Steve: Welcome to all of our Becoming Your Best Podcast listeners wherever you might be in the world today. This is your host, Steve Shallenberger and we have a very talented guest with us today. She’s a person who helps others be successful in the middle of change and welcome Barbara Trautlein. We’re so excited to have you here today.
Barbara: Well, thank you so much. I’m very excited to be here.
Steve: All righty. Well, before we get started I’d like to tell you a little bit about Barbara’s background. She is a PhD, she’s an author of the bestselling book, “Change Intelligence: Use the Power of CQ to Lead Change That Sticks.” She is the principal and founder of Change Catalysts and the originator of the CQ system for developing change intelligent leaders and organizations.
So for over 25 years, Barbara’s coached executives, trained leaders at all levels and certified change agents and facilitated mission, critical change management initiatives. Like she’s just done the extraordinary job in this area, she’s received many awards. She’s worked all over the world and has clients all over the world.
So we’re excited to have you here and before we get going if you don’t mind, I think the best way to start out is to help people get a little feel for your background. What was your life like growing up and maybe some of the experiences that help you do what you’re able to do today?
Barbara: Yeah. Thank you so much for the opportunity to do that. I really appreciate it. Yeah. Well, I was born back in the 60s and, you know, 1964 right on the cusp of the baby boomers and Gen X. So it was, you know, obviously interesting times and then I grew up on Long Island, New York. So you might sense some kind of an accent.
But actually for since the mid-80s I’ve been living and working in the Midwest of the United States starting off around Detroit, Motor City and then we moved to the Chicago land area where I am now. And so, that is actually a great specific story to talk about is when I moved to the Midwest to go to graduate school at the University of Michigan back in the mid-80s.
As you and many of our listeners may recall what the Midwest was known as at that time was the Rust Belt. And why were we known as the Rust Belt is because we’re experiencing an economic recession. There was a lot of foreign competition obviously, around Detroit, Motor City, a lot of automotive plants and related industries, they were shutting down in danger of shutting down.
And when I went to graduate school I actually got a part time job at a consulting firm and my consulting firm was working with a steel company that was already in bankruptcy. And obviously, we’re trying to turn them around to return them to solvency. So I was literally 25 years old on my first day on the job in this bankrupt steel mill.
Yeah. And, you know, that was again, talk about learning under fire, right? And, you know, definitely, an opportunity to become your best let’s say, right? In a very challenging situation. So there I am, you know, again I’m 25 years old. I’m the only female in the room. I am the youngest by 20 or 30 or 40 years than every other men in the room had worked in that mill pretty much their whole career.
And so I get up and as you can tell I’m rather enthusiastic and I enthusiastically talk about how we’re gonna partner together to transform them to high performance, total quality, self-managed teams. You can paint the picture, right? And I’m all enthusiastic introducing myself. Up stands a gentleman from the very back of the room. He’s 6 foot, 5 inch, he’s 250 pounds.
Just picture this grizzled steel worker, total stereotype you can picture in your mind. He stomps to the front of the room and he says, “We’re steel workers and we don’t listen to girls.”
Barbara: So that literally was my first day on the job and, you know, and as I always say Steve, why did he do that, why did the gentleman say that? Well, you know, I didn’t take it personally. I mean, you know, there was a lot of fear in the room, right? There was a lot of fear. The steel man was already in bankruptcy. It was the only game in town. It was the only job that most of them knew.
So I knew that there was a lot of fear and threat and confusion in the targets of the change. And yet, I also knew right from that first day on my job that there was a lot of, you know, fear and confusion and intimidation by the change leader standing in front of the room. So that’s how I got on this path, Steve, on developing change intelligence for people, teams and organization.
Steve: Well, great. Well, we can’t…excuse me, pardon me. We can’t wait to hear more about this today. This would be great and what a environment of change that you’re able to be exposed to and be involved with and of course change is far more than just something that’s mechanical. Change involves real people, doesn’t it?
Barbara: Absolutely. And, you know, there’s a very high failure factor of change. There’s been studies done from back when I started in the mid-80s by John Kotter and his colleagues at Harvard.
