How to grow your own Change Makers
Clients sometimes ask us “how can we create a culture that supports change?” As if it is something that has to be designed and introduced by “the management”.
Our experience tells us that there are often more people in the organisation who want to improve things and make a difference than its top leaders are aware of. People who have the desire, the right mindset, the potential and the commitment to make change happen. These are the people who will create and embody that culture.
So we suggest to our clients that they make it a priority to identify these internal change makers and to develop and nurture them.
Know what you've already got
Identifying the change makers you already have is a good first step.
This is actually pretty straightforward if you have the means to do it. We have a unique profiling tool which does this, it’s called The Change Maker Profile. It is a well researched and evidenced psychometric, which identifies a person’s preferred type of contribution to change.
Strengths based and simple to use, we find this creates actionable ‘aha’ moments for individuals and teams very quickly. It helps them to see how they can start making a positive contribution to change straightaway, how to get the best out of themselves and fellow change makers. This means that you know how to get the best out of them, help them to play to their strengths and develop them further.
Create the right conditions for growth
You wouldn’t throw seeds on bare concrete and expect them to grow, yet so many organisations invest in developing their people and then leave them to struggle on their own. Taking part in a good quality development programme is one thing, but applying the learning in the real world is an altogether tougher challenge.
Experimenting with new approaches, changing one’s own behaviour, creating new habits, dealing with obstacles and barriers (internal as well as external), managing the personal impact of change, dealing with failure and success - these take courage, persistence and self-insight, not to mention considerable energy and focus.
Trying to do this in a culture that inhibits risk-taking, innovation or even challenging the status quo just doesn’t make sense. Equally, waiting until everything is exactly right is not realistic or practical. So what is the happy medium - or more accurately the pragmatic approach?
Do everything you can to create a supportive and nurturing microclimate. Incentivise and reward the behaviours you want more of. Trust your change makers, encourage them to practise and refine their skills on real work. Create a community of change makers who will provide each other with invaluable peer support, challenge and fresh perspectives. NB. We already have one, The Change Maker Network, which you are welcome to join!
Develop your change makers from the inside out
As well as the the skills, tools and techniques one would expect in a change maker, we recommend focusing strongly on the ‘inner game’, the self-awareness and emotional intelligence around:
Compass direction - the all important ‘why’
Change’ability - adaptability and the ability to learn, resilience, ability to manage personal change at the same time as being a change maker.
Keep feeding and nurturing them
Plug in ongoing support and mechanisms to recognise and celebrate successes (however small), share the learning and keep the flame alive; coaching, mentoring, conferences, collaboration across partner organisations to name but a few.
And MOST importantly…
Let them loose to do their best work!
Contact Cathy Summers at firstname.lastname@example.org