What's the Secret to Big Change?

Time to read: Less than a minute and a half.

We are freezing our arses off. This cruise ship is looking pretty good right now.

We are freezing our arses off. This cruise ship is looking pretty good right now.

Hello Rebels!

Last week, I was working with a corporate team on some... shall we call them... dynamics. They are committed to working differently and brought me in to facilitate a process to help them communicate better and create a happier workplace. The question becomes, how do you get from point A to point B when you are trying to make a change?

Many times, you try to change cold turkey. Think New Year's Resolution. Think Big Change. Think get what you want right now, this minute. Think jump straight from point A to point B. That sounds like this:

"Now I'm going to the gym every day."

"Our workplace will be happier starting today."

"I am going to change my attitude about that colleague I don't like."

The sad truth is, how many of those Big Changes stick over time, and how often do you find yourself a year later in the same situation (or worse)?

Here's what I told the team last week. Big Change happens because you commit to making a thousand Small Changes every single day. Here's a list to get you started:

  • Greet your colleagues cheerfully when you arrive in the morning rather than running for your email.
  • Eat lunch with the colleague who bugs you and commit to learning one new thing about them.
  • Express appreciation openly and consciously three times a day.
  • If you need to vent, take it outside the office.
  • Give your colleagues the benefit of the doubt and instead of getting annoyed, get curious about what is happening for them.

To the cruise ship photo above: If you turn a huge ship one degree, it will end up in a completely different country. That is the power of small changes. When added up over the course of a year, you will have created the Big Change you wanted.

Every little thing you do matters.

With rebel love,


P.S. Every little thing you do really does matter. What will you choose right now?

P.P.S. If you have friends who would like to join our merry band of rebels, they can sign up to get this newsletter right here.


The 4 Things That Make a Company Great: A Tribute

Time to read: one and one quarter minutes

Two weeks ago, I had the distinct privilege to attend a reunion for the company that hired me in 2001, Guidant Corporation. As a result of an acquisition that turned Guidant into Boston Scientific (a dramatic series of events studied in MBA programs), former Guidant employees are everywhere. What's even more amazing is that 12 years after the acquisition, 400 people are excited to gather in a ballroom to drink beer and connect.

While I was at the event, I was thinking of you and how my experience at Guidant taught me what makes a truly great company. When you reflect on where you work, how many of these factors do you see (or not)? What can you do to influence these things, even in small ways?

Here are 4 things I learned from Guidant:

  1. Guidant prioritized employees. When I worked in HR, I was amazed at the decisions that got made about things like benefits, things that cost the company a pretty penny but were good for employees.

    Lesson: A great company prioritizes employees.

  2. Guidant had a culture of innovation. Each employee felt like they could contribute their gifts and make suggestions for process improvements that would actually be implemented. I had a lot of autonomy to create things I cared about like a van pool program for commuters.

    Lesson: Give employees freedom and let them do their best work for you.

  3. Employees felt connected to a sense of purpose. Our medical devices made a difference. Each year, patients would visit the campus for a celebration of their stories and our work. We were committed and deeply connected to a sense of mission and meaning.

    Lesson: People care deeply about the impact of their work.

  4. Employees belonged to each other. When I first interviewed, I heard things like, "Guidant is a family." In my roles, I interacted across many departments, and it was clear that we were on the same team. We cared deeply for one another. And still do.

    Lesson: Relationships matter. A lot.

If you've ever had the chance to work for your version of Guidant, you are lucky indeed. If you haven't, what can you do to make a difference?

With rebel love,