151: Carsten Tams—Changing The Way We Manage Change

Hear how to really bring about real change!

Carsten Tams and I have a lot in common. We both work with organizations that need or want to change. And, we both know the challenges of helping people transform their company, unit, department, or just themselves. Human brains hate to change, even when they’re facing a crisis or anticipating one coming soon. What to do? Carsten’s process, deeply embedded in humanism and the power of human agency, helps organizations change. In our talk, you’ll hear about his own experiences, research and case studies. Ready to change? Listen in and let us lend a hand.

Carsten TamsA shift in how to help organizations change

Not all that long ago, leading change management processes — from John Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change to Jeff Hiatt’s ADKAR Change Management Model to Kurt Lewin’s Unfreeze, Change, Freeze Model of Change — preached approaches that companies embraced. All too often, however, these processes met with serious resistance (70% of the time, says McKinsey and Company) and limited positive change. Humans do believe in change, as long as it’s not them who’s expected to change. Are we surprised at this? Of course not!

Carsten gives us two things to remember:

  1. What you believe about people will greatly influence what you do to help them change. If you think people are lazy, insolent and need to be directed and driven (Theory X), you will have a hard time overcoming their resistance. They will be happy to watch you fail.
  1. If you believe people are smart, caring and engaged in helping you build your organization, you have a big opportunity to engage with them to help you take your business in new directions with greater results (Theory Y).

It sounds simple but all too often, what you believe is what you create

It is not the people working with you. It is you and how you think about what your employees can do. This is how you mobilize them to do great things. As culture change experts, you can read more about our own approach to helping businesses change in my book, On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights.  Read the first chapter for free here!

About Carsten Tams

A consultant, author and highly sought-after speaker, Carsten Tams is fascinated with the power of human agency. People aspire to regulate their own lives and participate in shaping the world around them, and so the question is: how can we design organizations in ways that unlock this creative life force and channel it toward positive organizational objectives?

Answering this question is Carsten’s passion and the focus of his company, Emagence, a New York City-based consulting boutique. Partnering with influential leaders in performance-focused, values-driven companies, he helps them develop human-centered strategies for strengthening ethical performance.

Drawing on 17 years’ experience designing innovative and award-winning solutions in the organizational development, human resources and ethics space, Carsten builds on the best available insights in behavioral science to achieve optimal employee engagement and performance.

Carsten earned a Bachelor’s Degree in European Studies from Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, a Diploma in Political Science from Freie Universität Berlin, and an MPA2 in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

A sampling of Carsten’s articles written for Forbes.com

For more on change management, we suggest these blogs and podcasts:

Additional resources