Just One Thing: Change or Chains?

“The only constant is change.”

Deborah Snellen of Business Class started Thursday’s Brown Bag presentation, Change or Chains? Leading through Organizational Change, asking participants to guess the time period of the above quote. Roughly 500 B.C. Heraclitus. The other constant is our struggle to experience and implement change.

Deborah defined first how change can happen for the leader. It involves an alignment of the organization, the community, the area (workplace or personal environment), the leader, and the thinking. It involves acknowledging the obstacles to change: fear, ego, hidden agendas, habits, traditions, organizational structure, culture and other chains that hinder the change.

Next, the leader must determine the balance of directing the change and involving others in the change. Deborah took us through a self-assessment to reveal how we typically handle change. Are we “directing, monitoring, and pushing to make certain the change process is moving forward in a satisfactory way?” Or, are we “creating a climate of participation and involvement of all concerned?” Knowing how we typically handle change can help us adjust our leadership style based on the change, the situation, the crisis, the process, the participants, the culture, etc. Nevertheless, the change process will include both directing and involving others in change.

Deborah then introduced the participants to the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument. The HBDI looks at 4 quadrants of the brain – rational, safekeeping, experimental, feeling – and an individual’s preference and learning style. This becomes important to the change process because each of these preferences must be addressed before the change can effectively move forward. In the steps to the change, the logic and facts must be laid out, the emotional impact must be acknowledged, the timelines and procedures must be defined and the future and possibilities must be explored.

Finally, Deborah briefly discussed one model of a change process called “Gracious Space,” encouraging participants to learn more about “Gracious Space” and how it is being used by towns and organizations, including Leadership Montana, across the state.

Deborah will be back to facilitate the discussion, Change or Chains Revisited, at the December 2 Managers Forum from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm at the Annex Conference at the First Montana Bank, next to Pizza Hut, in Kalispell. This will be a dialogue of specific situations and practical applications for change. To RSVP to the December 2 Managers Forum, click here.

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