Accelerating Change Programmes

Seeking the approaches that enable faster change in the complex world of health and social care

Are your change catalysts flourishing?

Look after them, they are the key to transformation.

They are the ones who create momentum, engage people passionately, focus on the benefits, get people excited, challenge the existing status quo, often not seeking any of the credit. Generally, they aren’t the heroic charismatic leaders that dominate MBA folklore, they are more likely to be reserved, invisible, don’t seek fame, but are focused, passionate, and often finding talking to large groups very stressful. You will rarely find them on the Board or the most powerful positions, these are environments, where they rarely flourish.

In ‘The Starfish and the Spider’, the author highlights a number of researched attributes for change catalysts, as follows:

  • they have a genuine interest in others,
  • they have lots of loose network connections,
  • they understand how networks of people map together,
  • they have a strong desire to help others,
  • they are passionate,
  • they meet people where they are, both physically and emotionally,
  • they have high levels of emotional intelligence,
  • they trust others,
  • they inspire others to work towards a goal,
  • they have a high tolerance for ambiguity,
  • they have a hands off approach, they trust others to take care of the detail,
  • they depart, when momentum becomes unstoppable.

From my own experience, I would add that change catalysts rarely identify with an organisation, but rather they identify with a vision. Indeed, in many situations, you’d be hard pressed to work out which organisation they belong to.

Sometimes these people are referred to as mavericks, risk takers, and appear to operate outside the structures that organisations create, but, crucially, they create an attractive vision of the future, trust, and inspire people to embrace it. They are vital to accelerating change, but no good at running a stable, efficient organisations, this is a job for the Board and organisation structures.

The key question here is, if change catalysts are crucial to fast moving change and they have the above attributes, are you doing enough in your organisation to allow them to flourish?

It’s important that you are, indeed it could be the most important thing to have to do.

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This entry was posted on 31/07/2017 by in accelerators, change, Leadership, risk, vision.
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