Ideas and Insights

Integrating cultures after a merger

Jill Tideman has prepared a short paper on Integrating cultures after a merger: rising to the challenge.

She explores the challenges organizations face when two or more cultures come together as a result of a merger, especially if the hoped for financial benefits of a merger are to be realized.

Click here to download her paper.


Sustainable Change: a whole of systems view

Towards the end of 2018, Tim Dalmau and Jill Tideman had a paper published, “The Practice and Art of Complex Change”. The paper draws together work over the last 15 years and is fairly long and extensive. We have prepared a short excerpt from this so that our ideas on leading change are more accessible to more people.

Click here to download your copy

Jill Tideman


Review: One Mission: How leaders build a team of teams

One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams, by Chris Fussell and C.W. Goodyear published in 2017, follows on from the highly successful book, Team of Teams, that Chris co-authored with General Stanley McChrystal and others in 2015. General McChrystal, was commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) whose last assignment was commanding all U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan. He is currently a senior fellow at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and co-founder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm where Chris Fussell and C.W Goodyear are his colleagues.

Generally, I would not be attracted to a management book written by military men, whose ideas are rooted in their military experience. I know this says more about me and my biases, but my assumption was that the military experience is very different from the corporate and organizational world – and I was sceptical of the relevance to that world. I eventually picked it up to read on the recommendation of my colleague, Tim Dalmau, whose judgement in this area I respect. Read more…


When institutions go bad

Tim Dalmau has written a thought-provoking paper, based on his reflections on governance and leadership arising from the recent revelations in the Australian banking industry. He explores parallels across a range of settings. Click here to download your copy of this paper.


Successful change: driven by clear outcomes

Over the last twelve months the theme that has permeated most of our Ideas and Insight articles is change – approaches and pitfalls to successful change.

In the recently reviewed book, “Inclusive Leadership: the definitive guide to developing and executing an impactful diversity and inclusion strategy” again the message is clear – if initiatives such as developing and delivering a diversity and inclusion strategy are not placed within a change management frame – with clear and well thought out outcomes driving the change then the results will be sub-optimal at best, and complete failure at worst.

But, good change depends on clear outcomes.

In this short video Jill provides some timely tips and reminders about the nature and need for well-crafted outcomes.

Click here more information on well-formed outcomes from a previous post.

Jill Tideman


Inclusive leadership: ways to achieve diversity and inclusion

Inclusive Leadership: the definitive guide to developing and executing an impactful diversity and inclusion strategy by Charlotte Sweeney and Fleur Bothwick (Pearson Books, 2016)  is a book all leaders and aspiring leaders need in their personal library.

Cogent arguments and performance data identifying the real benefits to organizations of diverse are provided, with good tips on preparing a business case for such change. In addition, simple and clear distinctions for the concepts of equality, diversity and inclusion are made, and practical ways to think and act strategically to lead change for diversity and inclusion in workplaces are outlined. Read more…



Nassim Taleb, best known for his book on Black Swan events (events that are typically random and are unexpected) has introduced a new word into the management and leadership lexicon – ANTIFRAGILE.

He starts with the deceptively simple proposition that the opposite of fragile is not robust. In his book of the same name he introduces the concept of the Antifragile.

The concept of fragility is very familiar to us. It applies to things that break when you strike or stretch them with a relatively small amount of force. Porcelain cups are fragile.

Things that do not break so easily when you apply force or stress to them we call strong or resilient, even robust. A cast-iron pan, for instance. This is familiar conceptual territory for most of us.

However, there is a third category here that is often overlooked. It includes those things that actually get stronger or improve when they are met with a stressor (up to a point). Illustratively, he points to safety in the airline industry that exists today due to crashes in the past. It is a safer way to travel because of past “breakages”, so to speak.

This antifragile property can be said to apply to living things generally, as in the famous aphorism ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. For example, we are now beginning to realize just how much children who are raised in what we might call “dirty” environments (e.g. some parts of India) have much stronger immune systems than those raised in more sterile “western” world conditions. Strangely, we don’t really have a word for this property, this opposite of fragility. For Taleb, all complex systems (like societies, economic systems, businesses etc.) have, or must confront this property in some way. Read more…


Mission impossible – engineered culture change

Tim Dalmau has often spoken about culture change being an oxymoron.  Download and read this paper to find out why!


Lead and Manage Change Masterclass, May 2-3, Adelaide

Tim Dalmau and Steve Zuieback will conduct a Masterclass in Adelaide for those in leadership who are asked to guide change or are adapting to changes. This change may range from the normal through the complex to the totally and previously unthinkable. It will be from  May 2 and 3, 2017 in Adelaide.

They will be conducting this Masterclass  for those who wish to be more effective in guiding and leading others to be part of a change. They may also be trying to understand the apparent increase in the scope, impact, rapidity and interconnectedness of all the changes sweeping the globe at the moment and their impact right down inside organizations.

Click here for additional information

Dates and locations

May 2 and 3, 2017

The Monastery Function Center,
15 Cross Road,
Glen Osmond SA 4068
Tel: +61 8 8338 8700

Click here to register today!

If you have any queries regarding registration please email or phone +61 41 997 1777

Fee $1795 


Who should I involve in change?

This is a complex question to which there is no simple answer. So much depends on the individual situation, the nature of the change and the context in which it is unfolding. But there is one constant in most situations that involve large numbers of employees, an established company history and a range of sub-cultures …

Many will recognize the diagram below, developed originally by Everett Rogers (2003) and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in the Tipping Point. It provides an explanation for how new ideas or innovations get embraced, at times with viral speed. This work has been backed-up by extensive research and examples, and although originating in the field of agricultural innovation in the Mid-West of the US more than 60 years ago, has been found to still be valid today in those settings described above.

Despite perhaps its familiarity and its simplicity it is important to draw the parallels and its relevance to leading change in organizations, and the value of some simple models never wane.



With respect to the diffusion of new ideas or innovation, Everett and others found at any one time there were groups of ‘like types’ of people in the population, community or indeed in organizations, who could be identified as having similar characteristics or ‘personality’ in relation to their propensity to adopt or resist new ideas, that is, to embrace change.

The characteristics that the like types share is as follows,


The adoption of new ideas (change) begins with the very few (approximately 2.5%) who have vision and imagination

Early adopters

Tend to leap in when the benefit of the change becomes apparent. They are quick to make connections and the competitive edge of a new idea motivates them. They like to be seen at the leading edge and through their often-high social profile spread the word quickly. They make up about 13.5% of the population. They tend to have a great deal of respect and credibility in the eyes of those who follow them to the right of the bell curve.

Early majority

These require more ‘proof’ of the benefits that the new idea or change will bring and are seen as pragmatists and more moderately progressive. To them the new idea needs to be user friendly and not high risk.

Late majority

Are more conservative and definitely don’t like risk but they will follow new ideas eventually to be seen to ‘fit in’.

Everett says that each of these segments, early and late majority comprise about 34% each of the population.


Are risk adverse and tend to fear any sort of change, making up the final 16% of the population.

The value of enthusiasts in organizations

If we call enthusiasts those who are either innovators and/or early adopters. The links between these enthusiasts and new ideas, and their role in bringing about change in organizations is obvious.

Enthusiasts by their very interest and engagement with the change itself bring the “early majority” with them. Engaging with this group directly inevitably triggers unnecessarily complex reactions and defensive routines. So, too, with the late adopters. Whereas, getting the backing of the enthusiasts tends to entice the interest of the early majority and they, in turn, bring the late majority with them.

Enthusiasts come in all shapes and sizes and live in many different parts of organizations. They are not confined to specific job roles.

The challenge for a change leader is to identify these people, and offer them strong face-to-face support in taking up change. They are enthusiastic to trial new ways and you can learn from their feedback. However, they need opportunity to show what they are doing and are motivated by kudos. Not only are they role models but some of them can make excellent coaches and mentors as the change process evolves.

Jill Tideman





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