Adapting to a changing environment is a necessity for successful companies to compete over a long period of time. Companies that lack innovation, fail to accept risk, and refuse to set audacious goals cannot survive in today’s rapid-paced economy. In the article, “Leading Change-Creating an Organization That Lives Change,” Chris Musselwhite explains how effective leaders inspire others to embrace organizational change. Musselwhite believes that in order to lead other people to accept and “live” for change, it is imperative to understand that everyone reacts differently. Some people are confused and apprehensive of change and do their best to avoid it. Others find excitement in the uncertainty and opportunity that may arise from a changing environment. Once you understand these differences, it is easier to communicate and implement organizational change in ways that lead to fewer misunderstandings and complaints. A few months ago I blogged the book, Leadership on the Line: Surviving the Dangers of Leadership. This book also discusses ways to effectively lead change. Both the book and this article beleive change is improperly managed by most managers due to an unnecessary emphasis on the “change” itself, rather than a focus on the people involved. In an effort to help organizations understand the differences between people’s change-style preferences, Discovery Learning Inc. has taken the results from over 150,000 change-style assessments and grouped people into three different categories, according to the way they deal with change: Conservers, Pragmatists and Originators.
- Conservers – Seen as being inflexible and resistant to change, conservers are actually open to change when it is presented incrementally under the organization’s traditional structure.
- Pragmatists – These people make up roughly 51% of all managers in the business world, and seek for practical, functional solutions to problems. Always seeking an understanding for both sides of an argument, pragmatists appear to be accepting and flexible to change that is beneficial to the organization.
- Originators – Entrepreneurs are often times considered originators because of their desire to challenge previously accepted assumptions and accept risk. Originators are visionaries who get excited about the opportunities that may arise from change.
As a leader, the key is to lean and understand your own change-style preferences, which helps dictate the way you should interact with people whose preferences are either similar or preferences. Once you do this, people will begin to value and accept change, resulting in a dynamic organizational atmosphere that “lives” for change. Can you think of anyone you know who is a Conserver? A Pragmatist? An Originator? Which one are you?
Thoughts or reactions? Please send them to us.