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Wendy Wickham

Wendy Wickham

Alexandria, Virginia

Wendy has worked in the trenches for over 15 years as a change management specialist. She has helped implement a wide array of enterprise-level IT solutions, including electronic medical records, enterprise management solutions, and unified communications systems.

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About the author

Wendy is a PMP-certified project manager and change specialist who has spent over 15 years in the trenches of IT implementations. She has guided doctors from paper files to electronic medical records, teachers from classrooms to webinars, professors from lectures to learning management systems, and professionals from ad-hoc processes to solutions that aim to make their lives easier.

Wendy has blogged for more than 12 years, serving as a conference blogger for the Defense Acquisitions University Innovations in eLearning conference in the late 2000s. She has also spoken at Educause, the Association for Talent Development, the eLearning Guild, Toastmasters, and various vendor conferences.  

Wendy holds graduate degrees in History and Instructional Technology and IT certifications in enterprise architecture (TOGAF) and IT service delivery (ITILv3).  

She is currently a member of the Project Management Institute, the Association of Enterprise Architects, the Association for Image and Information Management, Toastmasters, and Overlap (Designers, Technologists, and Educators).

After stints at Towson University, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians and The George Washington University, Wendy has been guiding individuals and organizations through their own change processes at Middle Curve Consulting. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her partner of 12 years, Ryan, and her dog, Cally Berry.

You can find Wendy's general musings on projects, change, learning, and life at http://middlecurve.com/blog.

http://middlecurve.com
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Change for All Quadrants

Make Change Stick with Holistic Change Planning

Traditional change management happens after the fact and focuses on things. Effective change considers the impact on you and others, as well as on your resources and systems.

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Career & Success Change Management
60,000 words
25% complete
8 publishers interested

Synopsis

We are overwhelmed by changes. 

Changes we feel we need to make to ourselves to be more efficient, effective, energetic, and nicer to be around. 

Changes that others inflict on us as they pursue their own agendas. 

Changes to the environments we work within that feel uncontrollable and unpredictable.

We're being asked to "get comfortable with change."

Change, however, is a process - not an event.

The amount of information and opportunities we have available, plus the current emphasis on "agility," has left many of us feeling like whirling dervishes - moving quickly, but going no-where.

We need to define for ourselves what direction we wish to head before changing for change's sake.  

We're going to look at "change" as a three-phase process:

  • Phase 1: Confirming your vision, getting clear on your direction, and determining why you want to go there.
  • Phase 2: Evaluating the changes you wish to make against that vision and determining what you need to succeed.
  • Phase 3: Creating and executing a flexible plan using small, easily digestible steps.

Changing habits requires significant cognitive load. By doing pre-change analysis, we can help reduce that load by 

  • Evaluating whether the change is going to move us in the direction of our goals - and letting go of the changes that won't
  • Reducing the number of initiatives / changes we are trying to embark on at once and setting aside what can be done later
  • Developing a clear inventory of what we already have to work with - so we don't need to "reinvent the wheel"
  • Breaking down larger changes into small steps. These small steps provide clarity around "what to do next."

The Change Planning Model leverages Ken Wilber's All Quadrants, All Levels framework to help determine:

  • The short and long term impact of the change you are proposing across your life, other's life, your relationships, and the systems of your life.
  • Whether you SHOULD make the change.
  • What you already have to work with that will help make the gap between your current state and your desired state less daunting.
  • What resources you need to help the change succeed.

We can use the outputs from the model to help us break down change into easy-to-do steps that are more likely to stick. 


Outline

Chapter 1 - What we know about change - A summary of current research around how change sticks. The fundamental components:

  • 95% doable - increase your confidence
  • Failure as a learning experience
  • Kaizen - 1% improvement
  • Finding good accountability partners
  • Make it easy to succeed in your environment

Chapter 2 - Clarifying the greater vision - All change should be pursued in the greater context of where you wish your life to go. 

  • Personal sovereignty - taking responsibility for your life
  • The importance of vision in decision-making
  • Values - what they are and finding YOURS (vs the values others have defined for you)
  • How your values map to your vision
  • Developing a framework across all areas of your life
  • Steps for clarifying the vision.

Chapter 3 - Create a roadmap - Defining the steps you wish to take towards your vision.  

  • Identifying what is already working
  • Determining the changes you wish to make

Chapter 4 - The value of focus - Current research around focus and deciding which change to implement first.

  • Setting priorities - Your likelihood of completing a task drops exponentially the more tasks you are trying to do at once.
  • Which do I choose - high-impact but hard or low-impact and easy?
  • How long do I need to stick with this focus? 

