Ten reasons why we should NOT read Elemental Change

You may have heard there is a change book out. What — another one? How many change books do we need? We know how to do this, we’ve messed it up before. So, I’ve had a look and — well, let’s not waste our time and hard-earned money.

Here are ten reasons why it’s not for us:

1. If we need some help, there’s the internet. Which is huge. And the book shop. Which is closed. Because of the internet. We’re very happy wading through it all, looking for clues, its exhilarating. The sense of achievement when we find something useful, we’re told, will be epic. We certainly don’t need someone bringing it all together in an accessible and useable framework we can start using today. No fun in that.

2. We’re not really ready to think about the actual change yet. We’ll probably bring someone in later to ‘do the change’ when we’ve made all the key decisions and we know what we’re doing, and we’re ready to tell people what they have to do and by when. No sense in going too soon. If we’re lucky we may skip it altogether. We haven’t been lucky yet, mind. But next time.

3. And anyway — a whole book about change? What on earth is there to talk about for a whole book? I’ve got a “5 steps to a big ballsy blow-out transformation” infographic on my wall here — somewhere, underneath the take-out menus — which should be enough. And we’ve bought Superman tee-shirts for the team for go-live day. The seams rub a bit, but they look great.

4. It’s written by someone who has spent most of their career leading change, actually doing this stuff, getting it wrong as well as right, learning from the wisdom and insight of others. What on earth do other people know that we don’t? We haven’t got time for mistakes, like the last project. And the one before. No, we want our change guidance out of the university or the lab, dabbed down with a citrus wet-wipe. We don’t want any of this grizzly “experience” malarkey, we’ll scare the team. They need to be ready to take the abuse.

5. We don’t want to be entertained while we’re reading about change. If we’re going to make it torture for you, then we’re going to make it torture for ourselves, too. Change shouldn’t be inspiring. It’s bloody hard work.

6. It has no pictures. Useable diagrams aren’t pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words. It could have had sixty pictures in it, which would mean you could get through the whole thing on a visit to the just-mopped washroom. Or be one of those flippy books that lasts three seconds. There are lots of helpful diagrams and charts in it that make leading change so much easier — but they’re not pictures, and we need to be clear on that. Pictures. We want pictures.

7. It’s got a whole new practical approach to preparation — the operating system of change — with one of those spider charts that’s both useful and cool. Have you noticed the spiders all coming into the house this time of year? Buggers.

8. And it has another one of those periodic tables — the nine elements of change. I guess that’s why the title, but I can’t be sure. Because I’ve decided not to read it. What a rip off, the chemists got there first. Not my chemist, they just sell insoles and mildly medicated talc. It’s actually a pretty sparky way of representing the approach but I’m not about to say that here as we don’t want to read it. The whole thing is actually frustratingly practical and helpful.

9. The book has far too much focus on people. As we keep reminding each other here, it’s about process, process, process. People hate change so they just get in the way, they don’t know what’s good for them. We create robust processes and are able to roll back and crush resistance wherever we find it. Sometimes we roll over it again, to make sure. We’re just rooting out the last of it from the previous project. We think it’s in Marketing.

10. The darned approach works across any discipline, sector or location, meaning its relevant to everything, everywhere. But we want limited and specific advice so we can discount it before we start reading it, genuine reasons not to have to make an effort. And there aren’t any. Which can’t be fair.

So, don’t bother reading it. Especially don’t bother buying it. Even though it might save you heartache, embarrassment, relationships, the loss of all credibility, a shedload of money and years of re-work. Hardly a return on investment.

I mean, we’ll be alright. Won’t we?

But if you really must — its available for pre-order at Hive (https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Neil-Usher/Elemental-Change--Making-Stuff-Happen-When-Nothing-Stands-Still/25300353) and Amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1912555859?pf_rd_r=J2GFQT4DNH15FA1RVB91&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e) .

Out on 20 November. But hey — who cares?

work & workplace protagonist | #ElementalWorkplace and #ElementalChange originator | rumoured to create human environments | known to blog