During the years I contemplated writing this book I struggled with many titles. An early idea was ChangeSmarts, connoting the skills needed to “make change happen.” But “smarts” can strike some people as a bit arrogant, presumptuous, or self-important.

ChangeWise was another possibility. Wise is better than Smarts because it implies an experienced, even sage-like approach. But wise can also connote sassiness, as in “wise guy.” 

Then it dawned on me. Many of the failed change efforts I’ve seen over the past 40 years certainly had the best of smarts and wisdom. Some of them, with their endless charts and graphs and to-do lists, were monuments to planning procedures. What they lacked was ease of use. They lacked humanness. They lacked approachability. They lacked … well, they lacked friendliness.

CHANGE-friendly LEADERSHIP: How to Transform Good Intentions into Great Performance is a simple affirmation that successful organizational change involves—requires in fact—the active, willful participation of the people affected by the change.

Change-by-announcement, change-by-slogan, and certainly change-by-executive-decree are doomed to failure.

Effective change requires genuinely engaging the brains of the people expected to embrace and even champion the new state of affairs.

Effective change requires engaging people’s feelings—not merely making a business case for action, but making a compelling psychological case for action.

Effective change requires engaging people’s earnest hopes.


In this context, hope is not used as the verbal equivalent of crossing your fingers—“I hope my team wins the game.” In this book, hope is used to denote people’s heartfelt aspirations, their dreams, even their sense of self. Any change effort that ignores or pays mere lip service to that kind of engagement is destined for disappointment.

In the change approach prescribed here, the Friendly Factor is not just a play on words. It is the very foundation for effectively engaging people’s heads, hearts, and hopes. Think-friendly®, Talk-friendly®, Trust-friendly®, and Team-friendly® form a relationship framework or operating system that brings out the best in people.


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Praise for this Book

I’m impressed by the utter simplicity and brilliance of CHANGE-friendly LEADERSHIP. To borrow a well-worn political phrase, ‘It’s the relationships, stupid!’ The practices taught by Dr. Duncan can turn any organization around and create happier and more successful people at all levels.
Radio host, author of twelve New York Times bestsellers

As a leader in the corporate world for over three decades, I find myself drawn to books which offer enlightened thinking on leadership that stand up to scrutiny from a practitioner’s point of view and can be put to work on Monday morning. This is one of those books. I highly recommend it.
Retired President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company, New York Times bestselling author of TouchPoints

Truly splendid, highly relevant, tremendously insightful, remarkably accessible. Provides the vital framework to accomplish our goals.
New York Times bestselling author

I really like this book. It’s full of stimulating thoughts coupled with examples that make them accessible and immediately implementable. Change-Friendly Leadership should be read – and used – by managers, consultants, academics, and the general public.
Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, author of Organizational Culture and Leadership



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Bonus Points

To enrich your use of the CHANGE-friendly protocol, check out our Bonus Points material. It’s free, and you may access it by simply registering here. We will periodically add to the selection of White Papers, free diagnostic tools, interviews, videos, and other items to help you be more effective in your leadership of change and implementation.