02 March 2010

Who To Tell?

There seems to be a divergence of opinions as to how change happens in organizations. Some people are emphatic that it only comes from the top. Senior leaders are essential to driving any meaningful change - you've got to get their buy-in and support or you're finished before you even begin.

Others are even more emphatic that grassroots is the only way to go. The bottleneck is at the top of the bottle, they like to point out. Ignore the generals, ignore the CEO's - talk to the practitioners, the front-line people, the ones who actually do the work. They are the only ones who can make real change happen.

And lately I've been on the receiving end of well-intentioned advice from both ends of the spectrum. Some people want to know what the senior leaders think about my change-oriented ideas. They recommend I get in to see as many top-level types as I can. On the other hand, one person advised I actively avoid the top leaders (and others implied as much). What's a guy to do?

Well, I think I'm going to keep doing what I do. Talking to whoever will listen, and not expecting any one person, group, category or position to be the Magical Key to Successful Change. I should admit I'm more optimistic about grassroots change than top-down, but I've got to acknowledge the importance of both...


Gabe said...

Maybe your strategy is best encapsulated in term opportunistic?

doc said...

I think you already have a correct answer.

We can change when we accept change. So your word "Talking to whoever will listen" is the royal road to successful Change.

The Dan Ward said...

@Doc - Thanks!