Change Management, Goldilocks and the Three Bears


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The idea for this post came from The Customer and Leadership Blog by Maz Iqbal.

You have heard the story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.

Goldilocks climbed upstairs and saw that there were 3 pretty beds in front of her

It had been an exhausting day so Goldilocks decided to have a lie down.

She climbed into the first bed, but tossed and turned, it was far to hard.

She climbed into the second bed and sank down into the mattress, it was far to soft.

Finally she climbed into the third bed, and fell into a deep sleep, it was just right.

What has Goldilocks got to do with managing change?

Just like the beds, we can manage change in a way that is too hard, too soft or just right…

Sometimes we are too hard:

  • Directors expect to revolutionise the world in months
  • They set aggressive targets
  • Middle managers were held accountable
  • Staff attend change “boot camps” and are told to “get with the programme”
  • But results don’t happen nearly as quickly as we expect and frustrations show
  • Disbelief sets in and people quickly go back to their old ways.

Sometimes we are too soft:

Sometimes we get it just right:

  • People agree with the principles behind the change, not just the outcomes
  • Staff members volunteer to be involved
  • Small steps are made towards the goal every month
  • There is consistent focus and reward from the top
  • Problems are investigated and resolved
  • Nobody expects a quick fix. Everybody is in it for the long-term
  • Gradually the hoped for change becomes a reality

It doesn’t matter what you are trying to change

Change only comes from a consistent, long-term, commitment. Moving one step at a time.

Nothing else bears up (dreadful, sorry).

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the change management bear

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Image by wstera2

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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