Most of us don’t like to think about change much less actually change. I recently conducted a workshop I called, “It’s All About that Change,” and began it with this Meghan Trainor video where she hilariously uses her own hit, “It’s All About that Bass” to illustrate how most of us handle (or don’t handle) change.
Our ability to handle change and lead others through change is one of the signature differences between a leader and a manager. Years ago, when I transitioned from being the VP of a division to being the SVP of several divisions, my company sent me to a course entitled, “Leadership at the Peak,” at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in Colorado Springs. After a week of assessments, simulations, and classroom learnings, we spent half a day with the coach who had been assigned to observe us all week. Of all the valuable information I received that week, the most valuable was the results of my Change Style Indicator.
According to the assessment, people have different preferences for how they handle change, ranging on a continuum from being a conserver to a pragmatist to an originator. Here are descriptions of each:
- Accept structure
- Prefer retaining existing systems and paradigms
- Prefer gradual change
- May appear cautious and inflexible but do ask the hard,
- detailed questions
- Explore structure
- Operate as mediators and catalysts
- Prefer change that best serves the function
- May appear reasonable, practical and flexible but
- also noncommittal
- Challenge the structure
- Enjoy risk and uncertainty
- Prefer quicker, more expansive and radical change
- May appear disorganized and undisciplined but are
- original thinkers
I am a strong originator, which means I prefer quick, expansive, even radical change and enjoy risk and uncertainty. The coach warned me that unless I changed my communication style to match that of my mostly conserver organization, I could find myself with no followers. That advice was invaluable in my leadership journey.
When I launched The Right Reflection, I gathered the tools that I found most helpful in my own corporate career, and The Change Style Indicator is one of those tools.
I conducted this Change Workshop at the Women’s Center for Advancement (WCA) in Omaha, and this energetic and engaged group of people learned their change style preference, the preferences of their colleagues and how to harness the strengths of each.