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Forthcoming Book: The Colors of Change

The Color of Changes book cover

The Color of Changes book cover

I have started to write a book about “Respectful Change Management”. It’s not finished yet but I wrote enough content now that I feel it all makes sense and fit nicely together. Indeed, the principles I’ve discovered make for nice explanations of more famous approaches to change… and their results.The book will explain the principles behind successful change management in 4 steps:

  1. Why our mental model is what it currently is
  2. How that influences our perception of change (whether imposing or being imposed change)
  3. Why our first step is naturally the wrong one
  4. What a good step is to initiate change

As a bonus, I intend to provide a kind of “Respectful Change Maturity Model” similar to what CMM proposes (Capability Maturity Model).

A provision table of content is available below and here is a first draft of the Introduction chapter that summarizes the different parts.

Please tell me about your interest in the book by registering as a potential reader on

Table of contents

1       Introduction

2       How your mind is modeled by your past experiences (The color of your mind)

2.1        The world created you as you are

2.2        You change the world by acting upon it

2.3        When you act, the world feeds back to you (cybernetics)

2.4        What you think influences what you get (self-fulfilling prophecies)

2.5        Cybernetics consequence: a mind is perfectly adapted to its surrounding world

2.6        Your perception of the world is colored by your mind

2.7        Two blind spots of your mind

2.8        The color of mind: your Gestalt

2.9        Consciousness and detection

2.9.1      Of unconscious detection

2.9.2      Of conscious detection

3       How your mind perceives change (The colors of changes)

3.1        How the mind detects a need to change

3.2        Why all changes are wrong (change resistance)

3.3        Why do we always make the wrong step in change management?

3.4        Change others impose onto you

3.5        Change you impose onto others

3.5.1      A caution against setting up double-bind

4       Doing change right without raising resistance (Painting a change of the right color)

4.1        Let people choose their own change color

4.2        The case for strength-based change methods

4.3        For one person

4.4        For many persons

4.4.1      Split the change

4.4.2      Get the whole system to change at once

5       Other aspects to change explained

5.1        NIH (“Not Invented Here”)

5.2        WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”)

5.3        Change and Self-Determination Theory (SDT)

5.4        Carl Rogers’ theory (19 points)

5.5        Strength-based change approaches

5.6        Storytelling

5.6.1      Numbers vs Stories

6       Change maturity model

6.1        Proposed model

6.2        Personal and relational perspectives

6.3        Change activities

6.3.1      Level 1 (ad hoc/chaotic)

6.3.2      Level 2 (repeatable)

6.3.3      Level 3 (defined)

6.3.4      Level 4 (managed)

6.3.5      Level 5 (optimized)

6.4        Moving from one level to the next

7       References


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  • Nicolas,

    What a project! Good luck. I look forward to reading it!


  • Thanks for the invitation to review! Agree with David, quite some project. Will you mention something about Kaizen and continual change? Might be interesting to put Kaizen into the context of respectful change too. I wanted to elaborate more on change at one stage, you might enjoy this blog post: As usually it leans towards IT, at the time technology was the largest contributor to business change…

  • Hello James, long time no see! Yes I will mention Lean since the book is about respectful change. So much people forget about that aspect of lean, it’s a pity!
    Intro and two chapters are written. I correct errors and will upload and publish soon!

  • James, I just read your referenced blog post. Quite comprehensive and thorough, yet my position today is that the path your article chooses is the most difficult. Hopefully you seem to master the required skills to manage that path. My book will be about why we this path is difficult, why we choose this one naturally and what we can do instead… Stay tuned!

  • I’m not really sure the article chooses any path Nicolas, moreover, it highlights the limitations of structured change management approaches, whether we’re talking about business change management, like the integrated change and communication approach used by consultants like Accenture or the change management processes of ITIL.

    The article refers to the immutability of change management, provides some examples and calls-out some of the challenges associated with any path. It doesn’t however, lead us in any one direction or down a particular path.

    Perhaps your book will do that! Looking forward to reading.

  • John A. Lewis

    Hi Nicolas,
    I’ve been reviewing your overview of your upcoming book “The Colors of Change” and it looks like you’ve have put in a lot of work. While your overview does convey to me that you have covered a broad range of subtopics on “the barriers to learning” ST, I don’t have enough feedback to possibly conclude that we are both on the same planet and if not, whether it would be a rewarding learning experience (at least for me) to purchase the book and perhaps engage in some form of a Bohmian Dialogue. Twenty-five years ago, this would have been a very easy issue to address: I would just pop-in to the nearest book-store and review the book.

    Although I am comfortable in my belief that you feel that becoming consciously aware of our mental models and the roles they play in our global social behavior is a critical prerequisite for lowering the barriers to ST becoming a critical tool that tremendously facilitates a global understanding of our world-wide problems, I am curious as whether you would be interested in responding to the following questions:

    What inspired you to write the book? STW? If so, what STW behavior patterns inspired you?

    Almost 2 years ago, I sent you a PDF, explaining my take on mental models, is your book in harmony with the PDF? If not, where could we attempt to unify our thinking?

    Do you think that STW over the last three years has helped lower the barriers to System Thinking? If not, why?


  • Ashu

    Hi Nicolas,

    Just wanted to check if there are any further updates to the book. I’d bought the book long ago from leanpub and have not seen any updates lately. Please advise.

    • Hi Ashu,

      thank you for yuour interest in the book.
      Yes, I haven’t published a new chapter since quite some time, but I’m currently writing quite a long one about strength practices that work according to the principles I’ve already explained. Stay tuned for a new chapter release, hopefully by the end of November.


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