Campbell Macpherson – The Change Catalyst

Avatar Ben Fower | 03/12/2018

Campbell Macpherson, winner of The Business Book Awards 2018, joined us in the studio to talk to us about his book ‘The Change Catalyst: Secrets To Successful And Sustainable Business Change’

Hello! I’m Campbell Macpherson. I’m a business advisor, I’m a keynote speaker and I’m also an author and my book ‘The Change Catalyst: Secrets To Successful And Sustainable Business Change’ recently won the leadership category at the 2018 Business Book Awards.

But actually, it was more than that. It came away with the coveted title of 2018 Business Book of the Year, which was frankly humbling.

It’s a book for leaders of any organisation whatever size – big or small – because if you’re not leading change you’re not actually leading anything. You’re just managing the status quo.

It’s a book that includes obviously why change fails and includes the essential ingredients of successful change. It’s about leadership. It’s about strategy. It’s about org design. It’s about culture. It’s really a mini MBA in a book and might look like a textbook but actually, it reads like a novel, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

But anyway, what is it that I do? Well, what I do is I help CEOs align their leadership team to deliver a clear strategy and I give them the power, the tools and the mindset to be able to do one of the most complex and most difficult things in the world of business and that is to lead successful change. Because 88% of change initiatives fail. In fact, that’s so important I’m going to write that down. 88% of change initiatives of business strategies, of mergers and acquisitions fail. They failed to deliver the outcome that they set out to achieve.

Now the reasons for that – there are 10 main reasons for that – but they all boil down to one thing and that is that CEOs forget that they’re dealing with people. They forget they’re dealing with humans and in fact, only your people can deliver your strategy. Only your people can deliver the change that your business requires because, and want you to take away two things now, one – all change is personal. All change is personal – even the most complex of organizational changes are actually the culmination of a myriad of small personal changes. Every single one of your employees needs to change needs to adapt to the change for you to be successful. The other thing to take away is that all change is emotional. Emotion trumps logic every single time. In fact, emotion is four times more powerful than logic alone. When we make decisions, we make it through emotions and as you will see change is emotional. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that we go through all change is personal and all change is emotional.

When I do my workshops for organisations I have a workshop leadership teams to give them the power to lead change and I have a workshop for employees to give them the power to embrace personal change. What I do is I introduced them to the change matrix – it’s a way of capturing the universe of change out there and squashing it into four new quadrants, as we do.

So, let me introduce that to you. It’s called the change matrix. It’s just two simple axis. The y-axis is really simple it’s the size of the change. From big to small. The x-axis gets interesting. The x-axis is the control you have over the change. Its postural control that you have over the change that is happening to you, or that you’ve instigated, and that’s the difference. No control to total control.

Now let’s draw that into four little boxes as we do and let’s have a look at each one. So the bottom ones are quite simple that’s the small change that is done to you or your control. And the one small change where you are completely in control. You instigate. That simple. It’s grow. It’s you booking yourself and of course you know that’s not a big deal.

The more interesting one is small change where you have no control what’s changed. It’s being done to you. That could be HR decides to change its recruitment policy – you have no choice -but just to get on with it It’s not a big deal. it’s a small change you just adapt.

Now we get to the interesting parts. Big change. Big change that is done to you. Now this is the burning platform quadrant named after Darrell Connor – 20 years ago coined the phrase; where he was watching the news and saw people leaping off an oil rig in the North Sea. And thought goodness me, what a burning platform for change they have. Burning platform is big change that’s done to you. It could be the death of a loved one. It could actually be losing a job which is the one that I will be focusing on here today. Or it could be getting divorced. It’s big change that’s done to you and the emotions we go through here. The emotional roller coaster we go through are all predictable and we all go through it.

Now that let me explain that to you.  swiss psychiatrist back 14 years ago called Kübler-Ross invented the change curve and this works really well for big change that is done to you. Let me explain what happens. At the top of the change curve is shock. So, when big change is done to us, I’ve just been made redundant, I’m in a state of shock. The next stage is denial. After denial comes anger. And after anger comes fear. At the bottom is depression. I didn’t say it was a happy graph. Depression. Then when the head kicks in we can actually understand. The heart kicks in and we accept, and then finally we can move on this change curve that Kübler-Ross identified to explain the emotions that people go through in the death of a loved one.

It’s also extremely useful in business. Your people are going through these emotions when you instigate big change that they have not ever seen. This is what they go through. There they go through shock. They start with. They then go through denial. In other words, ‘I can’t believe this is happening’. In fact, it can’t be happening. The leaders will wake up. They then get very angry. When they get angry they’re not getting angry at you – they’re getting angry because that’s the path that they go through. They’re going through the change curve. So as a leader be empathetic. Cut them some slack. They are going through this change.

So, let’s just go back very quickly and fill in the fourth quadrant. Here this quadrant is actually big change that we instigate ourselves. It could be getting married. It could be having a baby. Or it could be, and this is the one to focus on here, it could actually be getting a promotion. We’ve gone for the promotion, we’ve got it. And this curve is big change that we instigate ourselves and I call it quantum leap.

Even with good change, big change we instigate, there is still an emotional roller coaster to go through. It’s not as steep as Kübler-Ross change curve but I will draw it so that we can we can see it. But the first stage we go through is excitement – I’ve got a new job, isn’t that fantastic. Then we have a little bit of apprehension – ‘oh my goodness am I going to succeed’. That can move into fear – ‘oh my goodness I’m really not going to succeed’ and then remorse. Buyer’s remorse. Sellers remorse. We’ve all been there.

In fact, the two best days that you have owning a boat; the day you buy it, the day you sell it. That’s buyer’s remorse and sellers remorse. We’ve all been there. Then the head will understand, the heart will accept and then we can embrace the change. Even good change is tough. Even good changes are emotional. So, if you would promote somebody at work know that they’re going to go through their own version of the quantum leap change curve. There’ll be apprehension. There’ll be fear. So if you want to instigate successful change, if you want to lead successful change, in your organization you’re going to need five things.

Firstly, you will need a strategy that is clear, not just clear to you but clear to everyone in the organization. You’re going to need leadership who know how to lead people through successful and sustainable change. Empathetic leadership. You will need a culture that enables people, encourages people, to challenge the status quo and actually is really willing and able to embrace change and then you need people with the tools, with the equipment to embrace change personally. The fifth thing you need is a change catalyst and if you want to know what one of those is – pick up the book.

Thanks for listening.

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