Dr. Rachel MK Headley

By Dr. Rachel MK Headley

Preparing for Change: Organizers

Preparing for Change: Organizers 150 150 Dr. Rachel MK Headley

Preparing for Change: Organizers          

True Story

My new Point of Contact was an engineer. I had been hired at the behest of the CEO through the scraping together of soft money. (Which really thrilled the teams who had earmarked that money for critical activities unrelated to me.)

The mission I had accepted was to develop new programs and opportunities – a bit like Business Development, but through partnerships. I am an idea generator, a connector of disparate things to make a unique whole, a big-picture thinker. This was gonna be great!

Have I mentioned my new boss?

A few weeks in, I had figured out the locations of the best candy dishes interviewed department heads, found out what people wanted to see happen, and I then sorted out how the organization might tackle some new projects.

I met with my new boss, with prioritized list in my hand, and my optimism high.

I left with a look of perplexity.

In developing the proposed projects, I had been thoughtful! Inclusive! Clever! Creative! Innovative! My delivery had been passionate, inspiring, clear, with an invitation for my boss to contribute and expand on these idea seeds.

And, I could tell it wasn’t going well. I have a reasonable level of EQ, after all. And then he started saying things like “I don’t think we’re ready for that right now,” and “That’s not in our Strategic Plan,” and other hope-killing words that essentially meant “No.”

What had gone wrong?

I had failed in the first rule of change management (of presenting, of selling, of nearly all concepts of communication): I had not tailored my message to my audience.


Identifying the Solution

It took me a day or two to sort out why my ideas (every one!) had bombed so completely.

My boss was an Organizer.

Organizers like order. In fact, they seek to create order from anything that feels chaotic. They do not like “not knowing.” Organizers do not like optional outcomes. They use intellect and analysis to understand the world.

When dealing with change, Organizers want clear explanations, the reasoning that went into it (preferably backed up by data), a clear why, a clear vision.

Although I have a bit of Organizer in me, I am a Fixer at heart – I like flexibility of thought, the ability to create something from nothing.

I had gone into the meeting wanting to talk big ideas, and a “we’ll figure out the details later” attitude.


The next time I went in to speak to him about a new idea, I had a roadmap. An annoyingly detailed, specific roadmap that had details such as who was going to be involved at what level, what the budget would be, who the external partners were, the benefits to the organization, and on and on. And on!

And, to no one’s surprise, I was given the green light to move forward with the project.

The Lesson

Preparing your people for change is the very first rule of change management. But HOW to prepare your people is less well understood.

The Organizers want to understand exactly how the conclusions were reached. More data, please!

Meanwhile, another Change Type (Connectors) will absolutely wilt under all that information, and they just want to know that when they take on a new change, that everyone around them will, too.

On one hand, you can provide all the information regarding how the old way didn’t work, the options that were considered, how the decision was made to select the final path, and what the intended outcome will be and by when. Your Organizers will eat that up. Your Connectors will likely dig in their heels.

There are many more steps to Change Management – prepping your staff is just the first baby step. Get everyone onboard more effectively and quickly by knowing the Change Types within your organization.











Share This