Posted by: Knightbird | January 10, 2011

Change Agents Do Acquire Enemies

I had to think about what phrase to use in the title of this post-do we acquire enemies or detractors. Some people really do dislike us as we disrupt their world with our movements forward. I wrote in the past about the wholesale resignation by our medical staff when they objected to change. Today, our health care delivery system is wonderful and efficient.

I have not written before about the anonymous messages I received when I started to change another department.

A few years ago, I received a photocopy of a “Sally Forth” cartoon. Sally’s boss, Ralph, was, as stated in Wikipedia, “a caricature of incompetent and self-centered business leadership.” Ralph was eventually fired and ended up working in a fast food restaurant. In the photocopy, I was Ralph, and Sally was held up as the type of boss I should be.

After the comic strip, I received a box without a return address. In it was a Fred Flintstone doll together with a Betty Boop doll. I was clearly the Neanderthal Fred, and one of my female Executives, both wonderful bosses, was supposed to be Betty. Why I don’t know. Maybe she was supposed to be the blind follower of the incompetent neanderthal Fred (me).

Finally, a written multi page criticism of me was faxed from a fax machine in one of our villages to me and our board members. I was accused of destroying this department through my meddling and interference.

Today, the department I was working to transform consists of all new staff who have become a model for delivering caring and compassionate services–wonderful professionals working together for the benefit of Chugachmiut customers. I can’t claim that the harassment didn’t bother me. It did. And it had an impact on some of our board and staff. But the change was necessary, and extremely beneficial.


  1. I respect your tenacity, Patrick. To keep at this when facing so much resistance is admirable. It’s kind of sad to see some people fighting for mediocrity, but it seems many of them have been replaced by people who are open to new ways of thinking. My post this morning relates to that. Take a look if you’d like.

  2. […] Some of the information he shares on this journey is personal.  Patrick’s January 10 entry, Change Agends Do Acquire Enemies,  is one of several entries that chronicles the struggles he has faced in dealing with change, […]

  3. Dear Patrick,

    A good blog material from Jon Miller…

    And Lean Agitators are called worsts…

  4. Thank you for this link. I love it.

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