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“The real-life case studies, interactive exercises, individual coaching and group facilitation action plans provided me a ton of value – way beyond what’s in the book, and way more than I expected! I began using the new tools the very next day with my clients. They ‘got’ the simple yet powerful process right away, and within a month we’re seeing amazing results!”
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Leaders who get CQ get results. Consultants and coaches who get CQ get results for their clients, teams, and organizations.
For this month’s newsletter I interviewed Si Alhir , change management consultant and recent CQ Certification Workshop graduate. Si shared with me how he applied his Change Intelligence to partner with Redpoint Technologies and an actual client undergoing real change challenges to achieve significant transformational results.
Barbara: Through completing the CQ Assessment you discovered your Change Leader Style, which is “Adapter.” As an Adapter, you are savvy in utilizing engaging “Heart” behaviors, visionary “Head” strategies, and helpful “Hands” tactics as the situation demands. Can you describe how you’ve been able to apply your Adapter strengths in your role as a change agent?
Si: As an Adapter, my strengths include “seeming” flexible, a team player, interactive, and open to experimentation and new experiences.
I exercised these strengths in working with Cars.com in their change/transformation journey . Cars.com endeavored to address long product/service discovery and delivery cycles, continuous human resource contention, and overall employee dissatisfaction to achieve greater overall business agility. The journey resulted in a significant reduction of time-to-market (idea to product/service) and an increase in employee satisfaction (with a decrease in turnover).
I was very involved and engaged with a wide variety of stakeholders while being very curious and commonly taking the role of a devil’s advocate to advance the journey. I leveraged my openness to engage advocates as well as “resistors” of the change journey. Working with advocates, I quickly fostered a “team player” mindset. And working with “resistors,” I quickly confronted any confusion (head), lack of connection (heart), or lack of tactics/training (hand) to partner around advancing the journey. In particular, having a natural curiosity, I pulled people into the conversations; and having a natural inventiveness to foster shifting attitudes and behaviors, I engaged individuals, teams, managers, and executives in advancing the journey.
Barbara: That’s fantastic, Si! Congratulations on your significant achievement! But as we know, any strength overdone can become a weakness. And, each Change Leader Style has its blind spots – aspects we can miss, neglect, or overlook. Can you also describe a bit about how you have worked on the weaknesses and blind spots of your Adapter style?
Si: As an Adapter, my blind spots include occasionally “seeming” unpredictable, political, wily, overly talkative, and inconsistent in tasks and deliverables. I confronted these weaknesses in working with Cars.com in their change/transformation journey.
Commonly, people seemed confused by me and readily acknowledged that I make expedient (rather than seemingly grounded) choices, I don’t firmly advocate “anything” specific, and I often change my opinions. Additionally, I continuously “question myself” (are these the right objectives/goals, path/approach, etc.).
To confront what may seem as being unpredictable, political, or wily, I exercised “extreme transparency” with everyone (while being conscious of maintaining people’s confidence/integrity, etc). This allowed people to recognize that I was more predictable and not wily or playing politics. To confront what may seem as inconsistency in tasks and deliverables, I anchored myself within a core design/transformation team of people who would hold me accountable to my responsibilities (tasks and deliverables) and commitments. Additionally, to confront the sometimes torturous dwelling of “questioning myself,” I time-boxed everything I did so that I could better learn about when/where to question myself versus trust in my decisions. After all, I’m only human!
Barbara: As I often say, “when we change, it’s amazing how others can change too!” It seems you lived that adage at Cars.com. In fact, it’s not really about changing ourselves – any more than we can force change on others. It’s about adapting our styles. Not to make everyone an “Adapter” like you, but rather to have the skill to flex our styles as change leaders to become more effective across a wider variety of situations – that is in fact the definition of Change Intelligence. Can you describe how you have leveraged other CQ styles in your consulting practice?
Si: While I naturally embrace an Adapter CQ style (based on my assessment), as I worked with individuals, teams, managers, and executives, I adapted the CQ styles while working with Cars.com.
I embraced more of a Coach (high Heart) CQ style when working with those who were more Driver-oriented (high Head and Hands managers who are typically confident, focused, and pragmatic) in order to foster greater people-orientation. While there was not much resistance due to a lack of connection (heart), I nonetheless ensured everyone embraced those “who” were most impacted by the journey. In particular, I worked with a few managers who required that I demonstrate (as a Coach) how they could be more encouraging and supportive when working with others.
I embraced more of a Visionary (high Head) CQ style when working with those who were more Facilitator-oriented (high Hands and Heart professionals who tend to be good listeners, helpful, and detail-oriented) in order to foster greater purpose-orientation. While there was not much resistance due to confusion (head), I nonetheless ensured everyone embraced “why” the journey was crucial in the evolution of the enterprise.
I embraced more of an Executer (high Hands) CQ style when working with those who were more Champion-oriented (high Heart and Head leaders who can be very charismatic, optimist, and compelling) in order to foster greater process-orientation. While there was not much resistance due to a lack of tactics/training (hands), I nonetheless ensured everyone embraced and contributed to “how” the journey was realized.
By integrating and adapting the various CQ styles to the variety of people and situations, we were able to advance on the change/transformation journey to successful closure.
Barbara: You definitely lived by the “Platinum Rule” – “do onto others as THEY want to be done onto” – in this mission-critical engagement. From what you’ve shared, you took on a significant amount of “action learning” as you reflected upon your own behaviors and then intentionally flexed your style in new, winning ways. In closing, is there anything else that you got out of the CQ Certification Process that aided you in your work with this particular client?
Si: Of course as my story shows I was able not just to leverage my own skills as a change agent, but I was able to coach and empower managers and executives at Cars.com to enhance their effectiveness in leading the transformation. Additionally, I can tell you that the change intelligent action planning tools, meeting facilitating guides, and team-building techniques provide a foundation to launch change projects powerfully, make “course corrections” when we experienced hiccups, and keep us all aligned and accountable as we moved through the process. We delivered results that exceeded the client’s expectations, set up systems to ensure the success would sustain, and developed internal capability so that new initiatives would be led effectively into the future. Great Thanks and credit goes to the core design/transformation team who ultimately fostered the journey.