Ideas and Insights

Transition: the blindspot of change



Change is the only constant. And it happens at every level of our existence – from our own bodies right through to the whole planet.


When it is initiated by others in companies, departments, hospitals, mine sites and the like, it is labeled organizational change, and a plethora of literature exists on this subject. The vast majority of change programs initiated in large organizations fail – for many well documented and known reasons.


But too often the results are disappointing because change management is not sufficient in itself; it needs to be supplemented by transition management. Transition is the blind spot of so much well intentioned organizational change.


William Bridges points out that can be triggered by others (as a response to an organizational change), by events (death of a spouse, break up of a relationship)  or by oneself through a choice (new country, new relationship, new role). It can happen in as apparently simple a situation as a unit or section reshuffle of people into new roles or returning from an extended stay in another country. It can start when the change starts or may even begin before the change starts, in anticipation so speak.


In the case of transition triggered by organizational change, the leader’s role is to help individual managers and staff members move through to new beginnings.   Read or download our  paper that describes this blindspot in change management and what to do about it


For an introduction, view this short video by Tim

Tim Dalmau and Jill Tideman


Leadership Master Class: A special conversation with Tim Dalmau & Steve Zuieback



Join Tim Dalmau and Steve Zuieback in a special Leadership Master Class in either San Diego, California on October 16 and 17, 2014.


This is a rare opportunity for top leaders in organizations who are  committed to implementing changes to create more profound and immediate results in their organizations and are interested in exploring their leadership theory of practice.


The most powerful leaders have an explicit “theory of practice” that they consciously operate from as they make decisions, how they engage in challenging situations and how they build and coach other people. A theory of practice is a set of assumptions, hypotheses and principles that have been developed through their experience about what works and doesn’t work.


This Leadership Master Class will take participants through a series of experiences, dialogues and coaching conversations that will result in a completed theory of practice for each person. Participants will receive a packet of information prior to the course to better prepare and focus them for the experience.


The Leadership Master Class is for leaders and executives in any setting, be it education, health care, manufacturing, or professional services. No matter where or how you lead people this class will be for you and will deliver to you direct benefits, insights and skills. The role of leaders in the positive transformation of whole systems will be a core aspect of these events.

You can expect to

  • Understand the Leadership Conversations Framework
  • Understand core leadership models that inform your Theory of Practice.
  • Identify beliefs and values that inform effective leadership practices.
  • Develop your own leadership Theory of Practice.
  • Connect with a network of effective leaders.

Tim and Steve will

  • Draw on various leadership models successful across multiple industry sectors.
  • Work with the real issues faced by the participants
  • Include small and large group work
  • Be limited to a small number of participants to maximize learning and focus on real issues.

Training Venue

This training will be held at:
Marina Village, San Diego, California. You will receive more information about accommodations and restaurants in the area after you have completed the registration process.

– See more at:





Tim Dalmau


Steve Zuieback


Venue: This Master Class will be held at Marina Village, San Diego, California. You will receive more information about accommodation and restaurants after completing the registration process.



Click here to Register for San Diego Master Class!




This is a special opportunity for top leaders in organizations who are interested in exploring their leadership theory of practice and who are committed to implementing changes to create more profound and immediate results in their organizations.  – See more at:

Checklist Manifesto: getting it right!



All of us are working in a world of ever-increasing complexity and information overload. Technology and know-how is evolving to help us better manage this complexity, but we continue to be plagued by avoidable failures.


Atul Gawande, a surgeon, in his book of 2009, The Checklist Manifesto, describes a remarkably low-tech approach – the checklist – to manage the complexity of decision-making – consistently, correctly and safely. He developed this approach in the high stakes world of surgery. His very readable book tells the story of how he explored how the construction industry and airline pilots  use checklists to make better decisions particularly when under time pressure. At the behest of the World Health Organization he refined and tailored the approaches he had uncovered, tested and improved them until finally he came up with a version for surgical teams. Read more…


If we dare! The possibilities of sustainable leadership



Sustainable leadership occurs whenever any one does anything that satisfies the five criteria initially outlined in our October paper, A Stake in the Ground.

