Folks, I’ve attended a few courses at Harvard Business School. I don’t say that to brag, just to provide a little legitimacy to the following managerial theory I’m about to dish out which came directly from Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a recognized expert in the field of change management.
In her book e-Volve, Dr. Kanter laid out the following characteristics of true change masters. She argues that if we all study and emulate the processes followed by change artists, we will become better managers of change ourselves.
And who needs that? We all do! In just about any business environment the only thing you can really count on is that everything will change. So, it’s best to be prepared for it and if you follow this list – you will be.
7 Skills of Change Masters
- Tuning in to the Environment
- Encourage Organizational curiosity. Let everyone look for change opportunities. Look outside your own area as well.
- Measure not only against past performance but potential performance as well. (i.e.- what’s the opportunity cost?)
Kaleidoscope Thinking: Stimulating Breakthrough Ideas
- Challenge and question current assumptions.
- Encourage “out-of-the-box” thinking.
Setting the Theme: Communicating Inspiring Visions
- Charisma factor is critical
- “If you can dream it, you can do it” is not necessarily true. “If you can dream it AND make others dream it, you can do it”
Enlisting Backers and Supporters: Getting Buy-in, Building Coalitions
- What is the minimum support system required?
- Where are you going to get everything you need to be successful?
- Make sure everything is in place before undertaking the change initiative.
- Plant some seeds before the change announcements. See who shows initial support, then bring them in.
Developing the Dream: Nurturing the Working Team
- A new team, doing new things, needs a leader who can fend off the rest of the organization to keep them doing what they need to do.
Mastering the Difficult Middles: Persisting and Persevering
- After the project has gained some momentum and is underway, the completion of the project is the most difficult phase.
- Time and resource shortages often pop up and can be very difficult.
- Everything can look terrible in the middle.
- Unexpected obstacles pop up.
- Momentum slows because morale sags.
- Critics seem to (re)surface at this phase.
- Leaders must be resolved to see it through.
Celebrating Accomplishments: Making Everyone a Hero
- Once the project is complete, make sure to take time to celebrate the accomplishment with team members who made it happen.
- Organizational change is a perpetual process, so after celebration begin tuning into the environment again to see what next steps are needed and begin right away.
(From: e’Volve!. Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Harvard Business School Press, 2001. p.258)
Also make sure and check out my 10 Traits of True Leadership.