Tag: People Side of Change

Founders Corner – The People Side of Change

What do National Month of Hope, Volunteer Month, Move More Month, Parkinson’s Awareness, Garden Month, Stress Awareness Month, and Women’s Black History Month all have in common? They are all steeped in deepening awareness in our lives. By deepening our awareness, we live a fuller life, more broadly experienced, and in what I’ve discovered along my journey, experiencing my life on a level that allows for greater insight beyond what I ever imagined possible. 

For several months we’ve focused on different aspects of life that cause us stress, and while stress may often find its way to the forefront, this month we honor Financial Literacy Month.

Hi, I’m Byron Darden with another edition of Leading with Purpose on Purpose. In this edition, we continue our series on Transitions. In this installment, we focus on The People Side of Change. We’ve covered a great deal about the challenges and stressors of change and how a well-planned transition can make a universal difference in how we leave the current state, and move toward our approach to, the transition through and arrival at the new future state. That’s the Macro level of change.

On the Micro level, are those of us who lead through, and work in, the new state of change of  our organizations. Therefore we need tools to help us along the way to support our internal and external stakeholders. One of the most useful tools I’ve discovered as a leader, and often a leader’s ultimate downfall without it, is the invaluable ability and willingness to listen.

So listen with your eyes and your ears as we share how Triple Axel Executive Coaching can support you in navigating your long-range aspirations in your career and life. Enjoy!

Dive into this month’s blog with the People Side of Change – Step by Step.

People Side of Change – Step by Step

Change is constant. Organizations must change to adapt to global and industrial conditions to keep up with the demands of their customers and remain in step or a step ahead of the competition. Those in charge of these changes make decisive decisions, where the aim is often to influence consumers and improve the bottom line. What’s missing sometimes is how these changes affect those in the middle. 

When the CEO declares there will be cuts across the board, each department head is tasked with how that will look in their department. Do they search for efficiencies, scrap projects, or lay off employees?  Meanwhile, the employees are thrown into a whirlwind of change, which includes various emotions.  Some employees are excited about change, some resist, and others are left by the wayside – either without a job in the organization or floundering to understand where they fit in.

How change affects the organization as a whole is familiar, as many studies and strategies have been explored in Change Management.  What we will explore here is how change affects the human dynamic, including navigating emotions, perceptions, and personal experiences.

We evolve with each passing day as a response to our environment, our interactions with others, or by gaining an understanding of ourselves.  The response to organizational change is an opportunity to turn inward and determine how it aligns with your purpose.

Learn to Paint a PICTURE.


Organizational Change Management drives a series of actions to help support a company or organization to alter the way a significant component operates. This could involve the adoption of new technology or IT systems, an aspect of how the organization is set up (its infrastructure), or a culture shift.  

Instead of viewing the change as something that is happening to the organization and in turn happening to you, consider how you can grow through the transition and emerge successfully on the other side.

This process has three phases: preparation, implementation, and completion (follow-through). Its checks and balances are testing, utilization management, relational impact, and evaluation. We’ll call this process PICTURE.

There are different models for launching an organizational change, each with a unique approach to solving the problem. They commonly break down the PICTURE into manageable chunks of actions to complete the entirety of the change process.

Some organizations fail to take into consideration how they will manage human capital, or how the people factor into the change.  Human capital is multi-faceted consisting of:

  • Health
  • Education/Training
  • Experience
  • IQ and EQ
  • Hard and Soft Skills
  • Abilities
  • Creativity
  • Wisdom
  • Discernment

Each of these aspects is a study in itself, and when planning a transition, the goal is how to influence your team to draw on all these different aspects of what they bring to their role (so that the enterprise gains most from their contribution). At the same time, as you are experiencing the change, you can draw on all these personal attributes in planning your transition to your future self. 

Human capital management encompasses overseeing, evaluating, and deploying the value a human being contributes toward an organization achieving its goals. Beginning with well-chosen talent sets the stage for developing, managing, and inspiring that talent to perform well in their role. The development of human performance is the heart of our coaching. 

To optimize the talents of your team to more effectively ensure success in achieving the end goal of change, inspiring that talent to maintain the new state is crucial. Otherwise, your team can become demotivated, lose the spark of inspiration, and impact the new state in ways that render the change ineffective.

The 4 Cs of Performance Management as outlined by HR Tactics are collaboration, connect, clarity, and character. These concepts complement my approach to building leadership capacity in the following ways: 

  • Gaining buy-in,
  • Building strong team alliances,
  • Maintaining the transparency of a clear why,
  • Drawing out the unique alignments between one’s character and what the organization stands for,
  • Influencing the adoption of the new state following the change itself,
  • Responding to, Why it is Important? And
  • Ability to articulate the benefit in a way that’s inspiring to those going through the change

When we focus on the contributions and abilities of the people who will see the change through by acknowledging their concerns, potential obstacles, and fears of the unknown, we must support them in realizing we are all in this change together. We will all learn, stumble, and work together for the good of the outcomes that impact each employee and/or team member in positive and sustaining ways.

