Last Updated on 16 July 2007

Sitting in a meeting wishing it didn’t “have to be this way” here? While it takes strength to manage through it, being a champion will help you change it.

Rolf Smith in his book, The 7 Levels of Change: Different Thinking for Different Results” offers seven levels of change… from basic to challenging.

While many of these are “easier said than done,” these changes will make a dramatic difference in the way you and your colleagues work.

LEVEL 1: EFFECTIVENESS – Doing the Right Things

  • Set priorities
  • Do what’s important first
  • Focus!
  • Become more effective

LEVEL 2: EFFICIENCY – Doing Things Right

  • Follow procedures
  • Clean up your mess
  • Understand standards
  • Become more efficient

LEVEL 3: IMPROVING – Doing Things Better

  • Think about what you’re doing
  • Listen to suggestions
  • Find ways to improve things
  • Help, coach, and mentor others

LEVEL 4: CUTTING – Doing Away With Things

  • Ask “Why?”
  • Stop doing what doesn’t count
  • Use the 80:20 rule – Simplify
  • Refocus continuously

LEVEL 5: COPYING – Doing Things Other People Are Doing

  • Notice and observe more
  • Think before you think
  • Study best practices – benchmark
  • Copy

LEVEL 6: DIFFfERENT – Doing Things That Haven’t Been Done

  • Think about thinking
  • Combine new technologies
  • Ask “Why not?”
  • Focus on different, not similar, non-linear


  • Question assumptions
  • What’s impossible today, but…?
  • Defocus: Get a little crazy
  • Wouldn’t it be amazing if . . .”
  • Break the rules!
  • Where will it take pure magic?