Years ago Faith and I came up with this activity that really is helpful for clients who are in the trenches of change management. Is there anybody that is not currently managing change of some kind?
Last week we had the unique opportunity to work back-to-back with two organizations who, as organizational entities, respectively occupy the lands of Leapers and Tradition Holders. While we very often work with the roles of Leapers, Bridge builders and Tradition holders in teams, I have never had such a vivid experience of organizational entities occupying these roles.
The name of these different roles is fairly self-evident; leapers are the individuals on a team who are out front and center with the latest thoughts, ideas and innovations. They have a high tolerance for risk. Metaphorically, they carry the newest version of smart phones and probably are in the line at the Apple store when the new iPad goes on sale. We all know the individuals who one way or the other, are able to purchase before anybody else!
Bridge Builders, while up for innovation, are more cautious and do a lot of research and comparison before they lock onto the product they want to purchase. They want to be educated or convinced, and are comfortable with mild to moderate risk.
Tradition Holders are more risk averse, can be highly competent in well-proven technology and strategies and occupy the role of protecting tradition. All three of these roles are needed in any change initiative for the obvious strength and insight that each brings. Conflict during change initiatives are frequently seen as individuals clashing while in fact, it is these three roles that are competing for final outcomes. Understanding this and facilitating the strengths of each into the mix while mitigating the challenges brought by each, creates a win-win-win situation.