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Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas Hardcover – September 4, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

...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.


From the Back Cover

Fear Less: Introducing New Ideas into Organizations48 patterns for driving and sustaining change in your organization

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

  • Understand the forces in your organization that drive and retard change
  • Plant the seeds of change
  • Drive participation and buy-in, from start to finish
  • Choose an "official skeptic" to sharpen your thinking
  • Make your changes appear less threatening
  • Find the right timing and the best "teaching moments"
  • Sustain your momentum
  • Handle adversity, celebrating success

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!

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley; 1 edition (September 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201741571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201741575
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #914,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael Cohn on May 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Change is hard. I've been part of companies that merged, were acquired, acquired others, downsized drastically, changed the CEO, moved corporate headquarters to another state and completely changed their target market. The change was difficult in each of these circumstances. That's not particularly surprising. What is surprising is that change is also difficult when doing something as seemingly simple as changing the company health plan. I wish I'd read this book before going through those changes.

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." The book codified some of the things I've done for years without thinking about why but more importantly it also presented ideas I hadn't thought of. For example, the "Champion Skeptic" pattern says to designate a skeptical, strong opinion leader to be the "official skeptic." I've always made a point of involving these skeptics because they can become your best advocates if you convert them. However, I've experimented with the idea as presented here and it works well.

Change will remain hard, even after reading this book. But, you'll be much better prepared and you should find many of the patterns here very helpful.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever wondered how to effectively introduce new ideas in your organization and get them to fly? Wonder why some people effortlessly get buy-in on their ideas while you struggle? Mary Lynn Manns, Ph. D. and Linda Rising, Ph. D. reveal some of those secrets in the book Fearless Change - Patterns For Introducing New Ideas (Addison Wesley).

Chapter list:

Part 1 - Overview: Organizations and Change; Strategies or Patterns; Where Do I Start?; What Do I Do Next?; Meetings and More; Take Action!; It's All About People; A New Role: Now You're Dedicated!; Convince The Masses; More Influence Strategies; Keep It Going; Dealing with Resistance

Part 2 - Experiences: Multiple Sclerosis Society Experience Report; UNCA Experience Report; Sun Core J2EE Patterns Experience Report; Customer Training Experience Report

Part 3 - The Patterns

Appendix; References; Index

I'd have typed in each of the patterns, but that would have put me over Amazon's word limit on reviews! :-)

The concept of "patterns" involve finding a practice, or a method of doing something that is successful and can be applied to multiple situations. This is similar to the use of patterns in programming, where you use a particular type of program structure to solve a problem, knowing that the architecture and process has been proven to work in multiple settings. Manns and Rising use this pattern concept to show how you can successfully push new ideas through in an organization without making mistakes that will derail you before you even get started.

For instance, "Location, Location, Location" talks about how moving to a off-site area (or a very nice area) can limit distractions and also show the group how important the idea is.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
While rapid change has always been a fundamental component of the computing field, recent changes have been far more substantial and difficult to deal with. In the past, changes were generally things like the introduction of a new language or a change in the structure of an old language. While these were difficult, experienced IT workers grew to accept them as part of the job.

However, the recent changes are far more significant and often differences in kind rather than differences in degree. Previously, collaboration between programmers could usually be handled by a gathering in a meeting room. Now, with the globalization of a project, organizing a collaboration literally is a difference between night and day. While it is daytime for some of the workers, for those on the other side of the world it is nighttime. There are also cultural, social and language differences to be factored into the communication protocols. Writing the source code is constantly shrinking as a relative percentage of the effort needed to create a software package. Developers are being forced to learn more about the business side and need to talk intelligently and persuasively about return on investment, time to market and profit/loss expectations.

Manns and Rising describe fundamental methods that can be used to introduce change into an organization without having the cure be worse than the disease. As the presence of the word "patterns" in the title indicates, these are not specific recommendations for particular types of changes. They are general formulas for smoothly transitioning a social and political structure from one systemic belief to another.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G on May 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I had found myself moderately successful at introducing new ideas and influencing change in my organizations, but never knew why, or how to improve my ability to influence and sustain the change effort. The lightbulb was illuminated immediately upon getting a few patterns into this book- I had been, in one way or another, using some of these patterns without realizing it. Opportunities I had failed to take advantage of in the past became obvious as well in many patterns that were new to me, and in the past went unrecognized (next time, they will either be easy to spot or part of the plan in the first place!)

Once you are able to recognize techniques as patterns, influence becomes something much more controllable. This is a powerful, easy-to-use (and reuse) toolkit for introducing ideas and influencing change. I believe that those experienced in influencing change will find a well thought out set of techniques and those unsure of even how to start will have a great roadmap and set of practices to start with and to invoke as-needed as their change efforts evolve.
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