That shows that when you look at major organizational change whether it’s a turn around like in the steel mill.
Or a new facility startup or a merger acquisition, new technology implementation, process changes, you know. So many of the things that your listeners are no doubt dealing with in their working lives, there’s incredibly high failure rate. Some people say 70% or more of major changes found. When I went down the path about five years ago of, you know, writing my book and creating the assessment about “Change Intelligence,” I did some more research.
And at the time at McKinsey and Consulting had just, the global consulting firm had just published the similar study with similar results with 70% of changes fail. To me that’s very scary than in the span of, you know, over a 20-year period we barely move the needle on our ability to design and implement change that sticks.
And so you’re right, that’s definitely more than just the, you know, the process and tools, and the models of managing change.
Steve: Right. And so what we wanna do in part of really becoming your best is to increase your odds of being successful in the middle of all this change which is gonna happen again and again and again throughout our lives. And it sounds like that’s really what you focused on is how do we set people up to succeed.
Barbara: Exactly. Because I think that that is the key missing ingredient. That we do focus so much on the process and the method and, you know, maybe the goals that we want to achieve and what do we drop out? We drop out the people side of change. And the most common topic in the change management literature is overcoming resistance to change, overcoming resistance to change.
And so, the focus is really on other people and doing something to other people. And having worked in as you said, you know, many different industries, fields to health care, to high tech, retail, finance with leaders at all levels. I know that people start off leading change and dealing with change with the best intentions.
You know, very hopeful that this is gonna help steer us to new directions and beat our competitive challenges and continue to grow. So we start off with great intentions. However, at some point it, often feels like we’re pushing the string. And it can feel like, we’re getting resistance from others. Why aren’t people getting on board?
Why aren’t they seeing what we need to do differently to survive and thrive? It’s very frustrating for people who are attempting to lead change. And really, we start feeling like we’re trying to do something to people or against them or even in spite of them. And, you know, yeah, and I see that time and time again.
It can be so frustrating dealing with changes whether they are idea they’re imposed on us and we need to carry them out. And so really, what can we control? Right? What can we control? We can only control ourselves, we could maybe wanna change others, right? But I have two teenagers in here at home. So I know very well as a mom that you can unfortunately, maybe fortunately control others or force change on others.
Really all we can control is ourselves, our mindsets and our behavior. And that’s what really building change intelligence is all about. It’s turning the mirror back on ourselves and asking how can we transform what looks like resistance in others from enemy to ally, from our enemy to our ally. To look at resistance out there as a source of information for something we can do differently which is the only thing that we can control.
So we can become our best and by our shining example, we can partner with others to become our collective best.
Steve: Okay. All right. We’ll good. That’s an excellent background on this and we hear about IQ of course and emotional intelligence. Well, you’re talking about change intelligent, you call it CQ. And so what can people do, what can leaders do and individuals in their lives personally, set themselves up to succeed in the process of change?
In other words, how do we get away from programs of the year or change projects that fail to really stick and create the results that make a difference?
Barbara: Absolutely great question. And so, you know, what is change intelligence first of all. And this is a great opportunity for your listeners maybe to think about the definition in the model and see how it applies to themselves. That’s how they can get some great actionable insights that they can walk away with and start doing something differently, more powerfully, more positively immediately.
Steve: Okay. Great. Yeah.
Barbara: And by the way…yes, right. So the definition of change intelligence is that it’s the awareness of our style of leading change and the ability to adapt our style to be more effective across people and situations. So that’s got two parts. First of all, we need to be aware of our style and therefore when we’re aware of our style what’s the corollary of that.
We become aware that there’s other styles, there’s other possible behaviors that we can engage in when we’re leading change. And if we’re aware of more options, we have more power. The more options we have, the more power we have. Power to do things with and for others rather than against and in spite and to others. So that’s the definition.
Steve: That’s good.
Barbara: So if that’s the definition, what’s…yeah, exactly. So what are those styles, right? Well, I see three main styles of leading change. So again, think about and I’d be interested, Steve, in which applies to yourself also. There’s three main styles, leading from the head, leading from the heart, leading from the hand. Okay? Head, heart, hand. So let’s start with the heart.
Everything starts with the heart. Change leaders who start with the heart, they focus on people when they are faced with change leading change. And by the way, I say the term “leading change” not everybody sees themselves as a leader, but I see everyone as a leader.
Steve: Right. Agreed.
Barbara: I see regards the level, titles. Right, exactly. We’re all leaders in our lives. We can’t be leaves blowing in the wind. Right? So I say leader, you can hear people, you can hear whatever, but we’re all leaders. So when they encounter a change, heart focused change leaders, what is on their radar screen are the people and the teams impacted by the change.
So therefore, it’s a strength based model, their strengths are that they care a lot. They collaborate. They communicate. They have empathy for people. They wanna build teams. They wanna build trust. Right? So those are strengths. However, based on your experience, Steve, I’ll just ask you, how can you think that sometimes any strength can be overdone, right?
And sometimes we can also…since we have a strength and that’s so much in our blind…on our radar screen namely the people, in this case, we can be blind to other important aspects of the change. So I’ll just ask you, if you are a high heart leader or you work with them, what do you think could be an overdone strength or a blind spot?
Steve: Well, right. That was exactly what I was thinking as you look at these three styles and gauge the heart, the head and equip the hands you really need all three of them to work together to be highly effective in creating the change. Because it’s great to have trust. But if they don’t understand what it takes to get there.
Or they are not equipped with the tools they need, they may not be able to effectively make the change. So in my mind you really need all three. Now, you may have somebody that has a tendency to be stronger in one or the other, but all these levers would seem to me to be quite important. So they’re great points.
Barbara: No. Actually, Steve, and you’ve jumped ahead and you got to the bottom line right away. So that’s exactly right. As I always say, what often looks like resisting in others is that they don’t get it which is the head. They don’t want it which is the heart or they just can’t do it which is the hands. And so you’re right, effective change needs all three.
And so therefore, it’s an opportunity for as change leaders to say, “All right, I have a strength in X.” To your point, “I have a strength in really engaging with people. I’m very high heart oriented. However, I know that sometimes maybe I can overdo my strength. I can listen too much, right? Or I can have blind spot.
I can fail to move forward to the goal, the head oriented style, you know, part of change. I can fail to move forward with an absolute sense of urgency so we can achieve our justice together. Right? So oftentimes what we do when we’re under stress and now we’re getting into some neuroscience here.
What happens in our brains when we encounter change is that literally to our brain, change equals pain. Literally, through our brain the same your neuro receptors fire when we encounter a change in our life, in our workplace as when we feel physical pain. So resistance is normal and natural, right? And I think that’s an empowering message for everyone.
Resistance in ourselves, resistance in others. I mean, some people are much more change friendly than others and they get over that much more quickly. But for all of us we get triggered like that and so change equals pain. And what does our bodies do when we get into threat, right? We go into fight, flight, freeze mode. Our good stuff, oxygen, glucose. It sucks out of our brain.
It goes to our bodies to fight, flight or freeze literally. And so, literally change makes us dumber, literally change. And they’ve done studies where change, fear, threat, pain, reduces our cognitive capacity. Literally, we lose IQ points in change, right? And so what do we need? We need our cognitive capacity. We need all our smarts to be able to make good decisions.
So what often happens is that we go to our dominant responses. When we’re in fear and threat, we do more of what we’ve always done, what we’re comfortable with, what our strengths are, right? And that’s when we get in that mode of feeling like, we’re pushing the strength. Right?
Steve: Right, right.
Barbara: Because we’re trying trying trying. Exactly it’s the definition of insanity, doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Until this gives us by building our change intelligence, we recognize that you’re right. We may have a dominant style and that’s what my assessment shows that you have a dominant style.
One, two or some people are, you know, savvy in all three and it shows you that, yes, that I have other options. We all have a head, heart and most of us have two hands, right? We can all do all three. And so, it gives us an opportunity again to sit back, to reflect, to put our own oxygen mask. And to think that what can I do differently here to get a more powerful result, to build relationships with other people to achieve powerful positive results together.
