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What Change Roles are Missing?

I’m gearing up to write a new book and app on organizational change to complement a powerful new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit that will be incredibly useful for use in change programs, project and portfolio management, and even innovation, and so I’m canvasing the organizational change literature space (including change leadership, change management, and business transformation) and looking to identify:

  • The best organizational change thought leaders
  • The most powerful organizational change frameworks
  • The most useful organizational change tools
  • The best organizational change books (including change leadership, change management, and business transformation)

MOST IMPORTANTLY – I’m looking for Fortune 1000 companies to volunteer to take the prototype for the toolkit and use it in their change or project planning (or initiation) process and report back on the results (don’t worry, I’ll host a webinar to teach you how to use it).

Please contact me to tell me your favorites or add below in the comments (or to let me know of your interest to serve as a case study champion).

I will be launching a new community and information site soon to house the downloads and conversation for this collaborative, visual change planning toolkit and the evolution of the book and associated content assets. Which is why I’m looking for your thoughts on the four items above. The skeleton site is up here, and people can express their desire to be a part of this effort in a number of different ways on the site.

But in the meantime, based on the success of the Nine Innovation Roles from my last book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and some ideas that have been triggered by the work I’ve done in various workshops with organizations around the world with the Nine Innovation Roles, I’ve decided to identify a similar set of roles that people should make sure are occupied on their guiding coalitions.

And as I look at the Nine Innovation Roles there are a few that are still applicable in a broader change context (after all, Innovation Is All About Change). Here are the ones that I believe still are necessary in an organizational change program:

1. Revolutionary

The Revolutionary is the person who is always eager to change things, to shake them up, and to share his or her opinion. These people are uncomfortable standing still and not shy about sharing their opinions. Often they see the status quo as not good enough, so the Revolutionary wants to change it.

2. Architect

Change doesn’t emerge from a vacuum. Someone has to see the bigger picture, bring the idea fragments together and create a cohesive change program, a new business architecture, and guide people to create a collection of project artifacts to help guide the change effort. This is the role of the Architect.

3. Artist

The Artist doesn’t seek change like the Revolutionary or see the big picture like the Architect, but Artists are really good at evolving the seeds of change, shaping them, watering them, and ultimately making the impetus for change more clear, the benefits more compelling, and the change plan more complete.

4. Barrier Buster

Every change effort should identify several potential barriers to change, and the team must identify ways to overcome them before the change program is ready to be communicated to the masses. This is where the Barrier Buster comes in. Barrier Busters love solving tough problems and often have the deep domain knowledge or the deep insight into the change target’s mindset necessary to move minds and resources to support the change program.

5. Connector

The Connector does just that. These people hear a Revolutionary say something interesting and put him together with an Architect and an Evangelist; The Connector listens to the Artist and knows exactly where to find the Barrier Buster that the change effort needs.

6. Lion Tamer

The Lion Tamer is really good at identifying risks, potential negative outcomes, and the steps necessary to implement a change. Lion Tamers take the unwieldy beast that any change program can easily become, tame it, help break it down into digestible chunks, and make it real. These are the people who can picture how the change is going to be made and line up the right resources to make it happen.

7. Evangelist

The Evangelists know how to educate people on what the change is and help them understand it. Evangelists are great people to help attract guiding coalition members and to build support for a change effort among leadership. Evangelists also are great at both evangelizing on behalf of customers, employees and partners, but also in helping to educate customers, employees, and partners on the value of the change effort.

8. INSERT YOUR SUGGESTION HERE

9. INSERT YOUR SUGGESTION HERE

So, that’s only a first cut at a set of Change Roles that must be filled on the guiding coalition or the change program team.

What roles are missing?

Are there any there that are not needed or redundant?

Please sound off in the comments below.

Built to Spread

We’ve all seen the viral videos that seemingly come out of nowhere to garner millions of views on YouTube, videos like this one where five people play one guitar singing Goyte’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”, which as of this date has garnered more than 163 million video views:

And if you add up all of the other postings of this same video, the total number of video views goes much, much higher.

