To improve or enhance your personal capacities and to help you understand what skills to seek in others that support effective change, we have isolated seven top skills.
These skills are those most frequently identified by employers according to Syracuse University public-affairs professor Bill Coplin, author of “10 Things Employers Want You To Learn In College.” With our focus on change and business process improvement, we have modified them and listed them in order of priority as they apply to facilitating and managing change:
- Integrity—“Do what you say you are going to do.” Without integrity and work ethic, all the other skills could be dangerous. Coplin incudes self-motivation and time management.
- Communications—the greatest and most innovative ideas are impotent if they are not adequately explained to others. Coplin separates verbal or oral communications from written and also emphasizes editing and proofing one’s work.
- Team Work—change never occurs in a vacuum and effective change relies on distributed ownership. Stakeholders need to embrace the change or it will fail. Coplin mentions one-on-one, relationship building, and influencing people through leadership.
- Infomediary—effectively receiving, archiving, and distributing information that each stakeholder needs to plan, operate, and control and the change effort to their level of satisfaction. Colin refers to gathering information and keeping it organized.
- Measurement—“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” so become adept with quantitative tools, statistics, graphs, and spreadsheets. Know how to objectively measure why something is important.
- Questioning—Few skills are harder to teach and yet as important as knowing the right question to ask. Subject matter experts abound in most organizations, they need to be stimulated by the right question in the proper context, and they can deliver.
- Problem Solving—While Coplin emphasizes identifying problems, developing possible solutions, and launching solutions, we would add the importance of properly analyzing the problems as well. Do not leap from identification to solution without a thorough understanding of the implications of the problem.
Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiative, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need.
Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).
Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.
- Phase One Results from a Facilitated Business Process Improvement Project (mgrush.com/blog)
- What is Change Management? (catherinescareercorner.com)
- Change Management summary report (openbusinessperspectives.com)