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Is the Pain Point the Real Problem?

For over 20 years my friend had periodic, excruciating and sometimes debilitating shoulder-blade pain. She was desperate and did everything the doctors told her to resolve it: pain and anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone shots, acupuncture, physical therapy, yoga, hot and cold compresses, topical ointments, and even meditation, but none of it solved the problem.

Finally, a new specialist said, “The problem is not your shoulder blade, the problem stems from your neck.” You know that look? That look when we think someone hasn’t understood what we said or doesn’t really know what they are talking about? My friend gave the specialist that look as she repeated much slower but louder, “But, my neck does not hurt, my shoulder hurts.” The doctor replied, “Put your head down and hold it there-- does stretching your neck relieve the pain?” What do you know--it worked! Neck therapy solved the shoulder blade problem.

Like our bodies, organizations are complex and the components are interconnected. Regardless of the time, energy, resources or programs we apply to a problem, they won’t work if we apply them to the wrong place. Change management helps us accurately diagnose the right problem and develop the right solutions to ensure we are using our time, energy and resources effectively—and sustainably.

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