Now, surely Goyte’s version of the song couldn’t have possibly garnered more views than this viral sensation that Walk Off the Earth’s cover created, could it?

Um, actually it did. To date Goyte’s official video has captured nearly 600 million video views, or nearly FIVE TIMES as many video views. So, it hasn’t turned out all bad for Goyte.

Now you might ask yourself, how could the huge success of the Walk Off the Earth viral campaign be trumped by traditional marketing if viral marketing is supposed to be the silver bullet?

Well, the truth is that whether you pursue traditional marketing and advertising or supposedly “viral” marketing activities, the goals are the same:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Desire
  4. Action

And it is within that first bullet point, that you find the viral component that any marketing activity or any evangelism activity (for innovation, for change, etc.) should always contain – spreadability.

Now, WordPress doesn’t seem to think that spreadability is a word, but let’s assume for a moment that it is and focus on the fact that most of the time, one of your goals in business (and your personal life) is spreadability. Ultimately, in many cases, success is determined by whether or not you can get your idea to spread.

This is true whether we are talking about an IT project, a Six Sigma continuous improvement effort, a change initiative, a Lean event, a marketing campaign, or a project commercializing an invention into a potential innovation.

So, can anyone guarantee that an idea or marketing campaign will spread?

The short answer is no.

Sorry, I wish I had better news for you, but the fact is that nobody can guarantee that your idea or your marketing campaign will go viral. Why?

You’re dealing with humans living in a complicated world. We’re not all built the same and the same person can have different reactions to the same stimulus (driven by mood and context among other things). This can result in a perfectly spreadable idea or message being stopped dead in its tracks, depriving you of all of the potential downstream sharing that you might have been hoping for or counting on.

Sorry, you can’t guarantee spreadability, despite what opportunistic marketing consultants claiming to know the magic formula might tell you.

Spreading ChangeBut, an idea can be built to spread.

And I’d like to share with you a simple framework, for free, that you can download and spread far and wide.

Click here to download the “Planning to Spread” starter worksheet as a PDF.

It’s based on the same priniciples as mind mapping and it will help you start either with a particular node in mind (someone you’d like to reach and influence) and work backwards, identifying both how to evolve your idea to best influence that particular node, and how you might be able to reach them (at the same time). Or you can work from the idea outwards. Focusing primarily on the WHO and the WHY as you move outward.

The key questions to consider as you are “Planning to Spread” your idea are the following:

  1. What is your idea or message? (Does it resonate with my target audience?)
  2. Who are you trying to reach?
  3. How will you reach them?
    • When will they be most receptive to the message or idea?
    • Where will they be most receptive to the message or idea?
  4. Why will they engage? (What value will they get?)
  5. Why will they share? (What value will they derive?)
  6. How will they share?

Working your way thoughtfully through these questions will increase the chances that your idea or message will spread, but they won’t guarantee it. Going through the process however will help you refine your idea or message, help you think through the mechanics of how you might encourage and increase engagement, and may even help you uncover flaws in your idea or message that you missed (and give you a chance to fix them).

Planning to Spread WorksheetHappy spreading!
(and please let me know in the comments below any things I might have missed)

So what am I trying to spread?

Well, in the run up to my second book (this time focusing on the best practices and next practices of organizational change), soon I will be releasing a new collaborative, visual change planning toolkit to help organizations work smarter by planning their change initiatives (and projects) in a less overwhelming, more human way that will help get everyone literally on the same page.

This is the idea that I will be spreading and there are many ways that you can benefit.

One way is by becoming a case study volunteer. I’m looking to select a handful of companies to teach how to use the toolkit for free and feature their experience in my next book on the best practices and next practices of organizational change. If you would like to get a jump on the competition by increasing your speed of change (and your ability to work smarter), register your interest here.

But there are several other ways you can benefit, and all of them can be found here (including upcoming chances for consultants to train on the methodology and boost their revenue and success as they work with their clients around the world to deliver positive change). I’ll be focusing on teaching and tools, not consulting.

What message or idea are you trying to spread?