In the modern workplace, change is the only constant—an observation that is no less true because of its frequent repetition. As a leader, you are often called upon to lead change. How can you learn to approach change positively yourself, manage change so that it results in proactive benefits, and lead others to accept and even thrive in change?
While most organizations today are highly experienced with change, they are far less experienced with change done right. Why is that? If your organization is facing a major change and you’ve been asked to play a major role in it, you’re probably wondering that too.
As it turns out, we know a lot about organizational transformation. For over two decades, authors have written hundreds of books on change management. We’ve developed multiple models for leading change, spanning from whole-systems approaches to methods like “preferred futuring” and “appreciative inquiry” to name but a few. We’ve conducted studies and found that positive change requires, among other things, a commitment from senior management, a “guiding coalition,” and a “compelling vision.” Experts emphasize the “burning platform”: our workplace must be on fire before instinct kicks in and tells us to jump into the cold sea of change. We also know we have to answer the WIFM question—“What’s in it for me?”—when persuading others to adopt a change. We’ve developed organizational-readiness assessments, leadership-alignment and stakeholder-engagement tools, and communication plans to help us through change.
With all this knowledge and all these methodologies, why do 70 percent or more of major change initiatives fail? It’s not that any of these models or tools are wrong or useless—they’re just incomplete.
Successful transformations require more than book knowledge and theory, regardless of how sage and vetted the advice might be. To lead change, change leaders must know themselves. They must ask and be able to answer questions like these: What are my tendencies in leading change? What do I focus on, and what do I miss? What am I good at, and what can I get better at?
This powerful self-knowledge is the first step in developing change intelligence. And as leaders develop their own CQ, they begin to raise the CQ of their teams and the organization as a whole, dramatically increasing the probability of positive, pervasive change that sticks. Only when change leaders are equipped and empowered with this understanding of their personal working style can they guide others through transformation.
Change intelligence, or CQ, is the awareness of one’s own change leadership style and the ability to adapt one’s style to be optimally effective in leading change across a variety of situations. The idea behind the CQ System is that each of us has a distinctive method of leading through organizational change. Just as we can measure our IQ, our EQ, and any number of our other intelligences, we can also assess our change intelligence. In doing so, we learn a great deal about how we can leverage our personal change leadership style to lead change far more effectively than before.
The CQ System, which my friend and colleague Dr. Barbara Trautlein discusses in her book, Change Intelligence, enables change leaders to diagnose their change intelligence, equips them with applied developmental strategies, and shows them how to be powerful agents of transformation.
Endorsed by some of the leading management gurus such as Marshall Goldsmith, Jim Kouzes, and Rosabeth Moss Kanter as well as C-level executives from industries spanning healthcare to steel to retail, Barbara’s book is full of actionable advice and real-world case studies.
In addition, each book comes with a free online assessment ($97 Value) so you can identify your own personal Change Leader style and immediately take steps improve your CQ! Along with the assessment, you’ll receive a customized report detailing strengths, potential blindspots, and targeted developmental suggestions. It also provides insights on leading change at the team and organizational levels.
If you’re serious about making a lasting impact as a leader, I highly recommend you grab a copy of Barbara’s book today: