Change Styles

Harvard Business Review has some very, very, good research and information. This is always a great place to go for good reading on any business related subject. Recently, I spent time reading “Managing Change and Transition”, which I would highly suggest for anyone dealing with change situations. HBR presents three very distinct and unique styles of change that people will adhere to. Each of these three styles carries its own unique attributes. and can have its own advantage or disadvantage depending upon the situation and end goal. The three styles are conserver, pragmatist, and originator. It is very beneficial that a leader know where each of his direct reports falls, and knows where his/her self falls . This information allows the leader to anticipate problems and advantages when it comes to change initiatives. Questions such as, “who will be with me on this”, “who will be out in front”, or “who will want to preserve the status quo”, could probably be answered by knowing which unique style applies to which people.

The style of conserver is defined well by its name. Conservers want to conserve what is in place.  Conserver types generally appear deliberate and disciplined, they enjoy predictability, and often appear cautious or inflexible. This type of change style will resist change to some degree and look to preserve what is safe and familiar. The pragmatist is quite different. The pragmatist response to change often involves being flexible and agreeable, focusing more on results, and helping others see both sides of a conversation. The pragmatist is interested in change, but more interested in the results, relationships, and structure around it. Standing as a direct opposite to the conserver is the third type of change profile, the originator. The originator is someone that truly enjoys change, often for the pure sake of change. An originator may appear unorganized and impractical, may resist structure, and will likely challenge current policies and procedures. Check out the Change Styles Chart for more information on how to identify these specific change styles. Managers and leaders need to understand change. One of the most important roles managers play is leading through change initiatives. Our world is changing around us faster than it every has before. The ability to identify, implement, and manage change efforts is going to become more and more important to a leaders success. Outside of HBR, there are some other great change books to read. Check out “Swtich”, by Chip and Dan Heath as well as, “The Forgotten Half of Change”, by Luc De Brabandere.=


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