Daryl Conner

January 6, 2010

Do You Recognize These Characteristics of Successful Change Practitioners?

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Sponsors who aren’t adequately prepared for their role need our help. Even sponsors who have plenty of change experience and all the right “instincts” for orchestrating difficult transitions need help. They should be supported and guided by skilled change practitioners. So, what are the requirements for playing the change agent role, and how can we get better at it?

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January 12, 2010

Ways Change Agents Can Help Sponsors

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As I wrote in my last post, even sponsors with lots of experience leading difficult transitions need the help of skilled change practitioners.

Sponsors are most effective when we help them:

Have a clear definition of the change. Effective sponsors must see the desired state clearly and understand the overall intent.

Recognize and express their dissatisfaction with the present state. Successful sponsors need to be keenly aware that the organization cannot afford to fail at the change; they have to be tenacious about fully realizing the initiative’s objectives and communicate effectively to the organization.

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January 20, 2010

Guidelines for Dealing with Top Change Agent Challenges

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Whether change agents are internal or external, they often have to operate in an environment where sponsors are less than prepared to perform their role. Here are some guidelines for addressing common challenges agents face when in service to sponsors.
Aim for realization, not installation.

Many sponsors focus on installing critical changes—putting solutions in place—rather than realizing the intended business benefits. Be sure you and your sponsor are clear on whether you are working toward full realization of the initiative’s objectives or some degree of installation with reduced expectations.
Make strong sponsorship your top priority.

Realization of change is impossible without sufficient sponsor commitment and the capacity to follow through with his or her intentions. Successful agents foster the necessary sponsor behaviors to build and maintain three critical elements:

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January 29, 2010

Identifying and Developing Change Agents

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Selecting the appropriate people to function as change agents on a major project is critical to realizing the full benefits of the initiative. At Conner Partners, we use the Change Agent Selection Form to help sponsors and potential agents do four things:

* Choose the most qualified change agents to work on a specific change
* Help the candidates understand the sponsors’ rationale for selecting or nominating them
* Provide a framework for the continued development of the prospective or selected agent(s)
* Facilitate discussion between the agent and sponsor, and clarify expectations for the agent’s performance during a specific change project

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March 30, 2010

How Influential Can a Change Agent Be?

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The sponsor-agent relationship is so important that just about everything we can hope to accomplish hinges on it. Without that relationship, our knowledge and skills are underutilized, poorly allocated, or worse, not called on at all.

It’s true that we work with and support the targets of change initiatives. We also work with advocates who want change but don’t have the ability to make it happen on their own, as well as with other internal or external agents. While our relationships with people in these roles are necessary and valuable, our key function is

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April 7, 2010

Are You a Trusted Advisor?

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In my last post, I wrote that the highest level of partner relationships is that of trusted advisor. In this post, I’d like to break down some of the terms and frames of reference related to the trusted advisor role. I’m sure you have your own views on these issues and I hope you’ll share them with us.

First, I’ll offer a definition that works for me:

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April 13, 2010

How Much Is a Trusted Advisor Worth?

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We’ve been talking in this series about becoming trusted advisors to our sponsors. An important exchange takes place between sponsors and practitioners when advanced trust is explored. We want to earn trusted advisor status, but sponsors want to be sure they grant this rare level of confidence to someone who is truly worthy. In effect, we want to purchase (earn) the sponsor’s trust while they want to sell (grant) it only if paid the right price. What sponsors want in exchange for their trust is to be “paid’ with the proper currency. There are several types of currencies

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