Do the Words “Change Process” Make You Gag?

So much corporate jargon turns me off as it just seems to complicate things. “Change Process” is one of those terms. Imagine my surprise this week when Ari Weinzweig of shared the change process they use at Zingerman’s and I immediately used it in my family and started sharing it with clients. I was pre-disposed to like what Ari had to say as I interviewed him for the Purpose Podcast almost two years ago and had a great time.

The Zingerman’s change process starts from the idea that every can provide leadership, even the brand new employee. If that new employee (or anyone else) sees a change that could be made to make things better, their supervisor can immediately coach them through this change process and the whole organization gets stronger. Do you want to learn about the process? I recommend you pick a small change you’d like to cause at home, for example, and then follow these steps in real life, not just theory.

  1. Pick the change you’d like to make. Write it down in a few words. (I picked: Reestablish weekly biz/family meeting with my wife Celeste)
  2. Write as many reasons as you can think of for why this change is a good idea. (more alignment between Celeste and I, getting clear on priorities will make our summer better for the two of us and our two kids, etc)
  3. Write down different stakeholder groups and customize how you might sell the change to them (sterotypically HR will need more people-focused reasons while accounting more numbers-focused reasons, etc). In my example, it’s just Celeste I needed to sell.
  4. Write down a vision for this change, set in the future, that is inspiring and strategically sound. Once you type it up, put DRAFT at the top and get some people to look at it and make it better. My draft started this way: “It’s Labor Day weekend 2016 and we’ve had a great summer!”
  5. Depending on how big a deal this change is, you may want to review and re-draft with many different people over a period of time.
  6. Get input from content experts.
  7. Share the vision widely. He’s got more detail on how to share the vision as well, for example to include a cynic on your team to help create the plan for communicating the change to the cynics in the organization. We’ll cover that in another post.

Let me know what change you bring into being with this process!


I free up entrepreneurs for greater impact. Day to day demands of your growing business will sap your energy and blunt your effectiveness. Together we can work to reduce demands by up to 80% while moving more quickly in the direction of your purpose.

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