Conscious Collaboration for Leading Change

by Andy Atkins

Interaction Associates Chief Innovation Officer Andy Atkins and Dana Sednek, IA's Manager of Live Online Programs, will present “Leading through Change,” April 15, 2015 at the UMass Center for Collaborative Leadership. The Center was founded in 2001, by Sherry H. Penney, the first holder of the Sherry H. Penney Endowed Professorship in Leadership in the College of Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The mission of the Emerging Leaders Program at the Center for Collaborative Leadership at University of Massachusetts Boston is to identify, and then develop future leaders for the Greater Boston region who are diverse and reflect the changing demography of the city, who practice a collaborative style of leadership, and who are civically engaged. Its goals are fourfold:

Select emerging leaders who are diverse by race, gender, and profession who will enhance their networking skills with other emerging leaders.
Expose the emerging leaders to a variety of Boston’s current leaders in order that they understand the existing leadership profile and experience a variety of leadership styles.
Enhance the leadership skills of the emerging leaders in communication, negotiation, teamwork, project development and completion, and knowledge of civic/city issues.
Increase the understanding and practice of inclusive and collaborative leadership.

While one benefit of the “Leading Through Change” learning event is to introduce Interaction Associates as a valuable resource to the Emerging Leader alumni, the main focus of the session is to provide these leaders with an important three-part model for leading change consciously and collaboratively.

Andy and Dana will explore how to lead change by leveraging three key areas: Direction, Commitment, and Capability. In addition, the session will provide an overview of the skills of Facilitative or Collaborative Leaders and link those skills to the three change leverage areas.

Often, change leaders tend to emphasize getting the technical aspects of a change in place – installing a new system, reassigning people, redrawing the org chart – while overlooking the necessary changes in behavior, skills, and attitudes required for success after the change. But conscious change leadership means having the discipline to attend to both the technical aspects of the implementation plan, and the personal aspects of the change. Successful change leaders focus uncompromisingly on three areas of effort:  

  • Establishing a Clear Direction for the Change,
  • Inspiring the Commitment of all involved parties, and
  • Building the Capabilities (skills and knowledge) in their people so that the change can be successfully implemented.

Direction, Commitment and Capability

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Not everyone adjusts to change at the same rate. Conscious Leaders understand and manage the change curve for themselves as well as others. They figure out who the “early adopters” are -- and enroll them in championing the change process. A collaborative involvement strategy is essential to achieving maximum appropriate involvement and buy-in, without which any change effort is doomed to fail.