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What’s Your Change Management Style?


Change may be the only constant these days, but it’s not enough to simply say leaders must be able to adapt to change to succeed. There are many ways to react and respond, and each leader has their own style and particular strengths in approaching change.

Over more than 30 years of working with leaders in various industries, I’ve seen the gamut first-hand, from leaders who embrace change with enthusiasm to more conservative types who approach it with caution or even avoid it with trepidation.

And you know what? They are all legitimate. There’s no right or wrong way to approach change.

What is problematic, however, is the lack of self-awareness most leaders have in this area.

It’s not surprising. Even as a long-time leadership coach, until recently, I didn’t have a structured way to help my clients understand and describe their change management style or make recommendations on maximizing it for the greatest good and most impact.

And when I started seeking out the best assessment tool, I came up short. Where was change management’s Myers-Briggs? What if we could give leaders the same insight into their change management approach as we do about their personalities? How much change leadership potential might that unlock?

So, in the absence of a robust, reliable tool, we set out to develop one that works for us.

Meet ChAMP

We were so fortunate to collaborate with The Aldridge Group, a specialized firm based in Colorado, on this challenge. As a leader in building rigorous yet still user-friendly assessment tools backed by leading brain science and psychometrics, our problem fit squarely in their wheelhouse.

Working with our team, the Aldridge Group developed the assessment tool called ChAMP, which stands for Change Approach and Management Profile.

I had the honor of beta-testing the first iteration of ChAMP, and the results blew me away. After completing the 140-question survey, which took about 20 minutes, I got my report.

It was spot-on. But it also gave me new self-awareness about how I navigate change.

I’ve done a lot of assessments over the years on various aspects of my personality and professional strengths and weaknesses, and most read like horoscopes: somewhat applicable but too broad to be of much use.

But ChAMP described my change management tendencies and temperament perfectly. Even better? It gave me recommendations on how to leverage them to help my team better navigate the challenges of change.

We started using ChAMP with a number of our clients, and they responded as favorably as I did. We took close to 300 people through the assessment last year, and it consistently nailed them. There was not a single one who looked at their change profile and went, ‘Nah, you got the wrong person.’”

Assessments in hand, they were ready to start applying this knowledge for better results.

The Benefits of Knowing Your Change Style

Like any kind of self-knowledge, understanding your change preferences has many benefits. When you know how you typically approach change and how to consider the change preferences of those around you, you can better:

  • Initiate change efforts yourself and align others to best support them

  • Maximize your contribution to change efforts by embracing your unique strengths (how you create Flow)

  • Identify, understand, and address potential sources of conflict during change (how you create Friction)

  • Collaborate effectively with others who have both similar and different styles to yours.

  • Coach or mentor others through their change efforts by helping them to understand how their preferences influence their behavior

As this list shows, these insights can have a really positive impact both in your work relationships and your team’s ability to get better results.

How ChAMP Works

ChAMP is user-friendly by design. After answering the survey, you receive with a concise report written in plain language that provides rich feedback on four specific change-related preferences:

  1. Core Change Approach: The base of the ChAMP report, the Core Change Approach provides a broad view of how you are likely to create or react to change in the workplace. You receive a score on a continuum anchored by three main titles: Protector, Realist, and Explorer. (My change style is “explorer.” When I first read the description, it was uncanny how accurately it described me.)

  2. Change Focus: This part of the survey looks at the level of focus you prefer when executing change initiatives. Do you tend to take a more granular, detailed focus on tasks and projects, or are you more of a big-picture person?

  3. Change Role: This is all about getting insights into the position on a change team in which you are likely to feel most energized. Are you more of a driver or supporter of change?

  4. Change Influence Style: I call this the push-pull section. It taps into how you prefer to drive or motivate change efforts. Do you like to provide direction (Push) to others? Or are you more likely to favor a consultative (Pull) approach? A major insight for me was that I tend to Push slightly more than I Pull.

Putting it into practice

Once you understand your change management style, you can better recognize and navigate the tension that naturally arises from different styles.

The ChAMP report provides strengths to leverage and identifies potential challenges. For instance, while my report found that I’m “willing to boldly challenge the status quo and ask the tough questions,” I may also tend to be “too quick to leap, leaving important details unacknowledged.” Both very true!

These insights are valuable, as was the final section highlighting how each of the three main Core Change Approaches may be perceived by others.

The only predictable thing is that the future will look different from the past. To survive and prosper, organizations must be agile, and those that can facilitate change with flow, not friction, will be more adept at making positive change.

If you’d like to find out more about ChAMP, leave a comment below or reach out by email.

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