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The Story of Change, Guest – Jamie Notter

By September 6, 2006February 12th, 2020No Comments
Jamie Notter, successful book author and public speaker, the story of change

Many organizations get seriously tripped up trying to change things. This happens so much that there is now a field of “change management.” That always struck me as absurd, because change happens all the time. Why do we need professionals to manage it?

One reason ties back to stories. People who think up changes in organizations spend a lot of time figuring out what the best course of action is, and when they start to move toward the change, everyone looks at them and says “Hey, what are you doing? This is different! This is a change!”

At that moment, the change leaders need to tell a story as part of change management. They need to provide a compelling story to people as to why this change is a good idea.

At that moment, the change leaders need to tell a story

And they don’t. They want the “answer” they came up with to speak for itself. And they usually just get frustrated when the others don’t see the wisdom of their choice.


The problem with this is, those people can drag a lot of feet. Without a compelling story, they will resist. And if you ask them, “Why won’t you change?” they will pull out their big-gun response:

“We have always done it that way.”

Change management grinds to a halt. You won’t be able to respond. Because they are right. And until you can show them why that needs to change, they will stick with what they know has worked in the past. Even if it wasn’t the best solution, at least they know it.

So get to work on your stories. When you want to change things, don’t just come up with answers, start new conversations. Four colleagues of mine and I wrote a book called, We Have Always Done It That Way: 101 Things About Associations We Must Change, just to get people engaged in new conversations. That way, when the change starts to emerge, the story about why should be clear and, more importantly, shared.

Jamie Notter is the person whom I credit the start of my public speaking career. He was the one suggesting I become a professional speaker… At the time, I never considered it. I will always be grateful.

Jamie is a successful author four times over. From his website, Jamie is an “accomplished speaker, author, and consultant—with deep expertise in workplace culture, generations, and growth.”

Interested in (dramatically) improving your storytelling, public speaking, or communication skills?


  • The Story of Change  (read)
  • The Last Orange – A Story of Conflict Resolution  (read)
  • Stories That Keep You Stuck  (read)
  • Storytelling and Strategic Planning  (read)

Photography Source:  Jamie Notter

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