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Frequently Asked Questions and Questions I Wish Were Frequently Asked!

Long ago, I wrote a biographical report on former United States President Martin Van Buren. Now, I can’t remember why I wrote the report, but I was recently reminded of it by an August 30, 1834, article in the Niles National Register. The article leads with this statement: “We have been frequently asked the question, ‘what was the majority of the votes of the people for Jackson in 1832?’” The article goes on to demonstrate that Van Buren had the most votes for Vice President, but not enough votes for a majority (votes for President and Vice President were separate.*) Right now, though, I’m more interested in the phrase “frequently asked questions,” and its acronym FAQs. Clearly, FAQs have been around for a while and can serve an informative purpose. For example, “Will this product fit in my 42-inch wide alcove?” or “What if I feel dizzy after tasting your product?” In custom consulting, the FAQ page becomes a bit trickier and lends itself better to stories and abstract answers. That said, I will attempt to answer variations of some of the questions I’m frequently asked.

Getting Started

How do I get started?

In a best-case scenario, you’ve recognized a need for developing the people-side of your organization. Or you’ve recognized the need to ready your organization for change. Perhaps you’re an individual who wants data to help drive self-awareness, leadership traits, and measurement of your organization’s culture. If that describes you, we should definitely talk. The actual “start” occurs when we set up our contract. Don’t wait–Innovators of Change is ready to start helping you now. Contact us today .

How long will my consulting project last?

How long a project lasts partly depends on you. The bulk of the content occurs within an approximately four-month timeframe, with additional work completed in the months that follow. But how long a project lasts is not really the right question.  Innovators of Change is about the holistic relationship.  We look at development over time.  Our best client partnerships last several years – it’s the long-term relationships that have the best impact on your organization’s performance.

Can you make it quick and easy?

Yes. That is not to say that you won’t feel challenged. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we failed to communicate with you along the way, sought out information from you, and encouraged you to strive for the next level. We operate as an external consulting firm that works closely with you, almost as an internal employee would. The difference is that we aren’t internal to the organization. We’re here to help you help your organization develop; it’s not always quick, and it’s not always easy.

Can we arrange a long-term relationship?

Please do! That’s when we’re at our best. If you can work with us for three to five years, you increase your chances of seeing remarkable improvements within your organization.

When is the best time for me to start working with Innovators of Change?

Now. Are you committed to developing yourself and your organization? We generally encourage “thinking it over,” but not on something like this. You’re ready to develop. We’re ready to work with you on that development.  Be decisive.

Why should I hire Innovators of Change?

Robert Townsend, former highly-successful CEO of Avis, wrote of management consultants, “The effective ones are the one-man shows. The institutional ones are disastrous.” I’m not willing to go quite that far – I have friends at the “institutional ones.” However, I believe strongly in the power of the solo practitioners, partners, and small-boutique consultants for bringing the best A-Game to clients. Some of the core values that drive our work include the following:

Δ We act with integrity and with the best interest of each person in mind

Δ Data informs our decisions

Δ We value the latest thinking, research, and analytical strategies in our consulting

Δ We challenge the traditional way of doing business

Δ Our work will be exceptional

When you work with us,  your self-awareness and organizational awareness will increase. You will gain perspectives that you would not have otherwise gained.

In short, you’re partnering on large-scale organization development without the large-scale overhead.

Plus, we’re so much fun to work with!

Key Question: Have you thought about the communication efforts that will be needed with the change your organization is planning? Have you established the conversational and sincere qualities needed for effective change management communication?

Key Takeaway: Depending on the type of change, it’s unlikely that your FAQs will follow a fully repeatable approach. Keep evolving and advancing the communications approach.

Innovators of Change is ready to help you and your business with organizational change.

Content Expertise

What areas can you help me with?

In a nutshell, we can help you gain new insights and self-awareness. In a broader metaphoric perspective, with your commitment, and through a thorough individual development plan, we can help you go from Point A to Point B. And Point B is where you want to be.

What areas can you help my organization with?

We’re all about organizational change. We can help you achieve change through leader coaching, organizational culture measurement and action planning, and collaborative organizational communication. Taking this to an even more specific level, we offer the following:

Δ CEO and executive pre- and post-transition coaching to prepare and develop for a new role

Δ Coaching leaders towards greater personal growth and organizational effectiveness

Δ Organizational culture measurement, interpretation and reporting, and action planning

Δ Internal podcasts that drive organizational knowledge-sharing and build culture

Δ Organization illustrations and discussion guides to facilitate your Big Picture

Can you help us on the people side by integrating the consulting work across functions?