Chapter 5 - The Change Planning Model - A quadrant approach to change while looking at both the short and long-term impact:

  • I - What is the impact of the change on me? What do I need to do (or be) for the change to succeed?
  • We - What is the impact of the change on my relationships? How does the change impact how I relate to others?
  • It - What is the impact on other people?
  • Its - What other resources do I need to find? How does the change impact the larger world?

Chapter 6 - Planning the change - How to ensure your change succeeds. Includes recommendations for defining supporting habits, measuring progress, troubleshooting challenges, and accommodating new ideas.

Appendix - The Change Planning Model in Action - Case studies using the model.

Audience

The book is for educated, mid-career professionals who find themselves overwhelmed by their work and the culture we currently live in. Many of them work in IT departments and within traditional corporate structures. They have spent at least 6 years developing expertise in their field and may have been promoted to a management position in the process.

Though Facebook Ads - I've learned that there are at least 560,000 individuals who live in the United States, are mid-career professionals age 30-55 with at least a college education who are interested in change management, project management, time management, strategic planning, and getting things done.

Using LinkedIn's sales tools, which provide a more accurate assessment of the market in this field, there are over 2.9 million US-based mid career professionals who are Senior Contributors, Directors or Managers with a few years in their current position and at least 6 years of experience in their field.

The online communities I am involved with have expressed interest in this topic. Many of the members are in the target market of experienced mid-career professionals. I have received excellent feedback from the School of the Possible community (279 people) and the Conscious Business Innerprise community (626 people). These groups have helped to refine my model and message.  I have also used this model with clients (both corporate and coaching) successfully.

Promotion

My website (http://middlecurve.com/) directly reaches 100 people per month on average (and growing) with a 3 minute 43 second average duration on-site.  75% of my readers are from the US and I currently have a 20% return rate.  

During the promotion, the blog will feature posts every Tuesday and Thursday with case studies from the proposed Personal Change Planning model.  My posts directly feed into Twitter (https://twitter.com/wwickha1 - 421 followers).

I will also post the video version of the case studies on YouTube with a link-back to the Publishizer campaign and the blog post - which will contain a transcript.  YouTube is a new platform for me. As a result, I don't have any subscribers right now.

I will be cross-posting the case studies on Medium, (Medium.com/@meaningfulflow) where I am showing my work in this area and providing regular updates to the School of the Possible Facebook community (279 people). 

Other groups who have expressed interest in this work include the Conscious Business Innerprise community (626 people).

I will also promote on Facebook  through my personal profile ( https://www.facebook.com/wwick...approximately 150 connections) and on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/we... 445 connections).  

My blog posts on LinkedIn currently attract, on average, 70 viewers.  The most popular post attracted 870 - about 2 weeks ago.  I will be reaching out individually to my LinkedIn connections. 

I currently have 630 active email newsletter subscribers and 910 people who have requested free information from me over the past 6 months with no advertising. I am sending a special newsletter to these individuals at the beginning of the promotion and will be keeping them updated throughout the month.

I have also recently started experimenting with Instagram. I will be sharing announcements and videos, along with my regular book reviews. I currently have 70 followers after a couple months worth of irregular posts.

I will be speaking at my local Toastmasters chapter towards the end of the month on this topic.

I am budgeting $200.00 on Facebook ads this month in an attempt to drive cold-traffic to the Publishizer promotion page.

Competition

These are some of my favorite change planning books among the competition:

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy, Baker Books, 2016. 

This book is the closest to my structure. It is more focused on developing the broad vision for your life. Hyatt and Harkavy talk about planning, but don't show you how to plan. Personal Change Planning fills the gaps between the broad vision and day-to-day reality.

Creating the Impossible: A 90-Day Program to Get Your Dreams Out of Your Head and Into the World, Michael Neill, Hay House, 2018. 

Michael Neill provides daily cheer-leading towards a big goal and the mindset required to achieve it. Personal Change Planning helps you decide which goal to pursue and define the resources you need to pursue it.

4D Leadership: Competitive Advantage through Vertical Leadership Development, Alan Watkins, Kogan Page, 2016.  

Alan Watkins uses the All Quadrants All Levels framework for leadership development. Watkins targets executive audiences and the management context.  Personal Change Planning emphasizes personal change and is written for experienced contributors.

The Way We're Working Isn't Working: The Four Forgotten Needs that Energize Great Performance, Tony Schwartz, Free Press, 2010. 

Tony Schwartz tells you what to change and why you should change it. He includes brief action steps for those specific changes he recommends. Personal Change Planning helps you prioritize these changes, evaluate the impact of these changes on other people, and inventory what you have to work with to succeed at the change.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, Stephen Covey, Simon & Schuster, 2013.

