choice four
change how you
change
It is only the wisest and the very stupidest
who cannot change.
Confucius
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THE ABILITY to manage personal change can be regarded
as a new form of security. In the more traditional organi-
zation, security is based on the acquisition of power: the
power to hold resources, discipline people, control finances
and build personal empires. In organizations that value
knowledge, people’s ability to synthesize the energy of
change and learning ultimately offers a greater degree of
influence and control than the ability to accumulate hierar-
chical power, and therefore change offers greater security.
We are in many ways talking about a new form of leadership,
namely the transitional leader. For many people each new day
brings a different initiative or project that will disrupt the
incumbent systems and processes. Each day brings with it the
need to manage the transition from one position to another –
and manage it with speed, efficiency and confidence.
This need for transitional leadership might be at a personal
level; where the constant upsizing and downsizing of
corporate dynamics mean that people’s life’s and careers are
endlessly being challenged. Or it might be at a corporate or
global level – where ongoing and unexpected world occur-
rences impact in a critical way on what we might have
considered to be a stable point. The relentless rise in terrorism,
momentum lead yourself
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shifting consumer markets and geopolitical shifts means
that corporate markets also shift on an almost daily basis.
Hence transitional leadership is the core differentiator for the
new brand of leaders. Their ability to deliver swift and appro-
priate responses to the changes in the marketplace will make a
huge difference. The question then is how we create this kind
of adaptive response – one where people can manage change
in a way that is suitable and not based upon what they
normally do.
The process of change can be managed using four styles that
vary in structure and visibility. Once you understand the core
change you wish to make, think about the style and manner
in which you’ll manage the transformation. For example, if
you want to manage your next career or job move, will you set
things out in detail and plan when your change will be and
how it will be managed?
There are four basic styles of transitional change:
Accidental. You have a clear understanding of where you
want to go, but you don’t have a clear process to get there.
You’re happy to leave events to fate on the basis that the
environment is so dynamic that overt control will never
work. This might be how you plan a travelling holiday,
write a paper at work, decorate the house or design the
garden.
Backstage. You have a clear plan of the way that the
change will be managed, but much of the action takes
place in corridors or shadow areas. The backstage model is
one that we use more than we realize, persuading the
children to eat their cabbage; hiding a pill in the dog’s
choice four change ho w you change
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food; or flirting with the boss’s PA to get some time in his
diary.
Controlled. You follow a planned and visible structure of
change, which means making the assumption that you can
predict and control your future according to a set of rules.
This might be seen in the way we buy a new house or build
a garden shed.
Debate. Here shift happens through the power of
dialogue. You’re open about the change and talk to people
about the transformation, but don’t have a structured
approach to how it might be delivered. This might be seen
in the way you create a team purpose statement at work or
agree the menu for a dinner party.
While your natural and preferred change style might have
served you well to date, to survive and prosper in a turbulent
world you need to have as broad a range of styles in your
personal toolkit as possible. If your natural style is control,
then the accidental approach offers a strong counterbalance,
whereas if your natural preference is the backstage fashion,
the ability to use debate might soften what is perceived as a
political approach to change. The ability and desire to choose
how you change can increase your flexibility and ability to
operate in a complex and confusing marketplace.
Change choice
Choosing a change style is determined by the factors that you
can influence in the decision-making process. There are two
momentum lead yourself
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