...there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries...and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.
—Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
You miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take.
—Wayne Gretzky, Hall of Fame hockey player
Since you picked up this book, we assume that you've tried to introduce something new into your organization. Maybe you were successful or maybe you were not completely happy with the result. Change is hard. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the people, just like you, those "powerless leaders," who have had some success in their attempts to introduce a new idea, could sit down with you and share their secrets? This book will provide the next best thing. We've gathered strategies from those successful people so you can take advantage of their experience.
We've been working on introducing new ideas into the workplace for some time. Mary Lynn Manns is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, whose recent doctoral work concerned this topic. Linda Rising is an independent consultant who has experience introducing new ideas both in academia and industry. Together with all the others who have shared their experiences with us, we have many years of documented successes.
Each technique or strategy we have collected is written as a pattern—a form of knowledge management for capturing a recurring, successful practice. The patterns in this book are the result of years of documenting our observations, hearing from people who have introduced new ideas, reading a variety of views on the topics of change and influence, studying how change agents throughout history have tackled the problems they faced, and sharing our work for comments and feedback. This book, the final product, does not simply reflect our ideas but includes those of many different people in many different organizations throughout the world. Expert change leaders are likely to say "I do that!" when they read many of these techniques. We will take this comment as a tribute to our work because our goal was to identify tried and true practices, not just a collection of good ideas that may or may not work.
The idea of documenting patterns for successful solutions to recurring problems was introduced by a building architect named Christopher Alexander. Even though we are not architects, a number of us in the software development community have adopted Alexander's approach as a way to capture known solutions for software architecture, software design, testing, customer interaction, and other aspects of software development. The introduction of new ideas is, of course, not limited to the software area, but it's where we both began to see a new source for important and useful patterns.
We intend this book for business practitioners rather than academic scholars, so we have chosen not to cite sources inside the text. However, we are always happy to answer any questions about the specific sources and the patterns. This work is built on research, including that of Robert Cialdini, Malcolm Gladwell, Geoffrey Moore, E.M. Rogers, Peter Senge, and many others. We have included a complete list of citations in the References section, if you would like to read further.
The patterns are listed alphabetically, with a brief summary, on the inside front and back covers of the book. Pattern names include a page reference where the complete pattern may be found, for example, Fear Less(?). As we describe pattern uses and experience reports, you will see a pattern reference and you can turn to the appropriate page and read more about the pattern. This book can thus become a reference after you have read the initial chapters. When looking for the solution to a particular problem, you can simply skim the summaries and refer to the complete pattern description for a more detailed explanation.
This pattern collection has evolved over several years thanks to many pattern originators and countless others who have provided comments, pattern uses, and other feedback. Even though the book has now been published, we continue to care for these patterns and would like to hear from all of you, our readers. As Christopher Alexander noted:
We may then gradually improve these patterns which we share, by testing them against experience: we can determine, very simply, whether these patterns make our surroundings live, or not, by recognizing how they make us feel.
Change. It's brutally tough to initiate, even harder to sustain. It takes too long. People resist it. But without it, organizations die. Fortunately, you can succeed at making change. In Fear Less, Linda Rising and Mary Lynn Manns reveal 48 patterns of behavior associated with successful change in knowledge-driven organizations, and show exactly how to use them in your organization.
Find out how to
Inspired by the "pattern languages" that are transforming fields from software to architecture, the authors illuminate patterns for every stage of the change process: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. These flexible patterns draw on the experiences of hundreds of leaders. They offer powerful insight into change agent behavior, organizational culture, and the roles of every participant. Best of all, they're easy to use—and they work!
Just like all books on patterns, this gives you the feeling of 'oh, this is soooo obvious' the first reading it.
A large part of my current work is in helping companies manage the transition from how they currently develop software to developing software with an "agile process."
As everyone is involved in selling their ideas at some point, this book will be important to just about everyone across an organization.
This is a great book for people who are in positions where they don't think they can enact change, there many patterns given to adapt to your situation.Published 6 months ago by Gregg Marshall
I heard the authors speak at an event and found them thoroughly engaging, which lead me to try to read Fearless Change, although I really can't find anything to recommend it. Read morePublished on February 2, 2010 by Jason Roselander
We are in a time of massive change. Most people are under the impression that people hate change and that change is hard. Read morePublished on November 11, 2009 by Greg Ferguson
The book I had ordered arrived much earlier than I had expected.
I very much appreciate this prompt service.
Fearless Change is a catalogue of patterns for introducing change in a company. Personally I've been in the role of change agent for years and this book provided me many "ah-hah"s... Read morePublished on February 3, 2007 by Bas Vodde
Another patterns book -- it certainly is a popular type of book these days. I got about half-way through this one before someone else wanted to read it. What can I say? Not bad. Read morePublished on October 24, 2006 by talkaboutquality
Just like all books on patterns, this gives you the feeling of 'oh, this is soooo obvious' the first reading it. Read morePublished on March 1, 2006 by Phillip Calcado Vilar Souza
Whether we acknowledge it or not, everyone in an organization has the responsibility to drive positive, forward change. Read morePublished on February 19, 2005 by Robert L. Galen