My Notes From Sara Robert’s CMMA Presentation

Sara is the President and CEO of Roberts Golden Consulting headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

Sara Roberts
Roberts Golden Consulting

Author of Light Their Fire: Using Internal Marketing to Ignite Employee Performance and Wow Your Customers (Kaplan 2005) and has been quoted in numerous publications including Business Week, Inc. Magazine, and Forbes.

What if you were given the chance to change or die from a doctor?  What if the doctor said, if you don’t make changes in the way you think and act, you wouldn’t make those changes?  Of course, you are going to make those changes.  Don’t bet on it though because medical research shows, 90% of people don’t make the necessary changes to save their own life.

Dean Ornish knows how to make people change.  Ornish in 1993 took 333 patients with heart disease got them to quit smoking, diet, twice-weekly meeting, mediation, relaxation, yoga.  They had a coach that sat down with them and have measurable and achievable results for them.  Most doctors frame up the fact that people will die if they don’t change, he taught the joy of living.  After three years, 77% stuck with those lifestyle changes.

  • He reframed it
  • He engaged them
  • Gave them constant guidance
  • Worked right alongside them while they’re making the change
  • Ensured accountability for new behaviors

5 out of the top 10 reasons things fail is because we lack change management planning

Within the next ten years, the ability to effectively manage change will be the number one necessary skill required of business professionals.

A company needs periods of stability to regroup and regain energy.  If you don’t know what “normal is” you don’t know how to optimize things.

Designate a “Change Guardian”

  • An executive that has his or her finger on the pulse of the company or a cross-functional change counsel you for that purpose.
  • Similar to how PMOs manage portfolios or how executive councils prioritize projects from a financial perspective
  • Has a birds-eye view
  • Ensures initiatives are prioritized and aren’t competing


  • Influence attitudes, build credibility, and make connections across the company


  • Provide the skills, tools, and environment for employees to do their jobs effectively


  • Provide employees with the latitude to make decisions that benefit the customer and organization


  • Ensure accountability at all levels

Engage Your People

  • Know your audiences – get a handle through “stakeholder analysis” and understand where they are
    • How is it going to impact me?
    • What’s in it for me?
    • Is there a role for me?

Raise the Urgency Level

  • Show others the need to change – help them see, touch, feel
  • Make the message tangible – emotions not just numbers
  • Stop Senior Management “happy talk” – put more honest out there
  • Highlight performance gaps
  • Use customers and shareholder testimonies

The goal of this initiative is to debureaucratize processes in order to prioritize markets to maximize our sales and capitalize on margin optimization resulting in better utilization.

The most important thing to remember about communicating a new direction is that it’s most powerful when it’s communicated through behavior.

Hilton empowers every employee in the hotel to comp a customer if they are not 100% satisfied.  They have done the research and found that employees take it very seriously and do not abuse that privilege.  For every dollar Hilton gives away, they get seven in repeat business.

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