“5S” of dynamics of changes in management – BusinessMirror

Transformational Governance: How Boards Achieve Extraordinary Change, published by the American Society of Association Leaders (Asae) and written by Beth Gazley and Kata Kisman, provides documented case studies against the backdrop of quantitative research on high-performing association boards and a useful framework for understanding change and human behavior.

I would like to share with association professionals a case study of change and human behavior based on the work of Bernard Ross and Claire Segal. It is about predicting the response to management changes using the 5C framework, which describes five possible characteristics of change recipients and their impact on board dynamics.

1. Champions. Those who readily embrace new ideas and take the risks of change. While champions are ideally suited to be agents of change, some may lack objectivity and may not offer the kind of leadership to thoroughly challenge the merits of new strategies. However, champions should be – and will be expected to – participate. Providing them with more best practice tools and resources and engaging them in management workshops, among other things, will give them a more realistic understanding of the change process.

2. Persecutors. Those who may be slower to join than the champions, but will participate and can lead the organization to a tipping point where the majority will accept the change. This is especially important when they are given the opportunity to discuss new ideas with others and have access to key organizational leaders for guidance. Open communication with perpetrators will pay off through greater accountability and co-creating a vision for change.

3. Converts. Those who may make up the largest group of change recipients are the most difficult to engage and read, as they may never speak out. They may also take a long time to absorb new ideas. Ways to engage converts include giving them the opportunity to listen and ask questions about organizational leadership, as well as addressing converts’ concerns, including “What’s in it for me?” question. New converts may be slow to accept new ideas, but they may be more consistent in accepting them, so synchronizing the process of change at a pace acceptable to new converts can give the change process more momentum in the long run.

4. Applicants. Those who may make up a smaller group but may require the most effort. These may include those who eventually realize the benefits of change but are poorly trained in how to effectively resist change. Efforts to actively involve applicants can be focused on both emotional and cognitive levels to understand how to meet their expectations. To pre-empt the most negative aspects of the applicant’s personality, organizations should create formal rules in advance regarding the change process to ensure that the process is not derailed by objections.

5. “Phobes of change.” Those who, as a small group, may never be convinced of the benefits of a new idea and are therefore “unshakable”. If these people actively resist change, they can lower the morale of the organization.

Recognizing resistance and overcoming it directly is often the only way to defuse it. Communication, communicating the value of proposed changes, finding ways to provide obstructionist feedback, and identifying points of agreement can set the stage for needed changes.

Octavio B. Peralta is currently the Executive Director of the Philippine Global Compact Network and the founder and volunteer CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Leaders of Associations, the “association of associations”. E-mail Via Peralta bobby@pcaae.org.