There’s an interesting tension in the work we do as advisors to our clients.

Organizations seek us out because they are facing an immediate and often immovable catalyst for change. At first, everyone agrees that the change is necessary, and in fact is a long time coming. Where the tension comes into play is when people begin to realize the things that are changing are either the things they built or the things they do. Suddenly, the change doesn’t seem quite as necessary, and certainly not so urgent.

At IA, we love change. We embrace the opportunities it brings, and we have seen the positive impact it can have with our clients. We also recognize that innovation can’t happen in a vacuum. It is often built on the foundations of what came before it. This can be a sensitive process given we often discover something...let’s say, less than optimal. In seeking insight, we’ll often ask why it’s done that way, and that’s when the defenses can come up. Either we hear there is no other way to do it, someone got in trouble for doing it a different way (once), or the ever-popular, “it’s how we’ve always done it.”

I was reading a fascinating article about a study by University of Chicago economist and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt. It focused on people who were having a hard time making a decision, with Levitt’s findings suggesting that, “we would all be better off if we did more quitting.” Levitt goes on to suggest that, “A good rule of thumb in decision making is, whenever you cannot decide what you should do, choose the action that represents a change, rather than continuing the status quo.”

It’s an interesting notion that we wrestle with a thousand times in our personal and professional lives. And there’s this delicate balance between honoring what WAS while still focusing on what WILL BE. Most employees take immense pride in the work they do - even if they know that improvement is possible, if not probable. Many have tried to make changes in the past and encountered pushback, only to have their leadership hire a consultant (of all people!) to make the same recommendations the employees did years ago. This can lead to understandable resentment, frustration and disengagement in a process that desperately needs their expertise and participation.

As much as we advocate for more quitting, we should recognize that even the ugliest processes might be loved by someone. In acknowledging the sheer human will that often keeps organizations running, you just might empower an individual to push past that seemingly immovable barrier of stasis. As recent times have reinforced for all of us, the status quo can offer little solace and even less control. Some change could do us good. 


With warm regards,

— Mark
Founder/Managing Principal/Change Agent, IA

Voice of HR

Embracing the Unexpected Path

In her first post for IA, Jennifer Payne shares how her desire for career growth and personal development led her to a new role.

The Reluctant Consultant: The Job I Never Wanted (and Love)

People don't always set out to be a consultant. But sometimes your skillset lands you in your dream job - like it did for Kimberly Carroll.

Where You Can Find Us

We are SO CLOSE to being able to actually see each other in person! In the meantime, we are keeping busy with a number of virtual events (and a planned in-person conference in the fall!):

  • August 4-6, 2021: Mark Stelzner is scheduled to deliver a keynote at TechHR India, sharing insights on the concept of Dynamic HR with HR leaders from all over India.

  • August 2021: Kimberly Carroll will share a webinar focused on helping organizations modernize their payroll function. The webinar will be hosted by HR Executive. Details are coming soon!

  • September 28 - October 1, 2021: Members of the IA team plan to be at the HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas - live and in-person. We can’t wait to reconnect safely with everyone there.


On Our Radar

The internet has a lot of content - have you noticed that? To help cut through some of that, we IA-ers like to highlight articles that caught our attention. Here are a few that we liked:

  • The time of reckoning is fast approaching - will companies admit remote work was a viable option for a lot of their employees, or will they insist on going back to a “normal” that forced work to be priority number rone? The answer to the question may very well determine whether employees look for a new job, according to this study from The Conversation.

  • With so many people working remotely, back-to-back meetings are the norm. And Fast Company thinks most of them are useless. In this article, the author makes a compelling case for specific scenarios to consider a “just say no” mentality towards meetings.

  • And, finally, from the world of, “Well, that’s one approach,” we have this story from Harvard Business Review. Are you over the idea of authenticity? Well, so is Harvard, and they are offering a new class to ditch being authentic and embrace your “inner badass.”  Think confidence over personality. It’s an interesting concept.

About IA

As trusted advisors to senior leaders, IA supports strategic initiatives that transform the way organizations work.

Our seasoned team of professionals apply a revolutionary eye, deep domain experience, and flexible tools to accelerate the achievement of even the most ambitious goals. With a cross-functional, strategic perspective, we thrive on big, messy problems. Whether large or small, public or private, domestic or international, it’s our job to support leaders and their teams in achieving outcomes that are truly unique to their culture and objectives.

Every organization has a catalyst for change – learn more at
Copyright © 2021 IA, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp