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Book details
  • SubGenre:Organizational Development
  • Language:English
  • Pages:222
  • eBook ISBN:9781098342555
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098342548

Riding Currents of Change

Inspiration from the Chicago River Triumph

by Jim Helfgott and Michael Laval-Lindley View publisher's profile page

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If Chicago could change the flow of its' river to become one of the great cities of the world, couldn't you make your change happen? Read the story of how two perfect strangers with very different ways of doing things got together and made an amazing change happen in a company that didn't know how to change. This is both an interesting & unusual take on the topic of driving change. "I didn't think change could be such a fun subject." Jim and Michael invite you to come along for the ride of discovering how they made change happen in a multi-cultural company using one singular event in the human history of the world as a point of inspiration: the reversal of the flow of the Chicago River. It is a story that will entertain and inform the reader on how change can happen in their own career and life.
Change. Everybody wants it, everybody resists it. Every change program in every corporation around the world is dreamed about, planned, organized, communicated and….. for the most part, fails. "Riding Currents of Change" is the story of a consultant, Michael, and his client, Jim, and how they rode currents of change in a transformation program that ended up succeeding. It is rare enough for operational consultants and clients to end up being friends and having a story they wanted to share. "Riding Currents of Change" is about all the forces within the people affected by the change program to both help and hinder the success of the project. Jim and Michael identified real forces: Purpose-driven thinking vs. letting serendipity opening minds; Intuitive vs Analytical thinking and how both have good and bad impacts on managing change; the styles of some managers as change happens based on what they hope is in it for themselves. All of this told through the story of a singular event in the history of mankind and our planet: when Chicago reversed the flow of the Chicago River because people could die every spring if there was flooding or abnormal rains. Jim and Michael compare how change programs, whether going against Mother Nature or just something that sounds as simple as eliminating hand-offs between departments can create the same excitement or fear as reversing the flow of a river. Robert Frost wrote of "The Road Not Taken" and that vision is used to explain how Michael had to discover in the managers why they had not taken the road that would make change happen. The roles that must be played by different actors in the change progress are described as they were used in their transformation story as a tool for others to consider when faced with major transformation projects. "Riding Currents of Change" even deals with the subject of how important the choices of words and labels can be in the chapter on Football vs Football, a whimsical yet serious look at how a rose isn't necessarily a rose by any other name, apologies to Will. "Riding Currents of Change" is written conversationally and, at times, like with whitewater rafting, goes all over the place, just like any change management program, so the reader can get a grasp of how all those forces can come into play. "Riding Currents of Change" should give the reader enough of an insight into how change happens to help make whatever they want to change in the future smooth sailing.
About the author

Jim Helfgott is originally from Long Island, New York where he left to became a global media programing and sales professional. He received a BA in Communications from Hofstra, where he was voted into their Radio Hall of Fame.

Having learned the ropes at various cable operations in the US, first in marketing and then in general management, he then joined Europe’s leading premium television content creators. Based in Budapest, Hungary, he became a driving managerial force in expanding its customer base and helped shape a multinational business spanning 14 countries and nearly as many languages. While there, he co-created CTAM Europe and later opened a marketing and operations consulting firm.

Recruited as VP of a start-up direct-to-home programming service for Eastern Europe based in Luxembourg for one of John Malone’s enterprises, he further embraced what it means to be European and what it means to manage change in multi-cultural environments. These experiences managing change in the new/old world of European and US media led to Jim's view of change and meeting his writing partner, Michael.

Golf, beach and lots of sun along with easy southern living has drawn Jim and his wife, Shar to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Their daughter Allyson lives with her husband Jason in Memphis.

Jim continues to consult with European companies on the need to manage change while also supporting small businesses through the non-profit SCORE.

And when Michael said let's write a book... Jim said, we didn’t exactly change the flow of the Chicago River." (No, he really didn’t say that but wouldn't it have been funny!) 

Michael Laval-Lindley entered the world in Illinois and lives with his husband, Christian, in Paris and Lisbon.

A Bachelor of Music Education from Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, he found his passion for process improvement and business transformation while working at a Blue Cross Blue Shield provider in Chicago.

At 26 years old, he moved to Québec, Canada where, in addition to becoming fluent in French, he found his way into the management consulting business with Alexander Proudfoot of Canada, Ltd. After a rough and tumultuous introduction into the high-flying world of consulting in North America in the 80’s, he was commuting between Québec and the capitals of Europe participating in engagements in insurance, banking, retail operations and public utilities sectors on change programs ranging from as little as 3 weeks to over 1 year.

In 1995, he moved to London eventually landing a job with one of Britain's premier consulting firms now part of a Japanese global consulting firm. Moving to Paris, he spent the rest of his career on engagements in the UK, Luxembourg and China. It was the combination of structure and creativity in music that became the basis of his leading change management styles with a view towards removing the pain of change.

He and Jim met in Luxembourg on what ended up being the last large-corporate engagement and last large-corporate position, respectively, for both of them. During a reminiscent conversation, he said to Jim "we should write a book about this."

Dominic Wolocko is an accomplished artist from Detroit that earned a BFA from Philadelphia College of Art. With over 30 years of experience, including 17 years as staff artist for the Philadelphia Daily News, his illustrations have been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Baltimore Sun, Science Digest and Philadelphia Magazine.

Dominic currently resides in Philadelphia with his husband David. His latest achievement as an illustrator is the publishing of a new Bobo series of children’s books with author Megan Burton, “Bobo Starts a Band” and “Bobo Does His Glasses”. It was Bobo that inspired Jim and Michael to commission Dominic’s work for this book. The authors find his style really makes the messages come home in a meaningful and lasting way.

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