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This is the first Lean Change Management podcast featuring Paul Gibbons, the author of The Science of Successful Organizational Change. In this episode we talk about what the Agile community can learn from the organizational development and change management communities. We also tackle a variety of topics including:

  • The dangers of Pop Psychology (2:25)
  • The expert trap (4:00)
  • The need for certainty as it relates to change (7:10)
  • 70% failure ‘stat’ (8:15)
  • BDUF – Big Design Up Front for change programs (10:00)
  • Agile and Organizational Change (20:26)

About Paul Gibbons

Paul GibbonsPaul has 30 plus years in business, as a banker, trader, consultant, entrepreneur, and part-time professor.  During those years his passions have been learning, both in the personal development arena, and in science and philosophy. He sees business as the way we realize the potential of science and technology, for the betterment of humankind.   The power business enjoys today (globally) is enormous, so business requires an ethical foundation to ensure that that power creates sustainable growth, and solves the world’s problems rather than creating more.


About The Science of Successful Organizational Change

The Science of Successful Organizational ChangeThe VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) World Demands Change-Agile Businesses
Turbulent environments demand constant change, but the mindset, skills, and behaviors taught to business leaders are unhelpful and sometimes flatly misleading. What is more, many high-profile approaches to change do not help: they are based on untested belief systems, unreliable methods, and psychological myth.

The Science of Organizational Change identifies dozens of myths, bad models, and unhelpful metaphors, replacing some with twenty-first century research and revealing gaps where research needs to be done. Paul Gibbons links the origins of theories about change to the history of ideas and suggests that the human sciences will provide real breakthroughs in our understanding of people in the twenty-first century. For example, change fundamentally entails risk, yet little is written for business people about how breakthroughs in the psychology of risk can help change leaders. Change fundamentally involves changing people’s minds, yet the most recent research shows that provision of facts may strengthen resistance.

Gibbons’ explorations of the frontiers of twenty-first century behavioral science will help you build influence, improve communication, optimize decision making, and sustain change.

In complex organizations and systems, there are no silver bullets. But you can shift away from techniques that are harmful or that science says do not work and toward techniques supported by solid evidence.

  • Leading people through change: Tactics from 21st century human sciences
    Getting beyond flawed “pop psychology”–and failed “pop leadership”
  • New ways to change behavior–without coercion (carrots and sticks)
    Preserving dignity and autonomy, avoiding coercion or paternalism–and succeeding
  • A new science of changing hearts and minds
    Reconceiving resistance, handling social complexity, using facts, and leveraging metacognition
  • Leading with science: The emergence of evidence-based management
    From “anti-scientific” management to experiment, hypothesis testing, and analytics


  • Discard metaphors such as “carrots and sticks,” “burning platforms,” the “soft side” of business, and “resistance,” all of which destroy effectiveness
  • Think about the risk, the true costs, and the results of change programs in a completely new way
  • Turn new insights from mindfulness, behavioral economics, complexity theory, and analytics into practical tools
  • Discard pseudoscience, and pop psychology as guides for how people in business behave
  • Make the shift towards greater accountability, scientific validity, and measurement
  • Replace change management with change agility and change leadership

To make change work, you need to base it on science, not intuition or myth. In this book, Paul Gibbons offers the first blueprint for change that integrates recent advances in neuroscience, mindfulness, behavioral economics, sociology, complexity theory, and analytics.

Rigorously grounded in evidence, this multi-disciplinary approach fully reflects the realities of change in today’s complex organizations. Gibbons offers actionable guidance for every facet of your change initiative–from strategy and planning, through the tactics of changing hearts minds and behaviors, to creating change-agile organizations.

You’ll gain a more mature understanding of how people and systems change. And you’ll learn to apply these insights–increasing resilience, agility, and innovation throughout your organization.

Get the Book