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Breakthrough Process 1 – Connecting Your Change Initiative with Your Client’s Strategy and Objectives

The first step of the Breakthrough Process focuses on connecting your change initiative with the client’s strategic objectives. Ensuring that your project aligns with the organization’s business reasons is crucial for its success. This step serves as a guide for engaging decision-makers, designing the intervention, and explaining the process to the organization. It’s a result of insights from seasoned professionals like Herb Shepherd, Ron Lippert, Jack Sherwood, Bob Crosby, and Marv Weisbord. Unlike conventional change management methods, it emphasizes real-world connections between activities and the organizational goals, making it a more efficient and value-driven approach.


This is step one of the breakthrough process, and it has to do with connecting your particular change initiative with the client’s strategy and objectives. If you don’t connect what you’re about to do with their business reasons for doing it or their organizational reasons for doing it, no matter how good it is, it isn’t going to stick, and it isn’t going to have value. So let me go through this and talk to you about how to do that. The important thing is that it’s a way to structure your approach to the decision makers. The way I’m talking about this now is the way I talk about it. When I’m meeting with decision makers. It’s also a way to design the intervention with your colleagues when it’s time to sit down and say, okay, what are we going to do with these people? And then, finally, it’s a way to explain to the people inside the organization what this whole thing is about. Okay, this is kind of the way I do it. You’ll find your own way to do it. This is my own sort of pulling together things I got from Herb Sheppard and Ron Lippert and Jack Sherwood and Bob Crosby and Ron Short and a bunch of other people in this business. Marv Weisbord is another one now. Do you remember? There was phase one? I’m assuming that you’ve watched the introduction to this. So there’s phase one which is preparing the organization, phase two, which is diagnosing the situation, and phase three, which is generating the breakthroughs that are going to be necessary that come.

So we’re now going to work on the first step, which is connecting the change initiative to the client strategy and objectives. Here we go. The way that change management projects are often planned is here’s where we are now. We’re going to create a process, and in the future this is where we’re going to end up. It looks great. It looks fabulous on a piece of paper on a PowerPoint slide, you have objectives, and you have schedules, and you have budgets, and you have organizational charts and benchmarks and so forth. It looks fabulous. It probably is perfect. And this is the flow charts, all the ways you have pert charts, Gantt charts, schedules and so forth that you say, how are we doing? And the way you figure out how you’re doing is you just say, are we on schedule? This may or may not have anything to do with the connection between what you’re doing and the business needs, the real world operational needs of the organization. But it’s what quite often passes for change or change management. What I’m proposing and saying is that this sometimes is a bunch of activities that are happening. You schedule a bunch of activities, training programs, coaching sessions, you have calendars and so forth to keep track of that. But if there’s no clear linkage in people’s minds, not just in your mind, but if there’s no clear linkage in the minds of the people that are going through the training programs or going through the coaching, if there’s no linkage between these activities that you’re doing and their real operational world, then, boy, you’re actually you’re wasting time and money.

So here’s what I’m proposing. This is kind of the way I like to do it. Remember the water line model? If you haven’t seen that, make sure to watch this as soon as you’re done watching this video. There’s a water line that exists when you’re doing this kind of work, and above the water line, you have plans and schedules. You have the business strategy and the objectives that are necessary. Below the water line, you have people and teams getting together to do the project or not getting together to do the project. You have this, this sort of objective world, and you have the human world, you have the Newtonian world, and you have the quantum world, the quantum field. Now your project needs to be in the middle. Your project needs to actually connect these two. You have to start with the connection inside yourself, you and your consulting team, internal and external team. As you’ll see, you need to be carrying this concept that there’s a connection between what you’re doing and the business needs of the organization. You’ve got to plan every single step that you do with those business needs in mind. This is not just a set of random training programs or great coaching, even great training programs, and great workshops that have no connection with anything.

I think this is if there’s anything that I’ve learned that I want to contribute to you, that may be a little bit different from what you’ve been taught, is you need to take the work that you do, no matter how good it is, and you need to connect it with real world stuff. My colleague Amy Barnes has a great phrase, and this is kind of our secret weapon. We work with real people on real issues in real time. We want to be in the room working with real people on real issues at that moment in real time. Now you need to develop the ability to porpoise. I swam the butterfly in college, you know this one, and you need to be able to come up, connect with the business objective and then sink down, do some work with the people, come up, reconnect. It’s a constant porpoise ING effect. Through your whole project, you must work back and forth between the strategic objectives and what people are doing in your process. Now. What are the business reasons? Why have they asked you to come in and do this? You need to be clear about that all the time. Who has the monkey on their back? Who really cares? Who is it that stays up at night worrying about these business reasons? You need to be on board with those people.

They need to believe in what you’re doing. They’re the people you want to kind of want to have on your board of advisors. Like, are we on the right track? What’s really needed here is this really touching the issues that need to be touched? Who are those people that carry the feeling of responsibility? Who and the organization is already responsible for this. I guarantee you, if you’re coming in from outside, there’s somebody in that organization that has in their job description, something like what it is that you’ve been asked to do. You’ve got to make friends with them. They’ve got to be inside the tent and not outside the tent. And then finally, how will this business know? How will the organization know that it’s working? What will be the signs of success? These are the kind of questions you need to have going in. If you’ve already sold the project, then great. You need to keep these in your mind. If you haven’t sold the project, this is a great way to sell it. Frankly, these are slides I’ve used with clients. Sometimes this is how we want to work with you. Finally, the next thing that you’re going to have a chance to look at is now that you’ve connected what you’re doing with the strategic objectives of the organization, the next thing is how do you prepare decision makers, the managers and other stakeholders to play the vital role that they need to play going through your process?


This insightful video delves into essential survival skills for navigating today’s workplace challenges. Covering skills seven to ten, it emphasizes the importance of developing courage to face challenges (symbolized by “tigers”), mastering cross-functional teamwork, adapting to rapid change, and finding purpose beyond routine tasks. The author encourages readers to view their work as contributing to a larger purpose, urging them to quit a mundane job and discover work that aligns with personal passions and makes a meaningful impact. With a focus on personal development, organizational growth, and effective teamwork, the video provides practical advice for thriving in the dynamic modern workplace.

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