Dan Wrote a 2nd Book

change management leadership leading change small business

I wrote a book.

Two actually. On May 16th my second book, Leading Change: How to Achieve Superior Results with Gentle Pressure Relentlessly Applied will be released. This has been a long process with many contributors/influencers. I’ve been through 6 title changes (footnote, I ended up exactly where I started!). I completed the initial manuscript Jan 15, 2022. . .Then I hired a developmental editor, an expensive and necessary process. That resulted in a 50% increase in word count, a reorganization of the overall book, and a delayed release of 16 months. Worth it!

At its core, the book is about this phrase: Gentle Pressure Relentlessly Applied. If you’ve googled it or attended any of our events over the past 20 years, you’ve seen it is completely attached to the Mann Group. We didn’t create the phrase, but we’ve certainly perfected how to implement it. Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll be talking about the book. How it got its start, how it developed and how you can access this process for yourself. 

For now, here’s the preface:

Results aren’t guaranteed, even on the most robust teams with the strongest leaders. 

As my partner, Leslie, and I gathered in the office of Derek Stepanek, the fourth-generation owner of Northtowne Cycling and Fitness in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, we could see the frustration etched onto his face. He’d asked us to help develop his 2019 strategy, which involved assessing his management structure, since his desired results eluded him. 

Our company, the Mann Group, often gets called due a disconnect between and current metrics and desired results. Our job is to close that gap. It isn’t always quite that simple, but you might be surprised that it’s also not that complicated.

Years of doing everything himself had meant that Derek’s office had become a de facto filing system for every note, business card, receipt, and special order that had been acquired under his watch. As we gazed around his office, we could see that he knew where everything was—but only he knew. 

So, we set about to change that—and organize his space. After all, this space served as his cockpit of sorts for overseeing the rest of his operations. Can you imagine a pilot with a messy cockpit? As the plane ascends, his personal papers begin flying and sticking to the windshield, blocking the copilot’s view—and the rest is history (or worse yet, it makes history!). 

So, we purged. We organized. And he began to sweat. But slowly, progress occurred—not just on his office, but in his mind. Leslie and I talked him through why and how he needed to change (no—transform!) not only his office space, but his very approach to management.

But how would he change? 

He would invest in others. He would build process. He would create accountability. 

“Derek,” I kept saying throughout our intervention, “You have to live by the mantra, Gentle Pressure Relentlessly Applied.” 

Out of frustration, Derek finally said, “Dan, I’ve heard you use that phrase many times before. But I don’t know what it means or how to apply it to the situation I’m in right now!”

Putting aside the stacks of notebooks and extra office equipment piled around me, I erased the office whiteboard. Next, I wrote four statements on it:

  1.  1.Agreement on Approach
  2.  2.Metrics for Assurance
  3.  3.Training/Coaching
  4.  4.Culture of Accountability

As I wrote, I explained each concept. Derek listened, absorbed, nodded, and asked questions.

After a one-hour session, Leslie looked at the board, locked eyes back on me, and smiled. “There it is,” she said, her eyes clearly excited.

“There’s what?” I asked, confused.

She looked at me with that Leslie-knows-something-you-don’t-know smile. 

“There’s your next book!”

We visited Derek’s store a year later, and our words remained on his white board. 

Derek, this book exists in your honor—because of your hard work to transform your behaviors and bring about a Culture of Accountability in your company. 

And it exists for all of you who are about to do the same.


Great Mann Group content, right to your inbox.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.