Steve: Wow. Okay. Well, that’s terrific. So Barbara is really helping us see that in the middle of a change there’s a couple of key factors here. One is the awareness of your style that she’s just talked about which is great. What’s your tendency? And number two is to adapt so that you can be more effective, is that right?
Barbara: Absolutely. And, you know, I love your books, Steve. Thank you so much for sending me a copy of “Becoming Your Best.” It’s, you know, it’s a great read and, you know, I resonate with everything you wrote.
Steve: Thank you.
Barbara: And especially I love the fact that you brought up the golden rule, right? “Treat others the way that you wanna be treated.”
Barbara: Yeah. Sometimes in leading change, we talk about not just the golden rule, but also the platinum rule.
Barbara: And I didn’t make these stuff up. Yeah. I wish I did make this stuff, but I didn’t. I forget exactly where this quote actually came from. But, you know, I heard about it early in my career and I’ve always used it which is “Do unto others as they wanna be done unto.”
Barbara: “Do unto others as they…” Yeah. So it’s not about changing yourself any more than you can change others, right? It’s not about changing from a heart oriented, to a head oriented change leader, from one style to other. To your point, we need all these styles, right? And it’s really about adapting our behavior, adapting our behavior. What can we as leaders do differently so that other people can get it, want it, and be able to do it?
Steve: Okay, good. Now, repeat for our listeners one more time the platinum rule. Let’s get that one down.
Barbara: Yes, let’s land that one. The platinum rule is “Do unto others as they want to be done unto.”
Steve: Yeah. That’s taken it to another level, isn’t it?
Barbara: Yeah. Because again, so often that, you know, what looks like resistance in others that, you know, a lot of time leaders especially at the tops of organizations, right? You know, people are leading teams in organizations, they are the most bought into the need for change because they’ve been thinking about it the most.
They have maybe a more of a vista into what’s happening outside of their team and in a competitive environment, all that good stuff, right? So they get the need for the change the most. However, they also tend to be the most isolated from the impact of the changes throughout their organization like, you know, the TV show “Undercover Boss,” right?
Barbara: You’re familiar with that?
Barbara: Yeah. Like our CEO masquerades as the frontline employee for a week or two and sees how hard it is for good people to behave consistently with the change. So, you know, the higher you get in an organization, the harder it is to get any feedback at all, let alone real time and actionable feedback.
As one CEO said to me once, he said, “Barbara, it’s like we’re all monkeys in a tree. We’re all monkeys in a tree and I’m the top monkey and I looked down and I see the smiling faces of the monkeys below me.” And then he said, “And then they look up in what do they see.” And he patted his bottom.
Steve: That’s awesome.
Barbara: So that’s what I see so often especially, you know, the senior ranks is that, you know, they get it. But do they take the time and use, you know, multiple method, multiple strategies to really communicate effectively in a way that’s gonna resonate with other people in the organization. Instead of a top down focusing on just that, just the vision and the strategy and the exciting zeal towards new horizon, are the really communicating with the heart.
Right? Are they really helping people, you know, see what’s in it for them, address their needs and concerns, overcoming their fear. And importantly are they equipping their hands? Are they really…so often what looks like resistance is that good people get it and want it, but they just can’t do it. They don’t have the tools, they don’t have the training and sometimes barriers standing in the way.
There’s communication systems, there’s operational systems, there’s reward systems, there’s compensation systems which are really encouraging them. Or sometimes forcing them to behave in the old way. So absolutely right. So and then we can look at again, challenges at any level when it comes to leading change in an organization.
And that’s why the key is really to give other people to adapt ourselves, our behavior so that we can all again, collectively be our best.
Steve: Okay. Good. Well, there’s a couple of quick questions that come to mind. One of them is let’s take advantage of your years of experience and perspective. Never in history has there been a greater rate of change of disruption of threats to our organizations and even to our lives. So you just very accurately talked about what can happen to us when we’re confronted with change.
