Think back to January 1, 2020. Could anyone imagine the amount of change that our society has gone through in the past six months?
It’s almost the halfway mark of the year. The world is seeing the greatest upheaval in education, health, travel, international relations and the economy that’s been witnessed in decades. These monumental events dictate the need to prepare the government to lead change.
Change Management or Leading Change
How can we prepare the government to lead change? The definitions associated with change management and leading change are significant.
- Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP): ACMP defines change management as, “the practice of applying a structured approach to transition an organization from a current state to a future state.”
- Kotter: “Change leadership, on the other hand, concerns the driving forces, visions and processes that fuel large-scale transformation … putting an engine on the whole change process.“
- Hawkes: “Change leadership is the art and then the science of influencing people to engage in change and then navigating a journey together from their current state to a desired future state.”
- U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM): OPM defines leading change as, “the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. … The ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.”
Instead of preparing government to manage change using the same structured approach as always, the current situation demands creativity and innovation lead change. Leading change involves facilitating vision, processes and driving forces to influence people “in a continuously changing environment.” That is the difference between change management (controlling change) and leading change (facilitating an environment for a change).
Creativity and Innovation as a Leading Change Competency
To prepare the government to lead change, it is critical to map developmental strategies to a leading change executive competency. This provides opportunities to educate, explore and experience leading change through creativity and innovation. As defined by OPM, creativity and innovation: “develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting-edge programs/processes.”
Educate to Lead Change Through Creativity and Innovation
Educate to lead change by taking courses on creativity and innovation, such as Northwestern’s Kellog School Leading and Sustaining a Culture of Innovation. Also, look at the ideas in Stanford’s Introduction to Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Develop and learn how to implement organizationwide innovation best practices with Udemy Innovation Master Class. Additionally, learn how to use design thinking for innovation with courses by eCornell, MIT and Coursera by the University of Virginia .
Exposure to Leading Change Through Creativity and Innovation
Facilitate exposure opportunities for leading change through creativity and innovation by coordinating an employee-paneled ‘shark tank’-themed program to uncover efficiency and effectiveness ideas. Interview technical experts at different organizations on innovation and change, and share the results with all the organizations. In addition, consider coordinating information-sharing discussions and panels among various organization and diversity and inclusions experts.
Experience Leading Change Through Creativity and Innovation
Experience leading change through creativity and innovation by coordinating innovation awards for college students to address an organizational issue. Create a social media campaign for a new product or service and design and implement a new telework communication plan.
Together, these tips should help get you on your way to mastering change in a time when it’s so unrelenting.
Adelle J. Dantzler, M.S. Ed., has advanced from a GS-3 student worker to a GS-15 Human Resources Specialist in the federal government. She has used her master’s experience in instructional design to create innovative, customized virtual and instructor-led courses and curriculums at the high potential, team leader, GS-15, and senior executive levels at four federal agencies. As a Federal Job Search Trainer/Career Coach, she has successfully coached hundreds on the job search and facilitated career management, leadership, and team-building with her certifications as a MBTI® & FIRO-B® Practitioner, Crucial Conversations and InsideOut Coaching Presenter, and EQ-i2.0 and CCL 360 coach.