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Change & Catalysis


Much has been said about “Change” and “Change Management”. So, let’s cut to the chase and personalize it a bit. What does change mean for me? How do I handle it? How do I sense it? How do I engage with it? And when it does its bit and blows over, what happens to me? Am I consumed in the process or do I come out stronger and activated?

Let’s borrow a bit from school chemistry lessons. Reactants, Accelerators and Catalysts are measured through a 1 to 5 scale along the Five Attitudes of the Catalyst. In our experiences, Reactants are people usually at Proficiency Levels 1 to 3, irrespective of job titles, age, role at work or at home. They might have made a strong impression or created favorable results for others and somewhere in the process made it worse for themselves and gotten consumed as a result of their belief systems, conduct and actions in Social Space. You might “respect” their work but avoid them altogether by choice.

Accelerators are people at Proficiency Levels 3 & 4, irrespective of job titles, age, role at work or at home. As before, they might have made a strong impression or created favorable results for themselves and others through their ideas, plans, vision, guidance, execution and contributions. They are generally good people and are looked up to in their Social Space. Some are considered leaders or great managers and coaches and maybe even famous for their qualities. Where it gets iffy is when their personal conduct and professional conduct doesn’t align and is inconsistent and they eventually consume themselves in the process.

This is every person who is great at one narrow band of their lives and hopes greatness or success in one compensates for other areas that also matter. Example at work: visionary guide and executor but a nasty person to even interact with, exceptionally skilled role models with a god complex, the CFO who pulls the company from the brink of disaster but is a habitual drunk tolerated by the company for that unique financial wizardry, someone who makes amazing music that inspires and uplifts but alas, an unfortune death by a miscalculated dose of drugs, the CHRO who makes fantastic policies and helps the company become the “most admired place to work” and is also known for taking advantage of a junior colleague, the leader who is great at work and teaches compassionate, servant leadership and is publicly caught treating one’s own family (wife/husband/kids) cruelly, the cool young CEO of a large company who succumbed to a heart attack from all the stress of running the world and left a widow and two kids in the wake of their departure but still remembered fondly for their open door policy and financial success, the geeky founder of a unicorn company, loved and admired for having disrupted the market with their unique product caught siphoning investor funds and bloating financial reports. The list goes on. Anybody who is awesome by day and iffy by sunset or vice versa… Accelerators. All good people, mostly. This is anytime the credibility of the person is questionable but you shake it off thinking what they do in their private life is not to be considered, but it still bothers you in private though publicly the façade is that “everything is okay”. This is everywhere people did nasty things to “get the job done” but you were told “It is okay because that is the way it is. Tough decisions need to be taken” and you know from the facts that that was not the case. Accelerators by definition are admired, even idolized for their ability to accelerate results… and gently given allowances when they are consumed in the process. The greater good compensates for the smaller gaps. Does it help with credibility? Hmm…

Both Accelerants and Accelerators need someone else in Social Space to execute and “do the job”.

CATLYSTS are people at Proficiency Level 5, irrespective of job titles, age, role at work or at home, who fundamentally transform the Social Space around them with consistent, credible conduct without being consumed in the process. Worn out from repeated encounters with people at Levels 1 to 3, Yes. Catalysts wear out but they manage to replenish themselves. Consumed, No. Catalysts by nature are also Accelerators.

When change happens, sometimes you can infer what is happening within just by watching how people go about their lives, like the old saying goes “Listen all you want to what people say.. but watch what they do”. There lies the truth. A lot can be learnt by watching how people behave when there is a power cut, the internet is down… or they don’t get what they want.

Are you a Reactant, Accelerator or a Catalyst?

Click here and find out for yourself.

Our flagship Learning Experience, the Culture Catalyst Program© (CCP), based on two decades of Organizational Behaviour can help you and your Organization transform and deliver long lasting results. There is no quick fix. There is however a method, a process that increases the probability of lasting success.

While the program is strongly recommended for C-suites and Upper Management folks, it is equally relevant for current, emerging, future leaders and high potential employees. The details are on our website - Contact us today.


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