And the effects to us physically and emotionally and intellectually. When we’re faced with change, it hits us. So how can people get the mindset so that doesn’t happen. In other words, so they’re in a frame of mind of being ready to change, to take on change, to embrace it when it hits them. So that it doesn’t knock him back a few steps. Have you found something that’s helpful for people? So right from the very get-go, they say, “Okay. Here’s the issue, let’s attack it.”
Barbara: No, I think that’s a really great question and to your point, I sometimes wonder whether we’re gonna be talking about the need to manage change 5 or 10 years into the future. Because, you know, when I was growing up the definition of success was that you work in the same company, right? In the same functional area maybe, you know, getting your promotion for 30 years, right?
Now, my kids being teenagers, study shows they’re not just gonna change organization, they’ll change job. But they’re gonna change their entire careers maybe a dozen times in the course of their lives. So again, when you look at the, you know, the pace of technology change, the pace of changes in our, you know, world.
I’m just wondering whether we’re gonna be, you know, again, just raising kids who are just much more comfortable with the fact that the recognition and knowledge that change is ubiquitous and it’s not gonna slow down and the pace is just gonna continue to be on unrelenting. So that’s just one observation. However, given where we are now, right?
It is a fact that that’s what happened to our bodies and I think just partially, just the fact of recognizing that, just being aware that that’s what happens to you physiologically. And it’s not bad, it’s not wrong and you can’t prevent it. It’s what’s gonna happen. So I think just recognizing when we are getting triggered, when we’re getting hostile, when we’re getting in that fear threat mode.
And then recognizing that there are things that we can do that we can control. We maybe can’t control the initial reaction, but we can control what we can do next. We can as I say, leaders who are more or people who are more reflective are more effective. So we can again put our own message [inaudible 00:23:13], literally and figuratively stop, breathe and think.
Let the oxygen get back in our brain, right? You know, recognize that we have choices, we have alternatives. There are things that we can do. There are things that we can do. And also recognize that perhaps sometimes again, it’s us that’s in the way. That you know, question our mindset, question our…as we used to say back in the day, our paradigm.
Our assumption that things need to be the way they are. What can…so again, I think that to me, that is the critical first step is that the recognition that we are gonna have potentially a few threat negative reaction mentally, physically, emotionally to change. And then to two, to sit back, take a breath, think, recognize that we have choices.
Steve: Okay. That’s great advice. Now, you have talked about how the CQ can help individual change leaders and you have an assessment that helps people determine their CQ. And so tell us how that works.
Barbara: Yeah. Absolutely. So many of your readers are probably familiar with other assessment tools that help us understand ourselves. Whether it’s the Myers-Briggs, the DiSC, StrengthsFinder and the CQ assessment is similar in that you answer 20 questions, takes about 15 minutes to complete. You got to customize your core and it helps us understand.
It laser focuses on our style of leading change. So that’s the bottom line of the assessments. So you answer the questions and then you get a report that talks about, you know, the prevalence or my preference for leading from the heart, head or hand. And then when you put those three scores together, there’s actually seven different styles.
And so, the report talks about here are some of your strength, here’s how you sometimes overview your strengths to your blind spots. And here’s some suggestions about how you might wanna adapt your behavior so that you can be more effective. So that’s the assessment.
Steve: Okay. So it creates a baseline, an assessment of what your tendencies are now and then being aware of those, you can work on things and then maybe retake the assessment again. Do you find that’s helpful or?
Barbara: Yeah. You know, people can feel free to do that, but the key thing with the CQ assessment and kinda my mindset is that all styles are good. Right? All styles are good, there are all strength and we need all styles. It’s more the opportunity to be aware to your point of what our style is which the assessment’s helps and then to recognize that we can adapt our style.
Because really, the assessment talks about how do we prefer to lead and change. Do we prefer to focus on the people that’s the heart, the purpose that’s the head or the process that’s the hand? It really doesn’t talk about what our skill is in doing those things. Because we all have skills and abilities to be able to do all those other things. It’s just what do we prefer. So that’s what I mean.
We have all those tools in our tools bag already. The opportunity to recognize that sometimes we over rely on one tool or a set of tools and we forget we have the other ones. So really, it is about, you know, awareness and then to be able to adapt our behaviors. So I really don’t say that well, people need or the goal is to change your style. It’s to be aware of your style and to use that information to make you more effective.
