility, camaraderie, and generosity. Encourage the development of strong relationships throughout your organization. Let employees share in the leadership responsibility. Make sure you have the right people serving in the right roles. Provide engaging work for your employees and allow every employee to use their expertise in achieving shared goals. Build loyalty by promoting a positive culture that encourages employee participation. You should encourage innovation and allow for mistakes. Help employees develop collaborative and decision-making skills. Promote transparency. Create an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect where teams are motivated and engaged.


Successful change management is more dependent on communication than on strategy. Make sure you are clearly communicating with your employees early and often. Set an example of the level of communication that is expected. Talk truthfully about change. Be genuine in both your words and actions. Clearly outline ownership and accountability. Promote a common understanding of the long-term vision of the organization as well as the immediate goal. Listen more than you speak and ensure that you understand what’s being said. Communication is the only way to succeed. If your communication isn’t reaching your team, you won’t be successful at managing change.


Change is inherently uncomfortable, but the fact is we must change or we become obsolete. Failing to recognize the need for change can result in wasted time, energy, and resources. You can minimize the fear and resistance associated with change by defining and sharing a clear purpose for the change; by setting realistic goals; and evaluating who and how others with be affected by the change. Communicate the purpose, goals, and benefits to all parties that will be impacted. Always be transparent and open in your communication. Develop a culture within your organization that is agile and embraces change. Create a plan for the implementation of change and outline how success will be measured. Engage employees in the process of identifying the need for change, formulating a plan, and implementing the change. When employees are invested in the change process managing change can be a positive, transforming experience.



© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli


Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


Organizational Culture Stumbling Blocks


Organizational Culture Stumbling Blocks

“Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way.”— Louis L’Amour

 By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


         A Healthy Culture

The culture of our organization serves as the foundation with which we build all other structures that allow us to accomplish our organizational objectives. A healthy culture is the result of continuous evaluation and development. As we work towards improving our organizational culture, we often encounter stumbling blocks. These stumbling blocks result in lost time and frustration. But, if we can recognize them, we can overcome them.

       Stumbling Blocks

While the list is many, here are a few of the stumbling blocks that can affect our ability to improve the culture of organization.

               Lack of trust

Lack of trust in the boss does not necessarily mean loss of trust. If you have lost the trust of your employees, struggling to improve your organizational culture is only one of your many problems. If your employees do not trust you, they will not follow you. Lack of trust, on the other hand, often stems from the perception that you are unable to identify with the issues of your employees at their level. Employees are leery of supporting initiatives that have been designed from a top-down perspective. Get out on the floor, talk to your employees, roll-up your sleeves and work with them. See the world from their point-of-view. When employees trust that you are setting the cultural GPS based on the view from their level they are far more likely to give you their full support.

                “It’s not my job”

The “it’s not my job” mentality can become like a contagious disease once it sets in, spreading through your organization like wildfire. This type of attitude prevents the development of a cohesive, supportive, helpful, encouraging work environment. This negative environment is not conducive to any type of positive cultural growth. Our organizations benefit when we have an adaptable, flexible workforce. As leaders, we need to educate our employees on the benefits of developing new skills, gaining new knowledge, and sharing our skills and knowledge with others. We must set clear expectations and then empower employees to take ownership for their work. The change in mindset will do wonders for your company’s culture.

                       Lack of empowerment

Employees who are not empowered feel that they have little or no control over their own work. This results in lack of engagement and low morale both of which will have a negative impact on organizational culture. By empowering employees, we provide them with discretion and independence over their work, a belief that their work is important and has meaning, that they are seen as competent to perform well, that they are active participants, and their actions and decisions matter. Empowering employees requires us, as leaders, to trust our employees and to take the risk of allowing those employees to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. Empowered employees are more optimistic about the contributions that they can make to the organization. Their optimism is contagious and that is always good for organizational culture.                

                Negative internal politics

Negative internal politics result in distrust and fear. Anytime your employees feel they have to question the motives, words, or actions of upper management you are going to struggle to get anything accomplished. The best solution to this problem is authenticity and communication.


These stumbling blocks hinder our ability to develop and maintain an organizational culture that supports the vision and goals necessary in a business environment where innovation and agility are key factors to success. These same stumbling blocks affect many other aspects of leadership. Over the next few weeks we will look at other facets of our organizations and some of the other obstacles we encounter.