A classic in the personal change field, Stephen Covey focuses on mindset and character. The daily practices are, fundamentally, how well you are displaying these habits of mindset and character. Personal Change Planning helps you evaluate the impact of these habits on yourself and others and provides a vehicle for leveraging these habits on more specific changes you wish to make.

8 publishers interested
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A few years ago, I decided it was time to get serious about learning to snowboard.  I figured I was never going to learn by taking a beginner class once every 3-5 years.  The repetition needed to be more regular.

The beginner class went OK.  By the end, I could make it down the bunny slope.  Mostly.

Turn one direction. Stop. Get going again. Turn one direction. Stop.

I took a second class. 

Get down the hill. Turn one direction. Stop.

Make it on the chairlift without tripping. Make it off the chairlift without harming myself or others. Scramble to get out of the way as I inevitably fell when I picked up speed down the chairlift ramp and lost my balance.

Get down the hill mostly by scooting to one side of the run. Stop. Attempt to change direction. Fall. Get up. Go to the other side of the run. Fall. Repeat until I get down the mountain.

Because I hadn’t wound up in the hospital as a result of the class – I decided to venture out on my own.

Over the course of a few weeks of runs:

I managed to get on and off the chairlift with minimal drama (ie – not falling at the base of the chairlift and having to scramble out of the way)

I could get down the hill without harming myself or others – admittedly only toe side OR heel side vs looking like a real snowboarder.

I can now stop, start, turn and steer. I don’t see a problem with going down either toe side OR heel side. I have not hurt myself or others getting down the mountain.

My snowboarder partner, however, tells me I am doing it wrong and I am supposed to be transitioning between toe side and heel side with only one foot in front (left OR right) vs rocking back and forth down the hill (for me – preferably heel side so I can see where I am going).

Fine….

So at the behest of my snowboarder partner, I decided I was going to practice transitioning “correctly.”

And then I hit the true “ass kicking” part of the program.

Turn. Eat snow.

Turn. Turn. Bang head. Eat snow.

Turn. Turn. Rock back and forth on the hill – often heel side. Attempt turn. Bang head. Eat snow.

Rinse. Repeat.

Before this slump – I was making rapid progress.  I could stand on the board. I could get down the hill (albeit slowly and in a highly unorthodox manner). I could control my speed and stop.

Sadly, I ran out of winter.

At this juncture – I have some choices about how I am going to react to this slump.

1) Quit.

2) Rage and struggle through it (the way I normally approach things)

3) Calmly work through it and have faith that the next level of mastery will come eventually.

I see this process play out in any change – either chosen OR inflicted.  Individual or organizational.

-----------------------

I have spent the majority of my career at the front lines of change management.

I’m the one who gets the brunt of people’s fear about the change.

The anger. The frustration. The sadness. The discomfort.

We spend so much time talking about how “great” the change is going to be.

Selling the change.

Marketing the change.

Often, with little acknowledgment or accommodation for the natural dip in productivity the change requires to stick.

We get so focused on the “event” of change that we forget the day-to-day reinforcement that change requires to stick.

We know how well that works.

—————————–

A productivity dip exists during any change – personal or organizational. And it is OK. For the change to stick, You need to accommodate the dip.

I often forget that my practice of regularly making myself uncomfortable so I can learn something new is not the way the vast majority of humanity works.

Comfortable is good.

Feelings of mastery are good.

Chances are, you have worked damned hard to achieve that mastery.

I’m asking you to feel stupid for a while.

And you would be right to resist.

My goal is to help you shape the support environment around the change you wish to make, help you feel safe to make the change, and help you get comfortable with the “stupid” feeling when you run into the inevitable challenges any change effort presents.


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  • Wendy Wickham
    on Oct. 1, 2018, 12:55 p.m.

    Thanks Aaron! I can't wait to share this with you!

  • Wendy Wickham
    on Oct. 1, 2018, 9:08 p.m.

    Thank you George! I look forward to sharing this with you and greatly appreciate your support.

  • Wendy Wickham
    on Oct. 3, 2018, 4:24 p.m.

    Lyle - Looking forward to sharing this with you!

  • MJ Broadbent
    on Oct. 30, 2018, 2:16 a.m.

    Gooooo WENDY! I'm excited that you are doing this!

  • Sarah Mercier
    on Oct. 30, 2018, 4:25 a.m.

    You’re awesome!! Can’t wait to read it ☺️

  • Brian Dusablon
    on Oct. 30, 2018, 12:55 p.m.

    So proud of the work you're doing and the effort you are making! Keep it up and thank you for all the great conversations and help you've given me.

    #JFDI #RockOn #Goals #KickAss