Questions to ponder are:

  • Are we really all in this together? 
  • As a leader, have you considered what is most important to you when it comes to change? 
  • Have you done the soul searching that can answer the question, “Why are you here?” 
  • Is it just to have power? More money? Perhaps satisfaction that you put your knowledge and wisdom to work to make a difference for someone else? 
  • Have you identified what you are most passionate about and then sought to fulfill that passion through your leadership?

When we miss the opportunity to ask of ourselves what we are ultimately asking of our team, we also miss the opportunity to walk in their shoes. To see the world from their perspective. We can become tunnel-visioned in leading the charge for change’s sake alone. Yet, when we aren’t steeped in awareness of our world outside of our leadership, we can misstep in managing the human capital of others.

It’s time to Design a Roadmap.

Design a Roadmap

Here’s a simple task to turn your experience inward and discover what’s important to you:

Start with identifying what it is that you do at the very heart of your role as a leader. Consider the essence of your leadership, not just your tasks. Consider a metaphor that sums up who you are as a leader and as a person that is inextricably linked to your what!

Then look at why you’ve found yourself on this path. 

Next, explore how your knowledge can help you build a roadmap through life transitions you’ll face up ahead whether or not you’ve prepared. Consider these questions:

  • Will you be leading teams right up until you decide you have something more you want to do? 
  • Will you view your current state as a stepping stone to something that is calling you? 
  • Are you even aware there may be a calling you’re not hearing because of all of the noise that gets in your way? 

Taking the time to look into planning your own life, will support you in more effectively planning a new life (future state) in which your team will do their work, accomplish their tasks, and achieve their personal goals.

Next learn how to Build a Ship.

Build a Ship

By inspiring your people to embrace the desire of wanting to make a difference, you begin the development of a leader. There is a moving quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery that reads: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the sea.”

When we inspire people to make a difference, and they discover the value they bring, we are planting the seeds that – when nurtured over time – will grow their confidence, passion, and visionary potential; key components of leadership.

When we are inspired, the dopamine in our brains is released stimulating a sense of motivation and energy. This energy is the rush we think of when positive thoughts enter our brains leading us to think in different ways that ultimately lead to the types of actions we take. One of the ways I develop leaders is to provide them with examples and put them in situations where they can draw on all their senses to physically experience, see, hear, smell, taste, and think about how they respond to positive vs negative language use. We address the concept of indoctrination that happens to all human beings within a society where norms are established.

We then perform a variety of activities that allow them to get in touch with how their senses take in the world around them and synthesize the individual components to produce different experiences in the mind, body, and spirit. Experimenting with these different experiences allows leaders the opportunity to gain insight into where their intentions may or may not align with their impact.

By transferring these experiences to their teams and employees, the leader begins to help those around them to rewire neurologically the synapsis that leads to new pattern development in their behavior. When we experience the influence that the new behavior has on our outcomes positively, we are more likely to repeat and embrace the different state of mind that aligns with the new future state that emerges upon completing a change initiative within an organization.

These are guiding principles to support your team through a change. They are also crucial considerations to take into account when doing your inner work of Life Planning. 

Life Planning is the human side of financial planning which seeks to discover the most profound goals of a leader through a process of listening and inquiry. Life Planning connects the dots between a leader’s financial realities with aspirations and the life they want to create for themselves. Through this process, the client harnesses behavior and relational aspects of financial planning that lead to the inspiration to mindfully pursue their aspirations.

Life Planning in contrast to Life Coaching – which can be a byproduct of Life Planning – results in developing another useful tool that serves you well as a whole person of whom, one of many roles is a leader. Once your Life Plan is in place, Triple Axel can work with you in manifesting that plan through coaching and program offerings designed to transition your life accordingly.


  • Life planning can provide you with a roadmap for the future
    • Starting a nonprofit organization
    • Retirement planning
    • Move to Volunteerism
    • Pursuing a promotion
    • Changing Fields/Industries
    • Starting a business
    • Living the life you want rather than someone else’s life because you did not plan your own 
  • Ground you in the work you’ve currently chosen
    • Supporting your personal brand
    • Clarifying your why and uncovering your motivations
    • Building compassion for your team and colleagues
    • Deepening your leadership effectiveness
    • Advise and coach your team with care
    • Sharing personal stories that inspire
  • See and experience others more mindfully and from a deeper knowing
    • Providing thoughtfully for your family
    • Building empathy for others
    • Sharing personal stories that inspire
    • Become a more effective listener
    • Deepen your inner peace
  • Reduce the anxiety and stress often coupled with climbing the corporate ladder
    • Develop focus and concentration
    • Manage anxiety and stress with deep breathing practice
    • Take more risks in low-stakes situations to build confidence
    • Increase self-reflection time and opportunities
  • Help you build a stronger and more sustaining relationship with yourself and your community
    • Capitalize on Strengths and Overcome Challenges
    • Enhance comfort with vulnerabilities
    • Strengthen your confidence
    • Let Go more effectively

Time to think about Where Do You See Yourself?

Where Do You See Yourself?

