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Monday, September 26, 2011

Change Doesn't Just Happen

When you think of leaders, several traits come to mind;
  • Dynamic
  • Compassionate
  • Intelligent
  • Risk Taker
  • Decisive
  • Communicator
and several others. One that you don't hear often is a catalyst. offers the following definitions for catalyst
  1. a person or thing that precipitates an event or change
  2. a person whose talk, enthusiasm or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic or energetic
Many organizations, like Ebsco are moving responsibility and accountability to the entire team.  The team members are moving into new territory.  In the past team members waited for someone to tell them what and how and then executed.  In the new organization the team members are moving into the role of determining the whats and whys.  They have the knowledge and want to participate but this is a new roll for them.  Effective leaders in this new organization must become catalyst.

Team members will be apprehensive in this new role.  I can assure you that they have a great deal to say but will be apprehensive to talk in this new situation.  The effective leader must be a catalyst, creating enthusiasm within the group and reassure them of managements support. 

The leader will need to address three situations within the group;
  • Create enthusiasm in all members to participate and assure them of management support
  • Offer the group specific topics and examples to start the dialog
  • Push the group beyond ideas into implementation
Individuals will need to be encouraged to participate.  This is a new role for them.  Leaders will need to assure them that their input will be utilized.  Team members need to feel confident they can speak freely.  Management must create excitement within team members that they now have a say in the organization. Beyond simply being engaged, team members must be excited and have passion for the opportunities in their new role.

After you have assembled a group of passionate team members they may need help starting.  This is a new role for them.  Management should offer examples of what they want from the team and give them examples of how they would tackle the situation.  Management must be cautious in providing too much guidance.  The examples provided should just give the team a spark on where and how to start.  Any more will be kill the individuals enthusiasm.

One of the biggest issues in any organization is taking a concept to reality.  The new group, when sparked will have several ideas and solutions.  In most cases they will have no idea on how to bring the concept into practice.  The leader will need to stress to the group they are responsible from idea to implementation.  The group may need some guidance on where to go to next,  The leader must be available to them and provide the resources they need to succeed.

 In participatory organizations leaders must shift their roles away from directing and become catalyst for action.  As the team begins accepting responsibility for the organization, leaders must focus on creating the environment for the team to succeed.  An effective leader will become the spark to ignite the talent and passion of the team.


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