Change Management Is Dead: The Rise of Progress Leadership

The Word Change Spray Painted on a Wall

The way we traditionally define what it means to be brave can be our greatest obstacle. Simply shifting our focus can be the gateway to powerful results.

Today’s post is by Dean Lindsay, author of How to Achieve Big Phat Goals (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Change Management is a business term relating to initiating change within an organization. This could include anything from a change in work culture to increasing employee engagement and morale. The problem, however, with the term change management, is that no one really desires to change. Instead, we desire to plan to progress and we want leaders to lead us – creating Progress Leadership.

Committed leaders or Progress Agents, should not be apologizing for the change, but instead, they should focus on inspiring the progress of their organization. If Progress Agents include others in the process, they can shape and sustain the thoughts that in turn lead to desired results.

Companies are most successful when the goals of the company connect personally with the employees. If the goals don’t connect on a personal level with the individual, then the planned progress will be viewed as merely a change and will be resisted or at least not acted on.

Back in 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, and its wisdom still speaks to this point today. Packed with insight on leading strong relationships by lifting people up, the book encourages readers to genuinely care about people and their feelings. Not only does this encourage us to take actions for the benefit of the people we are respecting, but it makes clear that caring about others is good for the person who cares.

It is important for leaders or Progress Agents to focus not only on actions, but thoughts and feelings as well. An intense focus on feelings during a time of transformation in an organization is often described as the “human side of change management.” If there is a “human side” of business, then what other side is there? Most would say a company side – but this is the problem. Companies are formed by humans who are working in a team effort with other humans to get their wants and needs met. Progress Agents who do not take into account the personal goals of the individuals working for them are often left wondering where their plan went wrong.

Progress Leadership means working to understand and communicate how a team member’s personal goals can dovetail with the organization’s goals and thus create true commitment that gets the team member to act – because he or she wants to, not because they have to. Progress Leadership means striving to help others find meaning in their work.

Here are some quick action steps to excel at Progress Leadership:

  • Focus on inspiring progress (rather than apologizing for change)
  • Care and listen
  • Get to know team members’ parameters for progress
  • Help establish team member expectations
  • Internalize, but do not personalize
  • Drink water
  • Be passionate about your work
  • Be passionate about your team
  • Be passionate about your life
  • Compliment with reason
  • Smile with reason
  • Get enough sleep
  • Read good stuff
  • Be patient

Big Phat GoalsDean Lindsay, author of How to Achieve Big Phat Goals (CLICK HERE to get your copy), is a graduate of the University of North Texas and served on the advisory board for UNT’s Department of Marketing and Logistics. He has helped build engaged sales leadership and customer service cultures at a variety of companies, such as New York Life, Gold’s Gym, and many more. For more information, please visit

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Photo: Changes by Jason Taellious

2 Responses to “Change Management Is Dead: The Rise of Progress Leadership”

  1. Greg says:

    This was a joy to read, especially Dean’s quick action steps. This list should be taped to the monitor of everyone who’s responsible for team-centric outcomes.

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