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The Sheer Joy Of Telling It Like It Is – An Interview With Dr. Billie Blair President/Ceo, Change Strategists, Inc.

"The Sheer Joy Of Telling It Like It Is An Interview With Dr. Billie Blair President/Ceo, Change Strategists, Inc."

Billie G. Blair

A short authors bio:

Dr. Billie Blair is an organizational psychologist and President/CEO of the LA-based international management consulting firm, Change Strategists, Inc., providing services to Fortune 500/1000s. She has served in numerous leadership positions in corporations, universities and health care settings and is pleased to be a part of a firm that is leading the efforts to provide 21st Century change strategies for corporations, businesses and national non-profits. Dr. Blair speaks widely at national and international events, discussing issues of management and organizational change. She is regularly sought as an expert in the field of management and, in that capacity, serves on a number of national boards of directors. The author of over 500 articles, monographs and reports, and four books, her latest books focus on the topic of organizational change management. “All the Moving Parts: Organizational Change Management” was published by Puzzles Press in 2007; “Value Plus: Employees as Valuers” in 2009. A third in the organizational change management series, “How to Build a Fire: Lessons From Chaos Management” will be released in December 2011.

In her professional work with corporations, Dr. Blair is guided by the lifetime contributions of her mentor, Peter Drucker, who was among the first to identify the need for organizational change management strategies. Dr. Blair sees the successful organization of the future as one that adroitly embraces the best of its employees, its governance arrangement, its leadership team, and its customers in order to effect the continuous changes that bring benefits of long-term growth and viability.

Book synopsis:

The book proposes change as the new normal of successful organizations of the 21st Century and proceeds through chapters on “The Moving Parts of An Organization,” “The Puzzle of Change,” “Five Essentials of Change,” and others to provide the guidance to executives, boards of directors, and other leaders/managers to implement the changes necessary for maintaining viability and sustainability.

Why did you write this book?

The book was written in response to the requests of clients, in order to explicate the organizational change management process.

write a paragraph stating why readers should buy your book and what they will get out of it after reading it

Readers who want to know more about change processes – how to manage them, what to do when chaotic events occur, how to bring change to successful conclusions, how to precipitate innovative approaches in the organization, how to anticipate change opportunity, and how to instigate an organization where all the moving parts operate in support of the organization’s purpose – will want to read this book. In other words, this book was written for CEOs, executives/managers, boards of directors, employees, and customers interested in all the aspects of change and of the technical change processes. The book allows readers to see themselves in relationship to the organization’s five essential elements and in roles supporting the change implementation process.

I’m an organizational psychologist so this interview will be somewhat organic – that is, I plan on mixing something of myself and my views, in an introspective way, in with the business at hand – that of talking about our business and the work that we do, and even more importantly, the books that I write in support of this work. So, here are some of the organic aspects. For one thing, I am a woman. I mention this fact because it might not be easily discernable from my name, and it is central to the remarks that follow. The relevance of this point is that when I was a child, my Mother consistently cautioned that I was “being too bossy.” That is, in an era (the 1950s-early 60s) when a girl was to be seen and not heard, that meant that I was expressing my opinion openly. Consequently, it is with sheer glee to acknowledge that I am now in a business where I am regularly able to express my opinion – and have the credentials to back those opinions up.

My work is involved with organizations, their course and direction, and the change of that course and direction – that is, organizational change and organizational change management. I was mentored during doctoral study at Claremont Graduate University by Professor Peter Drucker and thus have heard first hand most of Professor Drucker’s beliefs about change and how it should be instituted . . . And what goes wrong if you don’t do it right.

I wrote the first book in the organizational change management series, ALL THE MOVING PARTS: ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT, in response to client requests. When corporate clients undergo organizational change processes, it is easy to lose the threads of change in the mass of change efforts. Thus, several years ago, clients prevailed upon me to put the process down in writing so that we can follow it along as it’s being carried out. And, thus, ALL THE MOVING PARTS was developed. The book (intended for corporate heads, other managers and executives, boards of directors, and those who are simply interested in management and change) focuses on the change processes and takes the reader through those technical processes, step-by-step. I always admonish leaders who are within range of my “speaking voice” – and these days that is everyone who has access to a computer – to avoid trying “novice change.” In other words, when there is serious change afoot – and all change is serious – call in an expert to guide you through the process. Most corporate leaders who believe that they can handle organizational change themselves become enmeshed, quickly, in serious difficulty. Leading change processes is not for the faint of heart – and certainly not for the inexperienced, uninitiated.

ALLTHE MOVING PARTS centers the discussion on how organizations change – three basic ways, each with their unintended consequences. (It is those consequences, by the way, that professionals know about and which novices will not.) The text is interspersed with our client experiences through the years – many of whom you’ll recognize by name. These first-hand experiences allow the explanation of the change processes through the eyes of those who have had the experience – and lived to tell the tale! In this way, the book’s aim is to tell the stories of change by avoiding most of the clinical and academic assessment of the change process, which actually tends to bore rather than to inform busy business leaders.

There are three primary precepts of change that are assumed in the writing of the book: 1 – all things change; 2 – in an organization, it is impossible to change one thing [department, process, and so on]without inadvertently changing many others – thus the focus on all the moving parts; and 3 – there are five major groups in the organization who must serve are the major participants in change: the CEO/leader; the leadership team; the board of directors; the employees; and the customers/constituents. The book discusses each of these groups, their responsibilities, their downsides, and their opportunities. And posits the approach to change in terms of these five essential parts of change that are to be developed through five organizational pathways.

One additional concept that is developed in the book involves the latest thinking and our company’s research on Chaos Theory (from Quantum Physics, Quantum Theory) and its relationship to organizational management, and in particular, to change in organizations. In a nutshell, the thinking that is the result of research and study in this area goes like this: 1 – Chaos can precipitate change and make change actions necessary (organizations are constrained to react to chaotic events by making required changes); 2 – On the other hand, when instituting changes in the organization, a leader can often initiate chaos and chaotic events without intending to do so; 3 – Having inadvertently triggered organizational chaos, the leader is often at a loss about how to regain a steady state; and 4 – Chaos and chaotic events that are related to change actions in the organization are transitory, short-term events, if one is what we call “chaos competent” – that is, if one knows how to deal well with chaotic events that have been precipitated by change.

Those are the basics of change. And now for the summarizing words: 1 – change should not be taken lightly; 2 – change is a serious undertaking in which there is no room for novices [ask our current U.S. President about that – or, refer to The Confidence Men for that inside story]; and 3 – change actions, if conducted well, will bring about amazing results – and are actually the key to the future for success of the modern organization in the current age of globalization and rapidly changing, intermingling international events.

As an addendum, I should mention that the sequel text, VALUE PLUS: EMPLOYEES AS VALUERS followed ALL THE MOVING PARTS and was written for the same purpose – to provide better explication of the organizational change management process for our clients and constituents. Coming in December, 2011, the third-in-a-series of organizational change volumes is: HOW TO BUILD A FIRE: THREE EASY TAKE-AWAYS ON GETTING YOUR ORGANIZATION GOING!

And, so, to end – it has been a sheer joy to tell it like it is about organizational change – it always is! Thanks for the opportunity.

Billie Blair, PhD

President/CEO, Change Strategists, Inc.

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