Action or leadership that is sustainable

  1. Acts from a whole-of-system view point
  2. Takes into account issues, dynamics and consequences in the wider “world” of which their system is but a part
  3. Preserves or enhances options or choices for the system
  4. Makes choices and acts in a manner that does not limit, but even enhances, the choices that future players might be able to make
  5. Ensures that what is undertaken has within it the capability to endure and adapt through time.
    Read more…

Organizations as conversation spaces


In working with a client CEO many years ago I observed to him that there was a conversation going on in his organization and he need to be part of it. It struck me at the time that there was so much being said and talked about and unless he was part of the ongoing conversational life he ran the risk of becoming disconnected as a leader. As it turned out, he not only became part of the conversation he came to shape, direct and mould the conversation – the skill of a true leader.

In the educational domain commentators sometimes speak of the hidden curriculum. They use this term to describe the informal and formal interactions that go on in any school, but are not easily described in all the documentation and systems surrounding the formal explicit curriculum. So it is with any organization. There are the systems, structures, processes, goals, plans and objectives. These are often documented, formal and easily accessible by all. Then there is the tacit, the ill-formed, the inchoate, the implicit, the hidden and the emerging conversations happening at every moment. It is these interactions that either give the organization life and vitality or as another client said recently leave us “all feeling a bit flat”.

Conversations are the blood flowing through the organization’s veins. They bring life, vitality and energy to the system. If they stop slow down or stop flowing then the system becomes compromised and ultimately moribund

For further insights about the nature and place of conversation in organizations, watch the video below.



Tim Dalmau



AIESEC Presentation on Leadership Ethics and Sustainabiity


On Sunday July 7, 2013 I had the great opportunity to spend a few hours with the future leaders of tomorrow at the Youth to Business conference of AIESEC: an international non-profit organization that provides students with leadership training and internship opportunities at for-profit and non-profit organizations. “AIESEC” was originally the French acronym for Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales (English: International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences); however, the full name is no longer in use. Its international office is in Rotterdam, Netherlands. AIESEC includes over 86,000 members in 113 countries and territories.

It was a great experience and the slides I used are can be found here. You can also read more in the paper I recently wrote with Viv Oates from EY and published in a number of places, including Performance.

Tim Dalmau


Leadership Practices for Challenging Times: principles, skills & practices that work

Steve Zuieback
Publisher: Synectics LLC
Paperback, 320 pages, $49.95

This is a wonderful resource for leaders, consultants and coaches engaged in creating high functioning teams, change management and sustainability. This book guides practitioners in the steps to create conditions within organizations where individuals and teams feel empowered to do great and creative things everyday for their clients, colleagues, organizations and communities.

The book is designed to provide the inspiration, theories and practices that enables people to diagnose, design and implement effective strategies that can transform working environments and whole organizations. Significant attention is given to stepby- step conversation processes along with the facilitation

Uploaded 13 February 2013



Ethical Leadership


An organization is much more than an economic unit of value. It is an integral part of the broader societal fabric within which it operates. It should understand the role it plays in the  overall advancement of humanity. Its leaders are the embodiment of the organization and, by extension, its collective intellect, soul and conscience. This is a responsibility much greater, and with a much higher purpose, than may initially be apparent. Ethical leaders are those who readily grasp this concept and view their role as stewards of the organization. They understand that they are called upon to leave a legacy that adds to the organization’s overall moral standing and strengthens its future as a global asset and an example to others. Ethical-leadership


Tim Dalmau and Viv Oates of Ernst & Young Africa write about the nature of leadership and ethics in today’s modern corporation. This article has been published in a range of professional journals and papers throughout Africa and globally in Performance.  The article explores the six levels of ethical behavior from the unethical through to the highly ethical




Buy Tim & Steve’s Book

''A truly useful and practical book'' Rich Shapiro, EY

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