Think of your life in four increments of 8000 days (22 years). Each 22 years is a chapter that reads like a book. A time in your life during which you will transition to another. By the time you finish The Book of You, How would you want each chapter to read? 

Here is an activity you can start with:

Create a Four Square chart: The Book of You

Proceeding in a clockwise direction, starting in the upper left, name the boxes chapters 1 through 4. Identify each chapter by a name that is most meaningful to you and captures the general activities you recall taking place in the first two (the chart below has examples). 

Remember that the first chapter takes you to the age of 22. 

While the second begins at 23 and ends at 44 years of age.

Now imagine your future self in Chapters three and four. 

What name would you give each of the two remaining chapters?

What types of activities do you imagine being your focus? 

What do you like about what you see? What would you like to change? 

How do you imagine you would go through that process?

Let me share A Personal Breakthrough.

A Personal Breakthrough

In 2008 I stepped into my first ever experience of Life Planning. It was an eye-opening experience for me to stop and consider what is most important to me in my life. I was coached through the various steps involved in the process and what I discovered was surprising.  

At the deepest level of my life plan was the desire to be philanthropic, self-improvement-focused, and able to give back to others. When it came to how that would look, creating a business, publishing a book on how to thrive, and public speaking were at the top of my list.

What came out of that life plan was starting Triple Axel Executive Coaching, publishing a blog, and beginning to deliver keynote addresses. I also returned to my acting roots and was approached by long-term friend and theater director, Jane Staab. She cast me in Billy Elliot: The Musical. I left my home in New York City and relocated to Boston in 2017 to begin rehearsals and launch the production. It was an exciting time and a challenging one on a personal level.

Halfway through the run, my father’s health took a turn for the worse. On a Sunday evening following a matinee performance, I took the last flight out of Logan Airport before they closed due to a snowstorm and traveled to my father’s bedside in Denver. Two days later I flew back to Boston in time for a 10 am matinee the following morning. Upon my arrival in Boston, I heard from my sister that our father passed away.

I realized that as part of my life planning, I’d become closer to my sister, took time out to support my dad during his five-year illness following a stroke, and was impacting the lives of others through my performance on stage. That is when I discovered how powerful life planning can be.

Years later, I was reintroduced to Life Planning while attending weekly meditation with the father of Life Planning, author and retired financial planner, George Kinder. Two years ago, I began taking a deeper interest in Life Planning and decided I wanted to help executives by introducing them to this life-changing experience as it had been for me.

One of the other surprising revelations for me is that within my first Life Planning experience, I’d covertly alluded to becoming a Registered Life Planner myself. So I committed, signed up for the course, and did the training. What I had not expected to learn was how prepared I was to step into this work from all the previous work I’d done in becoming an Executive Coach that began over twenty years ago.

What I learned from this experience is that Life Planning and Executive Coaching go hand-in-hand. My certification in Organizational Change Management was also inextricably linked to who I am becoming in my field; an influencer in how the world of business runs.

Find out What You Gain from life planning.

What You Gain

You may be familiar with life planning as it pertains to the end of your life here on Earth. You draft a will and decide that your china collection goes to your daughter or son.  We want to differentiate that from life planning, which is a plan for your life. It entails what you want your life to look like and how you are going to accomplish your vision.

Many of us set goals related to promotions or working until we are 67 ½ and then retiring. It’s easier to achieve a goal of $1 million in our bank account than it is to envision a better relationship with our partner or leave a legacy.   

Around 22% of people have end-of-life plans. Around ⅓ of people have life plans.  Some of us make plans for exercise, healthy eating, and our career aspirations, yet life planning is so much more. It’s been compared to a personal compass.

Of those who create and work toward their life plans, there is more focus and commitment. Among the benefits of a solid plan are:

  • Helps you direct your energy and resources toward specific objectives.
  • Prioritize your tasks and goals based on their importance and urgency.
  • Allocates time for various activities and tasks, including work, leisure, and self-improvement.
  • Motivates by visualizing your goals and the steps needed to achieve them.
  • Creates accountability when you share your goals with others.
  • Allows for flexibility when life is unpredictable.

It’s time for you to Take Control.

Take Control

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

Are you tired of living life on someone else’s terms?  

Perhaps you made choices that achieved your professional goal, and still something is missing.

At Triple Axel Executive Coaching, we coach you through the corporate dilemmas in which you find yourself – how to get to the next level or how to effectively lead your team.  Along the way, you discover more about yourself. Perhaps you find that your purpose doesn’t align with your job role. You may also find that you are exactly where you need or want to be and now have the clarity and confidence to move forward.  

Asking yourself how you want your life to look and feel are essential questions for your quality of life. You might sit down and envision a life filled with community involvement and relaxing breakfasts with your partner. Your reality might be 80-hour work weeks that start with 6 am power meetings.

Getting from your current reality to the life you envision is what life planning entails. I’m Byron Darden, founder of Triple Axel Executive Coaching and a Registered Life Planner RLP®. Book a call and we’ll start getting you from here to there in a way that works for you.