13 Techniques for Accelerating the Speed of Change

1. Create a team of change agents. Teach your most avid supporters, your evangelists, how to listen and have productive conversations with everyone they meet. Regularly conduct role-plays where they bring in their toughest situations and learn from each other how to handle them well.

2. Replicate your team. Teach your evangelists how to teach others to have these same productive conversations.

3. Adapt and integrate your ideas with multiple contexts. Elevator speeches (rehearsed speeches which can be delivered in the time it takes for an elevator to reach its destination) are almost useless for most great ideas because they are disconnected from context and make no sense to many listeners. Practice connecting your ideas to different contexts by raising it in different circumstances.

4. Distribute easy-to-understand, teaching-tools. Provide anyone anywhere who wants to advocate on your behalf with the materials they need to explain your ideas and their benefits. Use the materials yourself. Set an example.

5. Leverage strategic reflection. Create time to stop and review what is working, what is not, and how you can change your behavior to increase the speed of change.

6. Build a web of thinking partners. Find people who understand what you are trying to do and have the professional experience and expertise to help you develop your activities.

7. Become expert in efficient and effective communication. Use media tools that disseminate relevant news immediately to all parties.

8. Choose a network over a hub-and-spoke relationship model. Make it easy for your supporters to reach each other without going through you. Provide everyone with email addresses, telephone numbers, and access to project tools, email listservs, anything and everything that allows them to initiate collaboration on their own.

9. Delegate everything or as much as possible. If you have a budget, pretend you don’t. Move activities and responsibility out to the periphery so it can spread.

10. Follow enthusiasm and commitment. Go where there’s energy and excitement. Take time for people who are dedicated and supportive. Blow their coals into fire.

11. Provide as much face-time as possible.
If you use electronic media, use it to enable people to get together. Whenever possible, share air.

12. Create time in your day to talk to others. Don’t become so overloaded with tasks that you can’t have a conversation. Remember dialogue is the basic building block of change.

13. Dedicate space for conversation. If possible, have a living room or casual atmosphere where people can congregate when the need arises. If all you have are conference rooms, make it known that they are available for casual conversations and impromptu meetings.


6 Responses to “13 Techniques for Accelerating the Speed of Change”

  1. Seth- this is an outstanding list and on reflection, a lot of how I already operate as a change agent and “Catalyst for Magic” at AMP where I work ceaselessly to nurture a culture of Innovation. Funny- I think people who are effective at change get it intuitively- I have never formally “studied” change- but a prompter and list like this is really useful for reflection and for coaching others to be thought leaders and change agents. Thanks for this gift. Would also like to see what your interest might be in joining the line-up one day at the AMPLIFY Innovation & Thought Leadership Festival that I have created in Sydney and produce every 2nd year. Next one is June 2011.

  2. Annalie – it’s true that some personalities understand it deeply, and find these techniques reaffirm their natural stance. The world is fortunate to have these folks who ensure that innovation continues to be nurtured and utilized. That said, it is critical that the discipline become explicit and business processes specified. This will allow the field to grow, expertise to be developed, and disciplines to emerge. It will make the knowledge available to those who do not intuitively understand it which is critical to conveying it across disciplines and to future generations.

    Happy to learn more about AMPLIFY. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Hi Seth,

    Great information. Thank you!

    Also wanted to add to your list the myriad of large group intervention techniques that Billie Alban and Barbara Benedict Bunker brought to the forefront in the early 90’s. They have a 2006 book called The Handbook of Large Group Methods: Creating Systemic Change in Organizations and Communities (Jossey-Bass Business & Management) which overviews these approaches and their successes. I’ve been using my own adaptation of Real-time Strategic Change/Whole System Change based on the Dannemiller Tyson model for years — with amazing success. Even in as short a period as a day!

    Kind regards,
    Lori Silverman
    author, Wake Me Up When the Data Is Over: How Organizations Use Stories to Drive Results

  4. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by SethKahan: 13 Techniques for Accelerating the Speed of Change http://bit.ly/7Dg1n

  5. Thanks, Lori. I also want to point folks to the recent podcast you did with Rick Maurer. Lori is an expert in applied storytelling. Check out her website, http://www.sayitwithastory.com/ Rick is known best for “helping people lead change without migraines™” His website, http://www.beyondresistance.com

  6. […] 13 Techniques for Accelerating the Speed […]

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