Embracing Change

Published: May 4, 2011

What are the fundamental principles of effective change management?

I attended the Chicago area’s Second Annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook forum titled “Embracing Change” this morning. Keynote speaker and Chief Economist, Diane Swonk, was joined on a panel by business and political leaders representing a spectrum of industries and interests. Vibrant conversation ensued as participants wrestled with strategies for adapting to the unprecedented economic landscape and leveraging early optimism for recovery. One theme threaded throughout the morning: the only constant is change.

Predictable networking conversations followed the formal presentation. How’s it going in your workplace? Have things stabilized? How did you survive all the changes? What are the fundamental principles of effective change management?

The Team Clock Institute views the fundamental principles of effective change management as predictable and cyclical:

1. Continuously recalibrate norms and goals to accommodate new realities.
2. Empower diversity-based decision making and non-negotiable accountability for delivery on new goals.
3. Leverage healthy conflict and differences to anchor innovation and smart risk taking.
4. Commit to mature and resilient response in adapting to the change you create and to the impact caused by others that affects you.
5. Cycle around to Step 1 and repeat.

Thriving businesses and organizations are always aware of where they are on the cycle and why they are where they are. This awareness informs the actions that are most likely to result in effective teamwork in the midst of change. Consider what aspect of change you are seeking to embrace: Investment (recalibrate norms and goals…)? Trust (non-negotiable accountability…)? Innovation (smart risk taking…)? Distancing (mature and resilient response in adapting…)? Where is your team on the Team Clock?

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst College where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.