As a Leader Who is a Change Agent, Which Kind of People Do You Pick For Your Teams?

Whether they know it or not, leaders in organizations are often change agents. Most experts will probably agree that a CEO’s role is to set strategy and vision as well as build a culture that will optimize the organization’s productivity. The CEO ultimately sets the direction, ¬†responding to changes in the market and, as result, managing the internal changes that are required in order to successfully compete.

Dave Brandon, the former Chairman and CEO of Domino’s Pizza Inc.,¬†was recently asked for his opinion on the following question: “Dave, as a leader who is a change agent, which kind of people do you pick for your teams?”

Dave’s answer: “People who like change.”

People who like to change don’t only make a CEO’s life easier, they will often be more effective than people who do not like to change. This is because people who don’t like to change follow rigid determinate rules that prevent them from treating reality as a refinement learning ground, while people who like to change tend more to test their assumptions and refine the rules of engaging with the world.

Take for example a team that does not like to change, operating based on a rule that data must be analyzed before making decisions. Because this team does not like to change, it will maintain the rule even when interaction with reality does not justify following it. This team may spend too much time analyzing less significant decisions, resulting in slow progress and reduced productivity. They may also try to impose analysis on problems that require synthesis, or, when the problem is too dynamic and complex for analysis, to be the deciding approach.

A team that likes to change, however, will respond to reality with a fine- tuning attitude. If presented with different tasks and given different approaches or tools to deal with them, teams that like to change will develop better, nuanced rules for dealing with a variety of different situations.

People are not born with a dislike for change, nor do they have to die with it. Certain synaptic strategies, such as acquiring a flexible hierarchy of values and separating facts from assumptions to reduce the preconceived view of reality and develop “presentness” as well developing effective control patterns (dysfunctional focus on control can reduce desire to cooperate with change), will increase a team’s agility and fondness of change.

Which synaptic strategies does your team have and how well aligned are these strategies with embracing change?

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