Yes, this is where we feel we’re at our best. Ultimately, we’re interested in helping your entire organization, not one section. We challenge our clients to think about how the work we do connects to the overall organization. The questions we ask and the work we do is organizational work.

Do I need help in these areas?

There is a fun t-shirt making its way around the various disciplines of psychology. One version says, “I’m an industrial-organizational psychologist. I solve problems you don’t know you have in ways you don’t understand.” Although I didn’t realize industrial-organizational psychology existed until I decided to pursue an advanced degree in psychology, I was well aware of problems in the workplace, problems that I now know comprise industrial-organizational psychology and organization development. Most organizations need assistance at some point.

Could you get by without our services? In most cases, yes. Could you improve your and organization’s effectiveness through our services? In nearly all cases, yes.

Are there any content areas where you won’t work?

We’re not a “fake it until you make it” organization. We’ve worked hard to build our expertise in a specialized core of work. However, we know a lot of other consultants and organizations that specialize in other kinds of work. Ask us for recommendations!

Organizational Change

Why am I now hearing so much about organizational change? Is it a fad?

Nope. Not a fad. As an example, Warner Burke writes about the history of organizational change and dates it back to the time of Moses, with Jethro serving as the change management consultant. This particular section of the Old Testament holds special significance for me, and I giggle to myself when I think about Jethro as a forefather of change management consulting.

There are many reasons why you may be just now hearing more about organizational change.  A big one, though, is that organizational change is continuous and the need to prepare and act on organizational change has increased due to an ongoing and growing recognition of the value that talented people can provide to an organization’s overall success, and to the long-term strengthening of the organization’s health.

Is my organization big enough to experience change?

Yes. Every organization, regardless of size, experiences change. The approach to dealing with change may vary depending on the size, but you still need to deal with the changes.

Don’t people despise work and change? Won’t people resist change no matter what you do?

Let’s throw out some misleading numbers, such as 85% of people hate their jobs and 70% of change management initiatives fail. Or let’s take an easy out and blame Millennials. We can build a case for resistance of change based on such false reasoning. But it’s not helpful, nor is it accurate.

In my experience, most people have at least some interest in doing good work and advancing their own development. Let’s change the perspective to something like: People want to believe in the work they do. Therefore, people will embrace change that helps them and their organization meet goals while not going against core values. Employees will embrace change when the effort has been made, in advance, to build the leadership, culture, and communication that support the change.

Other Random – And Mostly Big – Questions

What is the origin of human knowledge?

Whoa! Tough question. Mostly, we should leave epistemology to the philosophers. However, how each of us gains knowledge about the world and ourselves is an important question to individual development. Basically, I’m closest to the idea that we have an active mind and translate reality – via reflection – into what we know, and what that new knowledge means. Therefore, models that separate out the knowledge-gaining process into multiple steps appeal to me.

What’s the meaning of life?

There are several ways to answer this question. An essay on identity theory is one option. A discussion of goal-setting theory might provide valuable information, too. Instead, though, I’ll allow Monty Python to offer the lead answer to this question of the meaning of life. By the way, I’m not in agreement with the scientists who suggest that we are only spiraling coils or self-replicating DNA.

Is time travel possible?

Change is measured over time. Without time, there is no change. When we measure across time, we are, in one sense, engaging in time travel. The idea of physically moving our bodies back to a previous timepoint and creating change in that manner is more than my mind can handle. The physical portion of time travel is better addressed by the physicists.

Will I be satisfied if I hire Innovators of Change?

We will deliver outstanding work. Our goal is for you to be impressed and satisfied.

What can you tell me about Martin Van Buren and organizational change?

This is an interesting question that is difficult and too complex to fully answer in a FAQ. Basically, Van Buren attempted to initiate change in a lot of instances but, ultimately, failed. However, two notable cases in which Van Buren succeeded were the Independent Treasury Act of 1840 and in energizing Free Banking movement principles, which the Federal government finally embraced in the 1860s. These two accomplishments were foundational reforms to the American banking system and resulted in the Federal Reserve System that remains in place today.

Few people remember much about Van Buren and his efforts as an agent of change. I can’t remember what I wrote about Van Buren way back when.  If we get the time travel question solved, though, maybe we’ll be able to find out. In the meantime, our best bet is to rely on these FAQs. And if any of your questions haven’t been answered, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

*583,810 votes were placed for Van Buren as Vice President in 1832. 689,047 were placed for someone other than Van Buren as Vice President – Barbour, 12,722; Wilkins, 90,983; Sergeant, 328,033; Ellmaker, 255,873; Anti-Jackson (in Tennessee), 1,436.

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