Resources & Glossary


A way of managing projects in which work is divided into a series of short tasks, with regular breaks to review the work and adapt the plans (Oxford)

Best People

People who are (1) excited about your change and (2) willing to Drive Change, not people

Beyond Accessible Play

A design choice to design past the laws that require certain accessible features to a playground that exceeds the needs of all children so there are truly no barriers to play

Celebration Buffer

A commitment to frequently notice, define, and celebrate wins related to your change.

Change Boundaries

The limits of your change, both now and in the future.

Change Agent Essential

A recommendation for action based on experience and resulting in similar situations; a heuristic

Change Agent’s Motto

I will do what I can, with what I have, where I am.

Change Agility

Building cycles of learning about usability and change obstacles into the product or process design cycles so we can design the product or process for easy use and implementation

Change Algebra

A description of a change story using variables to substitute for specific people, changes, and organizations

Change Buffer

Explicit, different thoughts, behaviors, or policies that allow the change agents and the change to vary from the status quo people and environment

Change Corpses

Changes that continue after the life has gone out of them.

Change Paths

Graph comparing Driving People to Driving Change on an axis of energy to drive the implementation versus distance toward the goal and sustainment

Change Scars

The psychological vestiges of bad past change efforts that manifest as physical and emotional reactions to fresh change

Change Suffering

The physical, emotional, and spiritual pain experienced with poorly implemented change

Change Waterfall

Where all the change falls onto the organization or customers after all the work of readying for it is complete

Concrete Goal

Change goal summarized into one statement following the pattern:
<Who> will <experience> <what> <where> <when>


Someone forced to join a change against their will

Driving Change

Choosing a change for yourself and clearing the obstacles for others to choose the change too

Driving People

Using coercion (e.g., orders, fear of negative consequences, removal, or application of positive consequences) to compel others to change

Friendship Buffer

The person or persons you turn to on challenging days to steel your will and give your comfort and strength to continue your change journey.

Leadership Buffer

The protective wing that a leader stretches out to shelter the people who work with them.

Learned Helplessness

When experience with uncontrollable events leads to the expectation that future events will elude control and disruptions in motivation, emotion, and learning may occur (Seligman)

Mindset Buffer

A personal commitment to act on your change regardless of the reaction of the people or environment around it.

Organizational Time Warp

When time runs differently inside versus outside the organization

People Costs

The negative effects of failed changes that people store in their hearts and minds—effects that delay or derail the next change.

Personal Buffer

A buffer you can create and maintain independent of the organization related to your change.


When an executive only superficially invests in getting the task done versus actually committing to the change

Policy Buffer

A deliberate change to a policy that permits you and your change to be different from the status quo.

Power Paradox

We assume others are much more powerful than they are, and we assume we are much less powerful than we are; the antidote for the Power Paradox is the Change Agent’s Motto.


Something, once created, that may be used many times without the author investing any more time. [example: I invest an hour in a blog post, but it could be read by 1, 10, 100 or 1,000 or more people and I wouldn’t have to invest another minute.]


People who “live on the land” of your change, whose lives you are affecting; settler types include current, missing, past, and downstream

Status Quo

The existing state of affairs (Merriam-Webster) or the cultural library of how things get done here (as defined by John Roberts, my friend and colleague)

Time Costs

The meetings, projects, initiatives and community forums held for already failed changes.

Type 1 Transformation

Low-risk transformation where something may be a significant, irreversible change for us, but many people have done it before, and it operates by known mechanisms (our caterpillar is becoming a butterfly, but we aren’t the first caterpillar to become a butterfly)

Type 2 Transformation

Path-blazing transformation where what we are attempting is a significant, irreversible change, and we are the first ones to attempt it


April is the founder of Engine-for-Change LLC and author of Everyone is a Change Agent: A Guide to the Change Agent Essentials and Change Tactics: 50 Ways Change Agents Boldly Escape the Status Quo. She’s consulted for Intel and Delta and has keynoted at events worldwide.

April invests her book proceeds into Gully Crest Homestead, a retreat center she is building in rural Washington state for families with children with special needs.  She’s received community awards for expanding community child care and building beyond accessible playgrounds.

April lives in Washington state with her husband, four children, and a menagerie of animals.


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