Why Use the Energy Bar?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

[To gain a quick understanding of The Energy Bar, please watch this 3-minute animated video. The Energy Bar}

I’m a big fan of theories and approaches on influence and change (in fact, I even developed a couple of my own), but those models can get in the way of one incredibly important point: Are you interested in the people you are trying to influence?

In other words, are you curious why they might be reluctant about something that excites you? And, are you willing to see if there are ways that you can get them interested in what interests you?

I know people, decent people, as a matter of fact, who just are not interested in finding out where other people’s energy is today, or how they might help shift that energy to something that might support their idea. When those people apply any approach to change, it could be John Kotter’s, PROSCI’s, Daryl Conner’s, or even my own, they are merely going through the motions. If some technique pays off, they are happy. If it doesn’t, they didn’t expect much anyway, so they move onto something else.

I was working with the executive team in an organization that was required to make a major change in how it was run. This would be a huge and potentially painful shift. I so much wanted to suggest that they bring in Kathie Dannemiller or Jake Jacobs, who had developed powerful approaches to change that got upwards to 500 people deeply engaged in planning over a three-day period. I thought this approach could get people at all levels and in all departments rolling-up-their-sleeves together as they addressed this challenge.

But, I never mentioned it, simply because I didn’t believe that the leadership group would be interested in sharing power in the planning process. I could picture them going along with the meeting, smiling, taking part, and then ignoring almost every decision that didn’t fit with what they wanted to do. To use an approach to change that only appeared like leadership wanted deep engagement, would be disrespectful of managers and staff. (BTW, I had lots of evidence to back up this assumption.)

My intent with The Energy Bar is to strip away everything and get curious about the other person (or people). Do we care where they are on The Energy Bar? Do we have any interest in trying to shift energy in a way that engages people (rather than coerces or manipulates them)? In other words, are we interested in following those few simple steps outlined on the video?

I believe that many people do want to work more collaboratively with others on major changes or even on tiny projects where all they’d like is some support from the person down the hall. If this description fits you, I hope you’ll consider using The Energy Bar. After all, it is free. And please let me know how it’s working for you. Thanks.

Rick Maurer