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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting Change Right: Element #3

Understanding the territory of change. In the Marine Corps, we were always taught to “recon the forward slope.” The author calls it scouting, reconnaissance and the avant-guard. Essentially he warns organizational change seekers to look forward to see possible risks, get feedback, uncover taboos or traps, identify high-value wins and so own. One technique he raises is “storylistening” which serious communications students could label as “active listening.” The key point he makes about actively listening to others’ stories, is that you get two important results: information and trust. And both are critical to your success. Kahan suggest writing up your interviews into a reconnaissance report—acting like a reporter, he even suggests tape recording with permission and genuine interest that you want to gather the facts. I particularly like his 5 gems to gather in storylistening: red lights (showstoppers), yellow lights (cautions), themes (convergence), educational deficits (gaps), and high-value nuggets (major wins). Don’t forget to read about the role of the interviewer before you set out to start your interviews.

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