Change, A Crashing Wave

September 26th, 2014

Do you feel like a wave is crashing over you, ready to take you out, and drag you to the bottom leaving you breathless and grasping for air?  A client recently used this metaphor of a crashing wave to describe the pressure he was feeling from multiple changes in his organization.

I asked him, what do you fear most about the changes you are experiencing?  He responded, “The uncertainty and the ambiguity.  I am not sure what these changes  means to me.”  Not surprising, our brains crave certainty and without it our brain goes into threat mode.  So it’s no wonder, that  many change initiatives fail.   That’s why it is imperative to communicate in a way and with the frequency to help people understand what the change will mean to them.  Here are some effective questions, to help create dialog around changes that are happening:

  • What do you think about this change?photo (1)
  • Do you know why the changes are taking place?
  • How do you feel about this change?
  • What do you see your role as in this change?
  • What is your opinion about this change?
  • What is your experience with this type of change?
  • What are you working on and how will you be impacted by the change?
  • What are your ideas about this change?
  • Would you change anything about the change?
  • Why do you think this change is needed (or not)?
  • If you could tell the CEO one thing about this upcoming change, what would it be?
  • What are you already doing in your day to day work that supports the change?
  • What areas do you feel will be a challenge for you to adjust?
  • What is your experience with past changes?
  • What would help you most during these changes?


Making the Most of Change

September 2nd, 2014

Making the most of change and transitions with be the focus of my keynote speech on Tuesday, September 9th at the Project Management Institute Orange County event.  

Your presentation at the September dinner meeting is going to center on change.  How did you pick this topic?

In my work with organizations, employees are suffering from change saturation.  The pace at which change is happening is frequent, rapid and continues to accelerate.  People need to understand their own reactions to change and learn now to mitigate the effects of the transitions caused by the change.

What are some key elements to managing change?

Organizational change requires individual change. Organizational outcomes are the collective result of individual change.  That is why it is critical for change management to be an element of project management to help address the people side of change.

The emphasis is to:

  1. Develop commitment
  2. Manage resistance to new processes and tools
  3. Achieve goals related to change that is a result of the project

The transition from the current way to the new way, does not happen with the flip of a switch.  People have to process what is means.  People go through several phases including letting go of the way things were, learning to accept the new way, and then only then can the achieve the new beginning.

Communication is key to helping people understand what the change means to them.   If you can reduce the ambiguity and uncertainty that often accompanies change in organizations, you will have higher success rate for achieving the desired change.

You are a certified yoga instructor.  How has that helped your in your business?

Yoga has been life changing for me.  When you study it more deeply it’s so much more than the physical practice.  I meditate and focus on my breathe to help relieve stress, calm my nervous system and improve my overall well being. I am much more mindful about how I am interacting with others and feel I am much more present when I am with clients.  Directly, I have started to integrate the concepts and practices into some of the workshops that lead and as part of strategic planning retreats I do with groups.  Intensive periods of concentrated work can be enhanced through simple movement and breath work. The response and results have been amazing. In the area of change, I have learned to accept that everything is impermanent and to let go of attachment to the way things are, and in this way I have gotten more comfortable with uncertainty which is what people really fear about change.

What’s been the best advice you’ve ever received from someone and how have you applied it?

Woody Allen has been attributed with saying, “Showing up is 80% of life.”  I don’t think I am necessarily any more brilliant than any of my peers, but I am persistent and resilient. I show up. I make a commitment and I keep it.  My colleagues and my clients know that I will deliver on my promise and do what I say I will do.  And at a deeper level, as I apply mindfulness techniques I “show up” when I am with people by being fully present in my interactions with others.

What advice would you give the young project managers just getting into the discipline?

Practice self-care.  Eat healthy foods, make time for exercise, sleep and spending quality time with people you care about.  In doing so, you will have more energy and get more done.  I know it feels counter intuitive. We are programmed to think if I just work harder and longer hours, I’ll produce better results.  That is a myth.  You will have more to give to your work and your relationships if you take better care of yourself.

What’s been your proudest accomplishment in your career?

The legacy of people I have coached and mentored to become leaders themselves.  I subscribe to the concepts of Servant Leadership which states that the best test of a leader is : Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?  I am so proud of the many people I have had the privilege to serve in this way, and now they are helping others grow as leaders too.

 Interview conducted by Len Stregles.


I Lost My Marbles

August 5th, 2014

I lost my marbles. Or in this case, 6 hours worth of interview notes.   I looked in the obvious places.  I looked in the not so obvious places.  And then, I stepped away.  Feeling my frustration rise.  Allowing myself some space, I thought perhaps an idea would come to me.  24 hours passed and nothing.  And I really needed to start working on the project.  There was only one thing to do, begin.

I started the process, began the work I could do without the interview notes.  I also had a certain level of recall I knew I’d be able to tap.  And then, in a flash there they were, neatly tucked away into a subfolder that somehow on my previous three attempts to look I hadn’t seen.  Clear as day, right under my nose.

I could have thrown in the towel.  Cried. Slammed my fists on the computer.  But none of those tactics would have made my notes appear or resulted in any progress on the project.   Rather than become paralyzed I stepped into action.   Doing what I could, I made progress.

Sure I was frustrated, filled with self-doubt maybe I forgot to save the notes…unlikely, but maybe.  It was when I pressed forward that ultimately I found what I was looking for.  When I was saving the newest document I was working on, I discovered the one I’d lost.  The next time you are in a difficult situation and feel lost, forge on and you just might find what you were looking for.

Je’net Kreitner, named AFP Founder of the Year

July 29th, 2014
National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) acknowledges the entire spectrum of services provided by the nonprofit community and recognizes the profound impact that philanthropy has on the fabric of society. And, each year the Association of Fundraising Professionals honors individuals and groups who, through their hard work and dedication,  have enhanced philanthropy, their communities and the world.
I was thrilled that my client, Je’net Kreiter, Executive Director and Founder of Grandma’s House of Hope was announced as AFP’s Founder of the Year.  Once homeless herself, she gained the skills and confidence through training and coaching from OneOC   and the Fieldstone Foundation Leadership Series necessary to turn her dream of helping others  into reality.

The 2014 Outstanding Honorees are:
Philanthropist: Catherine Klein Sorensen
Philanthropic Group: Building Block Foundation
Volunteer Fundraiser: Ralph B. Linzmeier, Jr.
Founder:  Je’net Kreitner, Grandma’s House of Hope
Small Business or Corporation: MOST Brand Development + Advertising
Mid-Size Business or Corporation: Rutan & Tucker, LLP
Large Business or Corporation:  Disneyland Resort, Anaheim Ducks, Angels Baseball (ACT Anaheim)
Youth/Youth Group: Future in Humanity
Legacy Award: General William and Willa Dean Lyon
In 2014, National Philanthropy Day in Orange County will be held on Thursday, November 20.
For More Information, visit our own event site,