#CHANGE: 6 C’s and 1 Secret


If so, let’s explore the “6 C’s of Change.” Every change process in every organization contains these components. It’s good to name them so we know where we are at any given time.

Then we’ll share the secret to change. (Hint: It isn’t plastering slogans on cubicle and cafeteria walls.)

Okay, here we go …

1. Conception—a management phase:

The life of purposeful change begins at conception—when an idea is formed, usually “at the top.” Yes, an executive team’s job is to look beyond today. Good (and bad) ideas have to come from somewhere.  A question worth asking, though, is this: “Is management close enough to all customers to be conceiving the right ideas?” If not, everyone has a problem.

2. Construction—a management phase:

This is when strategies and tactics for achieving change are created. It’s when “How are we gonna do this?” is answered. In this critical phase plans are constructed, fleshed out, and finalized. A critical step.

3. Communication—a management phase:

“We’re all in sales” is a common claim, but most supervisors still can’t SELL change. At any level people will embrace change if they understand the why behind it, deem it of value, and know how to get it done. If management won’t—or won’t learn to— communicate all this, then change is “dead on arrival.”

4. Caring—an everyone phase:

When individuals aren’t invested in change, they’ll never own change. When only management owns change, management is “pushing a wet rope uphill”—and that’s awfully unproductive. Slaying apathy is a goal every organization should strive to achieve.

5. Coping—an everyone phase:

Coping defined: “To struggle with a problem with some degree of success.” When confronted with change, people must achieve a level of cope-ability or this truth is revealed: An organization can only coast one direction. Coping is a healthy step in the change process.

6. Conquering—an everyone phase:

The change originally imagined stretches people to the point of emotional “pain”—but through “communicating, caring, and coping,” change is surmounted, mastered, and overcome. That’s what conquering is all about. Victory in and over change is the goal!


So, many components to #CHANGE, eh? I guess we could’ve skipped all of them and just shared the secret and saved you a bunch of time. Sorry, I wasn’t thinking!

It comes from Rachel, an engineer with a major aeronautical firm and a longtime subscriber to QBQ! QuickNotes.


Our org chart, systems, and priorities recently changed. What was once important to my manager isn’t—and that’s left my role unclear. Last week I was so frustrated that if they’d offered me retirement, I would have taken it in a nanosecond! 

But now I’ve realized that instead of whining, I need to change my thinking, let go of my frustration, and figure out what I can do to be of value to my boss. 

So she and I met and I came away with a better understanding of the current management philosophy and where I fit in. And, because I didn’t “point fingers,” she was extremely open to my concerns. It was very productive! 

This all took place because I realized that I could not change the organization but I can change … me.

Instead of asking an “Incorrect Question” (quick tutorial here) like, “Why do we have to go though all this change?” and “Why are they doing this to us?” I’m asking the QBQs, “What can I do to improve my situation?” and “How can I adapt?” Rachel

And that, my friends, is the secret to organizational change. Me changing me. I know what you’re thinking—it’s just too simple, right?

Well, the good news is, simple works.

Questions for comment: 

Which of the 6 C’s is your organization experiencing right now? How are people responding?

What lesson do you take from Rachel’s story and how will you apply it? 

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7 Responses

  1. could you elaborate a little more on each item, or is there a book I can read.
    I’m very interest in this,
    I need our company to go
    Through this.

  2. Yes, but if the purposed change is not among your priorities, or within your parameters of practice/ethical or moral code; its not “feeding you”….its time to move on. Insert “Who Moved My Cheese” philosophy here. Just want to give a different perspective that it is okay to not agree with the change, to seek an alternative path to the one your organization is mandating. Many large organizations are disguising “cost cutting” measures as “change” that will improve “efficiency” or “flow”. Not always the case….and quality suffers. Many entrepreneurs have blossomed because they faced a situation where the “change” for them was counter productive to their personal goals. They had the courage to move on and they became successful because they refused to be satisfied with mediocrity.

  3. It’s easy to see how others need to change and Rachel’s story made me think about how much I need to change in a situation that is bothering me. Not move away from the problem but embrace it to see how I can make a difference in myself.

  4. I recently heard a sermon about the Garden of Eden. Adam blamed Eve for getting him to eat the apple, Eve blamed the snake for getting her to eat the apple and the snake said yes I did it. We’ve been struggling with personal accountability for all of our history! Looking at the steps of change let’s me see where I can have more influence and lead. One thing I can always do is change me by being personally accountable! It also strikes me that we go through these steps even when the only person that is changing is me and I get to do all of the steps me, myself and I! Exciting!

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