“Spread the word” has different meanings depending on the person, group, organization, or cause. For the Change Leaders, SPREAD is a platform for addressing change.

The Change Leaders where founded ten years ago as a community of change practitioners with a three-fold purpose: support change work with clients, networking and continuous learning inside the community. We have held tight to those pillars as our community continues to grow.

But we are an adaptable bunch. Two years ago we decided to amend our learning from just “taking it in” to “spreading it out.” We invented SPREAD as our way to adapt.

SPREAD is a both a platform for our members to share their insights with change and a structured challenge to deliver their experience inside specific constraints. Each presenter is given twelve minutes to tell his or her story. We encourage them to use Art Kleiner’s (editor of Strategy & Business magazine and a tCL contributor) six-step procedure for writing or telling a story because we believe it to be a smart outline for anyone who wants their story to be heard or their writing to be read.

The last challenge for presenters is finding their edge. The edge is that place where they dare themselves more than is comfortable. The edge is usually a mix of personal risk and a public declaration of a point of view on change. Being and doing both of these acts leaves a person open to challenge from other people. It’s not a warm and comfortable place to stand for twelve minutes.

What we have learned from SPREAD in two years is that the Change Leaders as a community of practice, possesses deep understanding of the hard work of change on the ground in organizations. We are not academics though many great thinkers at Oxford and HEC have influenced us. We are a community of change agents working to help client organizations execute change projects. We believe we bring a unique blend of strong and continuous learning born from our common education background and our work experience. We also believe we are responsible to share our experience with the wider world. We use SPREAD to get those messages out.

We invite you to watch the SPREAD videos and learn from our presenters. Their stories are tales from the swamp of organizational change. These are practitioners who in the words of Donald Schon “…. work on the problems ill formed, vague and messy.”

But then these are also the problems of greatest concern to the world.

Rick Torseth, SPREAD Talks iniative
February 1st, 2014

Sharon Wood – Xi Jinping and A New China

Sharon Wood tells us the story about Xi Jinping, China’s new president, who has been audacious enough to raise the hopes of his people promising them a better life. He promises change, in his words “to kill the tigers and swat the flies”, and to bring fairness and transparency to a country riddled with corruption, […]

Mason de Chochor – Swiss Private Banking Falls Down

Switzerland has set the standard for reliability, predictability and stability for hundreds of years. It is a global banking center for these reasons. The banking sector has underwritten the brand we recognize as Swiss quality and security for years. Mason de Chochor, himself a Swiss banker, describes how all that changed in 2008 with the arrival of the global financial collapse. He suggests that Swiss private banking is facing extinction, a loss of trust, a fall from grace and a broken business model. How will it all work out?

Tom Miller – Symbols as Human Connectors

Symbols are inherently human and have been used throughout history to tell stories, create meaning and build communities of people. Tom Miller helps us understand how symbols enable organizations to harness the power that exist within its history and culture. Organizational symbols, well crafted and communicated, become powerful tools in the effort to build an attractive organizational culture. The wise use of symbols enables people to connect to the heart and purpose of the enterprise.

Martin Thomas – Beyond the Midas Touch

Martin Thomas uses a classic story, adds a different perspective and in so doing, provokes us to use “new eyes” to think about the future of our planet. Thinking deeply about our real aims in life has been an eternal theme. But we should all be careful about what we wish for. Today it is a necessity to see ourselves, our role in the world and the world itself from a longer perspective if our world is to survive. We need to question our collective aims and turn thought into action. “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

Cécile Demailly – The Mathematics of Change

Numbers, ROI and projections run today’s businesses. Change is something we would like to master, especially when it is expected to happen in an organization. It would be helpful to have equations and be able to predict the speed, velocity, and acceleration of a transformation and to extrapolate the challenges. But is it possible? And how can mathematics help with disruption and uncertainty, the driving forces behind modern change? Cecile Demailly challenges us to consider the potential that mathematics has for thinking and executing change at scale. 2+2 is not always 4.