Category Archives: Change Managers
Today’s post is the last in a series on the three types of change resources in the world of football. So far, we’ve talked about a Builder (Urban Meyer) and a Visionary ( Darrel “Mouse” Davis). Today we’ll be talking about a very successful Maintainer.
Maintainers typically like being ‘experts.’ Although they don’t often get much publicity, Maintainers are key to the stability of every organization. They excel at doing the same thing, the same way every time…and that’s what University of Alabama coach Nick Saban does. His teams win football games (and championships) almost every year.
Saban’s detailed plan for winning is affectionately called “The Process” around the university’s Tuscaloosa home and it encompasses everything from his players summer workouts to what he eats for breakfast (Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies thank you very much). Saban wants things done the same way (HIS way) every time with the belief that if everyone does their job correctly, they will be successful.
Saban’s (some would say maniacal) need to control the details doesn’t mean that he’s not open to new ideas. He was an early adopter of academic advisers and sports psychiatrists to help his teams be successful in less obvious facets of the game.
Maintainers can get a bad rap for wanting to ‘keep the process going’. However, Saban shows us that doing the right things year after year can produce some pretty impressive results.Photo credit: Wikipedia
In my last post, we talked about bringing successful change to your organization by helping you identify the critical resources needed. Before you can identify others, however, it helps to know where you fit. So, let’s let’s take a quiz. Which of the three profiles below seems most like you?A) You are a teacher and have been for the past ten years. The most rewarding part of your job is watching the children leave at the end of the school year, ready for the next grade. B) You are a dentist and truly enjoy your job. Although you have to admit that mouths look pretty similar, you enjoy ensuring your patients will have their teeth for years to come. C) You are a stay at home parent. You enjoy finding projects to do with your children and have a good time working together with them to complete the activity. However, while you are working on it, you are already thinking about the next big thing to do together.
Which of the behaviors above sounded most like you? Now that you’ve chosen, let’s take a look at the details.
Profile A is typical of builders. Builders like to ‘construct’ things (people, organizations, processes, relationships) until they no longer see opportunities for improvement. Then, it’s time to find something else to build.
Profile B is typical of maintainers. People who match this profile typically like being ‘experts.’ They excel at doing the same thing, the same way every time.
Profile C is typical of visionaries. They seldom live in the present, preferring to look at the opportunities of the future. They are big idea people, often seeing opportunities before anyone else.
In following posts, we’ll explore all three of these profiles. But until then, comment below to let us know which one you are. How do you typically react when change is coming your way?
I would be hard pressed to list more than a handful of organizations that have endured longer than 400 years and I guess that you would have a similar problem. Why is it that some ideas succeed for a short time and then don’t last? Sometimes, it seems that even better ideas don’t take root! I think that the secret to success is in the people making it happen.
After many years of observing people in the business and civic arenas, I noticed a pattern that gave me insight into why people acted the way they did in situations of organizational or process change. I found that it applied at work, at home, and in volunteer organizations. It even applies across international borders. I am not a psychologist, nor have I done any academic research in this area. However, I believe that knowing what change management personality ‘type’ you are can make a big difference in how you see yourself…and knowing what type others are can help you (and whatever it is you are involved in) be more successful.
That’s why I’ve written the book Visionaries, Builders, and Maintainers. I want to help you bring successful change to your organization by helping you identify these critical resources. In my next blog post, I’ll introduce you to these important people.
This recent Harvard Business Review post reminds us, “If you want something done right, do it yourself!” Lots of organizations have ‘outsourced’ their change management planning and actions to an ‘internal consulting’ function. However, does this absolve management of responsibility? I think not.
How do we identify the ‘right’ role for managers to have when things are changing all around them? Don’t they need help (sometimes all of the help they can get!)? Absolutely. Change management specialists are just as critical as financial experts are to investors or mechanics are to car owners! And just like those examples, everyone has a special role to play. We’ll be exploring those roles in the coming weeks.
What roles have you seen played well (and not so well) in organizational change projects?
I love goals and lists. For me, crossing a goal off of a list is a sign of accomplishment…achievement…and success! Except when it’s not. The unintended consequence of my ‘goal focus’ is that if it’s not one of my goals, it doesn’t get ANY focus. So, when Peter Bregman over at HBR.org proposed that I “Consider Not Setting Goals in 2013“, I was at least an interested reader, and I thing you might want to be as well.
Bregman’s concept of replacing goals with ‘focus areas’ is a little scary for me, a list-o-holic. However, I’ve been burned by my single minded pursuit of goals enough times that it makes sense to me. Here are his definitions:
A goal defines an outcome you want to achieve; an area of focus establishes activities you want to spend your time doing. A goal is a result; an area of focus is a path. A goal points to a future you intend to reach; an area of focus settles you into the present.
So, as we help people change in 2013, maybe we should consider changing our thinking from – “Get that project completed” to “Ensure the people impacted by the project understand and accept its importance.”
When we focus on project completion, we can forget about the people impacted by the change. If we focus our attention on the buy-in of the people, the project will get done with less ‘collateral damage’ along the way. In 2013, I want to focus more on the people than the project.
How about you? What might your focus area be in 2013?
Recently on facebook, my friend Audrey was mentioned in a link to oneword365.com. I navigated over there to learn that the site challenges you to find :
“One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.”
As an agent of change in 2013, I pondered what word I might choose. For your consideration, I propose a word that might sound counter-intuitive at first:
500 years before the birth of Christ, Heraclitus said (over some Greek chicken in the shadow of the Acropolis surely) “the only constant is change”. I can certainly say that has been the case for me and may also be the case for you. However, the site challenges us to choose a word that describes “who you want to be” not ‘the situation around you’.
So, why in the world would a change agent need to be consistent? After all, isn’t the goal of a change agent, well, change? That certainly implies being a lot of different things to a lot of different people…the opposite of consistent!
We need to remember that although change is a constant for us, that’s not always the case for the people impacted by the changes we’re trying to implement. They need us to be a steady presence, helping them see the positives AND negatives of the change. When things don’t go as planned, we can’t afford to freak out…surely someone else will take care of that role!
So, in 2013, I’m challenging you, and me, to be consistent. A calm, steady presence in the storm-tossed sea of change.