Organizational Change


All companies face new competitive threats and uncertainty. Yet their people may be afraid of change. When their organizational focus is on maintaining the status quo, this often leads to a culture of stagnation. Their transformation challenge often involves searching for new possibilities and creating unique solutions.

What if people were viewed as abundant sources of wisdom and energy? What if your leaders could engage that energy around what really matters to people?

We believe an enormous capacity to solve problems and create new possibilities is already present in most organizations, simply waiting to be unleashed. We will help your leaders engage the kokoro (heart, mind, spirit, and will) of their people. You will gain access to the collective wisdom and discretionary energy of your whole organization.

Although many businesses used to operate in a stable manner, that has become increasingly difficult in our turbulent economic situation. Such businesses may not be doing enough to adapt and respond to changes. Controlling management practices and HR systems have become outmoded. Turnover in key talent is one indicator that change may be needed, yet the culture may respond with apathy.

A critical evolutionary challenge is helping the business become more adaptive. We�help leaders engage their whole organization in a change effort. We focus on preventing human waste, igniting passion, and drawing forth people's best contributions. We help clients achieve greater alignment and higher performance while creating a culture of commitment.

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Delivery Approaches

Coaching change agents

We offer coaching for people who want to create change in their organizations. We identify levers for influencing and winning support. We help people recognize pitfalls to avoid and help them get unstuck. Clients achieve faster and more sustained change when we help them focus on people, action, and results.

We begin by exploring seven factors associated with successful change agents, sometimes conducting interviews or using the Peakinsight 360 to collect feedback from others.

Our coaching process focuses on the client's personal experience with kokoro (the fusion of heart, mind, spirit, and will). Through this process clients become more centered and mindful. They reflect on how their own heart, mind, spirit, and will was developed and nurtured. We examine how it is being expressed and compare this with stakeholder perceptions. We use a systems thinking approach to identify likely impacts and how change in particular areas may influence other outcomes. People set goals and develop a plan for their journey. They identify potential mentors and other resources. They begin taking more heartfelt and integrated action.

Coaching change sponsors

Our approach to coaching sponsors helps people build trust and widen their sphere of influence. Special attention is given to supporting "positive deviants" in taking action. Proactive sponsors put resources against opportunities, rather than focus only on fixing problems. They learn to express confidence in others in a way that stimulates action. This has a multiplier effect that leads to exponential change.

We begin with developing an understanding of how the sponsor has operated in the past, particularly their track record in supporting people who are engaged in positive change. Through coaching they develop greater awareness and appreciation of possibilities. They learn to ask appreciative questions, make encouraging comments, and empower others (i.e., "I appreciate..."; "What if you could...?"; "What really matters to you?"; "Make it happen"). The positive approach and language is reinforced through role-playing as well as follow-up coaching sessions.

Positive action learning

Positive action learning focuses on people being seen as valuable resources, without waste. Our approach helps leaders develop new mental models based on using all resources to their full potential. Implementation leads to aligned action and deep commitment among members of the organization. Synergistic connections lead to creating new business opportunities as well.

We often begin with having people spend time reflecting on�questions. They identify what really matters to themselves and to others. Activities may include listening tours, network mapping, creating system diagrams, and appreciative storytelling. The theme of people as source (vs. resource) is continually emphasized. They experience the power of a positive approach and begin to develop their own positive language for use with others at work.

Appreciative systems

Our approach to appreciative systems involves all stakeholders and celebrates many heroes. Participants feel kinship and alignment once boundaries are broken. They are more open and willing to share information, operating as a single intelligence. Organizations find that their structure co-evolves with people, as their culture is transformed and they begin harvesting the results of changes throughout the system. Corporate allegiance is regenerated.

We often begin with simple activities that involve people listening and connecting to one another. We use established methods and work with partners to conduct "Appreciative Inquiry" and "World Caf�s" to engage people in deep conversation. We use Whole-Scale change methodology to engage whole systems of people in discussing opportunities for change. We may also use learning histories and community wisdom projects. Our designs typically include some type of systems approach. Wherever possible we try to foster eco-system thinking as well.

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Kokoro Compass
Peakinsight 360 for Change Agents

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Click on this link for a PDF of "Facilitating Organizational Change" - a presentation to the Minnesota Chapter of ASTD in 2006.

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Client Comments

"Katherine has achieved a unique integration of keen insight, dynamic wisdom, and authentic interest and sensitivity that engages clients in an eager openness to feedback, exploration, and development."
Co-facilitator, organization development program

"Katherine has a unique creative way of identifying the root cause of leadership challenges within our senior management team. Through Katherine's expertise, approach, and style, we not only identified the needs but also built meaningful development plans. It was amazing to see the significant changes in these leaders, the level of satisfaction by the Area Vice President and the results to the bottom line. Katherine truly provides exceptional value added coaching and consulting!"
HR Director, computer firm

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