Steve: Okay. That makes a lot of sense. That’s very helpful. Okay. Well, I’m always amazed at how fast time goes. We’re almost out of time.
Barbara: Yes, yes.
Steve: So before we wrap it up today can you share an experience or a couple of experiences that comes to mind of somebody applying these tools to change and how it helped them? How did it help them get better results?
Barbara: Yeah. Well, if you go to my website actually, changecatalysts.com there’s downloadable case studies about change intelligence. And in the words of clients both leaders, teams because you can do change intelligence at the team level as well as the organizations about how it helped them achieve results.
And you know, one that just leads to mind because literally, I just had a debrief with client who, you know, brought change intelligence internally and it’s a healthcare system. Just within the healthcare system they have, you know, many different hospitals in their system and they have 1,500 people who are former leaders who lead people throughout the system.
They could be, you know, physicians, nurses, administrators, all different kind of, you know, from supervisors to the C suite in the hospital system. And they had a series of CQ learning events where they built their individual and collective change intelligence. And I did a debrief with the team that was spearheading it to talk about the results that they are achieving.
And I was just so thrilled about some of the results I heard. So for example, you know, in healthcare right now, there are lots of mergers and acquisitions going on. So smaller community hospital are getting integrated with larger systems. And some of the leaders said that, you know, just building their collective change intelligence help them more quickly integrate new acquisitions.
You know, build the teams, get more consistent processes, all that. So there’s lots of examples like that. But my favorite insight that they shared, that 15% of their people, their leaders, 1,500 leaders that went through this spontaneously shared. It was open ended feedback that they gave, they could have commented on anything.
That building their change intelligence helped improve patient satisfaction. And I was just blown away by that, Steve. Because again, you know, think about everything that you’re dealing with. Let’s say you’re a nurse on a ward and your job and your passion, and your commitment is to be your best.
So that you can help patients in, you know, one of the most challenging times in their lives being in a hospital and their families. And yet, there you are, you’re needing to deal with all these changes whether it’s electronic data records. Or the new, you know, procedure that’s mandated by the other hospitals within that just acquired you. Or, you know, there’s new personnel on your team.
So those changes, whatever it is. You’re distracted by all these stuff. If you have tools to help you manage that better and therefore it frees you up, right? To be able to really do what you are meant to do, serve patients. I mean, I just was so moved by those results. So that’s just one example and in my book there’s lots of case studies and there’s more in my website also.
Steve: Okay. Good. Well, that’s excellent. Well, in the very heart to becoming your best is knowing how to change. How to improve and how to take heart and it takes place through practice and application. And this change intelligence is really a central part to it. So these are some great ideas. So how can our listeners, Barbara, learn more about what you’re doing?
SRS Interview with Barbara Trautlein 2 Aug 2017 The heart, head, and hands of CHANGE
Barbara: Yeah, absolutely. Well, going to my website, Changecatalysts.com is a great place to start. There’s downloadable case studies, tools. There’s audio, there’s video to listen to. And they can grab a copy of my book which is there’s a link to it on my website. You can get in Amazon, Barnes and Noble and every book comes with a free copy of the assessment.
So they can start there and of course, I love to, you know, get communications from people all the time. Again, my contact information is on the website. You know, email me, call me. I’m always available.
Steve: Wonderful. Well, I am looking forward to getting the book. I’ll order it today and get the assessment, can’t wait.
Barbara: Thank you, Steve. Thank you so much.
Steve: All right. What a productive time that we’ve had today. There’s some really great take home for our listeners. Gives us all encouragement that we can get to a better place and that there are things that we can do that help us get there. So we wish you all the best as you’re making a difference in the world, Barbara.
Barbara: And right back at you, Steve.
Steve: Right. Well, thanks so much. And to all of our listeners, never forget you are making a difference every single day of your life. You’re a light to other people. This brings confidence and happiness in your own life, but it also shares this light with other people and creates the leadership that Barbara was talking about today. I’m Steve Shallenberger with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, wishing you a great day.