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RSC Level 1 Module 7: Change Management


Step 1) Overview: Change is a constant: all of us experience it, leaders have responsibility to manage it, and change management is the primary driver of success in execution or implementation – ostensibly the most important job of a leader.  Fortunately we have learned a lot about change management in the last 10 years and the budding leader can access a formal tool-box that is designed to help plan a new change management initiative, evaluate a change management that is already underway as well as monitor and review an initiative that has been in place for a while.  Like leadership skills, change management skills can be learned and all of us can become more effective at understanding and managing change.


Step 2) Action Learning: Please watch Video A and Video B below.


Video A is a 17-minute TED segment in which Harvard Business School’s leadership expert Rosabeth Kanter introduces you to the 6 key behaviors that every leader with aspirations to manage change must engage in.  She proposes that whether you are starting something new, fixing something that has gone wrong, growing something, or making something better change management is at the heart of all these initiatives.  Leaders must remember to exhibit 6 behaviors in order to be a force of positive influence in the workplace: show up, speak up, look up, team up, never give up, and lift others up.

Video B is a 5-minute segment from DeAnne Agurre, Senior Partner at Strategy&, a leading strategy consultant.  It gives you a high-level introduction to the components of a change management program.  Later in this Action Learning we will drill down to the step-by-step but for now you should remember that communication does not automatically lead to engagement, a change initiative that does not address culture is likely to fail, and multiple players at all levels of the company need to be on the change management team.

It is useful to think of a change management initiative in terms of three distinct phases: initiating the change, empowering your people and aligning the change.  These stages are not sequential and although they may overlap significantly each phase involves distinctly different activities.  In planning your change initiative it helps to ask three broad questions, “Have I paid attention to every facet if initiating the change initiative, do people know what to expect, do they understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the initiative?” “Have I addressed all the resource and communication components needed to empower my people, to give them the ability to act and take decisions as the change initiative unfolds?” and “Am I equipped to monitor and evaluate the change at every stage to make sure it is aligned with the company’s strategy and using the momentum from the previous stages of the initiative?”

In terms of hands-on execution these three phases can be broken into seven distinct steps: preparing goals, preparing the organization, skill & knowledge inputs, promotion, sharing and celebrating successes, rewards and review.  Each step can be used as a lens to plan the design of the step for a future initiative, the diagnosis of the step for an initiative that is underway, and the evaluation of an initiative that has been in progress for a while.

Step 3) Points to Ponder: 

1) If you think of change initiatives in terms for four dominant imperatives – get something done, start something anew, grow something or make something better – which category accounts for most of your experience (as a leader or as a team member)?  Within this category of change management, what was the most important barrier or obstacle you encountered?  How did you (or your team) deal with this challenge?

2) Describe a change initiative you experienced (as a leader or a team member) that went well and accomplished its objectives.  How do you explain the success of this initiative?  Any lessons learned?

3) Describe a change initiative you experienced (as a leader or a team member) that did not go well and failed to meet its objectives.  In your opinion, what went wrong with this initiative?  Any lessons learned?


Step 4) Interactive Discussion: 

After viewing Videos A& B and exploring the Points to Ponder check your calendar for the Interactive Discussion scheduled for this Module.  Go to the session prepared to discuss the lessons learned with others in your Rising Star cohort.  If you have any questions or need more information please send a message to


Step 5) Next Level: ((Optional): Read the reference “The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations” by John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen published by Harvard Business Review Press (2012) ISBN-13: 978-1422187333

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