9378 Chapters
Medium 9781576753569

Chapter 6: Roles, Responsibilities, and Relationships

Cooperrider, David; Whitney, Diana D. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Successful change management requires the attention, focus, and commitment of large numbers of people. Our experience suggests that the more positive the focus of the change effort, the stronger the attraction to participate and the more likely people are to get involved and stay involved. Clarity of roles, responsibilities, and relationships creates channels of participation and supports active involvement of all stakeholders.

This chapter provides an overview of the roles, responsibilities, and relationships central to successful positive change. As you will see in Table 4, everyone has a role in creating positive change.

The role of an organization’s leadership is that of sponsors, or positive change catalysts. Leaders participate equally as one of the many essential voices at the table. Given the opportunity to listen to and hear the creative ideas, hopes, and dreams of their colleagues and organization stakeholders, leaders recognize that their job is to plant the seed and nurture the best in others. After the positive revolution begins, what it needs most is affirmation and a clear, open pathway for experimentation and innovation. Leadership must be present throughout the process, asking powerful, positive, value-based questions, expecting the best, and being truly curious about the hopes and dreams of organizational members. By modeling AI as a relational leadership practice, leaders send a clear and consistent message: positive change is the pathway to success around here.

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Medium 9781523082629

Chapter 1 Conflict: The Big Bang of Communication

Regier, Nate Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.”

—Ken Blanchard

At the most basic level, conflict is a gap between what we want and what we are experiencing at any given moment. Conflict is everywhere. I want my latte in my hands before 7:50 a.m. so I can get to work on time, and the line is long at Starbucks. I want my team to come together around our strategic vision, and they have lot of questions. I want to feel rested tomorrow, and I also want to stay up tonight to watch three episodes of my favorite show on Netflix. I want to be recognized for my hard work on a project, and my client criticizes it. I want to feel settled about a decision, and my gut clenches whenever I think of it. I want to feel confident that my sales team will positively represent our brand in front of customers, and they question each other’s integrity. I want to feel safe in my house, and I am afraid because two families in my neighborhood have been victims of recent break-ins. What happens when conflict occurs? Where do you feel it? Does your heart rate soar? What about your stomach? Does it churn or tighten up? Perhaps your hands get cold and clammy or your neck gets hot. Does your hair stand up on the back of your neck? Maybe you notice racing thoughts or extreme emotions. Some people shut down. Some people lash out. Some people have learned to take it in stride. But for most of us, conflict is stressful. The more conflict we experience, the bigger the emotional, physical, and psychological toll it takes on us.

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Medium 9781576759042

3. Birth of the U Theory

Jaworski, Joseph Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Brian Arthur

A week later, Otto and I were in New York, seeing Professor Rao and Dr. Lipson, and the following week, we were in Palo Alto, meeting with Professor Ray. We were in a car near Menlo Park when my business partner, Susan Taylor, called me. She had located Brian Arthur at Xerox PARC and learned that he was writing a book and wasn’t taking any meetings. Susan informed me that I was going to have to call Brian directly.

I called immediately and managed to get through to him, introducing myself and explaining our project. When I said that we needed two hours of his time for an interview, he politely declined, explaining he was working on a new book and wasn’t taking appointments. I pressed him, telling him of the others who had agreed to see us. There was silence on the other end for a moment – then he said, “Okay, you can come by this afternoon for a couple of hours at two o’clock.”

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Medium 9781605093437

6 Engaging Difference

Davidson, Martin N. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

By Martin N. Davidson and Heather R. Wishik

Engaging difference is the step in which organizations begin to change. Up to this point in the cycle, the focus has been on creating a foundation for intentional organizational action. In seeing difference, leaders worked to identify what differences might be relevant for generating organizational results. They started with strategy and used tools such as strategy maps to help hone in on differences that might be important to customers and markets, to strategic internal processes like manufacturing or supply chain development, and to workforce composition. They even looked at external stakeholders—government agencies, nonprofits, community organizations—that affected the ability of their organization to create value. In understanding difference, leaders guided their organizations through the process of learning about what these relevant differences mean to the stakeholders involved and how these relevant differences could impact organizational results. Labeling the difference as possibly relevant was just the first step. Developing a deeper working knowledge of the difference was the second step.

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Medium 9781567262193

Chapter 2: A Commitment to People

Leheney, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”


Probably the single most important question to ask in an effort to understand effective leadership is: What is the nature of the relationship between leaders and others? In the content and context of that relationship lies key information on how well the organization is performing. Is the relationship strained, marked by mutual misunderstanding, a lack of trust, low motivation, and resentment? Or does the relationship contain clear communication, mutually reinforcing processes, genuine commitment, and a clear sense of moving ahead together?


The health or quality of the relationships you have with others is an important indicator of your leadership effectiveness.

Recall someone in your work life who showed a genuine interest in and concern for you. This person wanted to know how you were doing, what your own goals were, what you liked and didn’t like, and a host of other things that mattered to you—and which created a sense of connection, or loyalty to that person.

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