10: High-Impact Change Practitioners

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What makes up a top 10% Change Management Practitioner?
Daryl Conner discusses Change Management Practitioners and what makes a High Impact Change Practitioner. The perspective Daryl brings to his work is informed by the patterns of success and failure he’s documented during his four decades of advising senior executives as they orchestrate fundamental change. His proven implementation process infuses structure and discipline into realizing strategic initiatives in a way that promotes individual resilience and organizational nimbleness.

Daryl is founder and chairman of Conner Partners (a consulting firm specializing in strategy execution), Conner Academy (a professional development firm supporting change practitioners exploring who they are as a means for advancing their capabilities), and Conner Advisory (a consulting firm dedicated to serving leaders who are pursuing changes that matter).

Key Learnings From This Episode

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Anyone who is responsible for change within an organization can be a change practitioner, irrespective of their function.

Types of Practitioners

  • The inept practitioner: These are the practitioners that the leaders said they weren’t getting much value from. In fact many of them said they would prefer not to work with them and that they were more trouble than they were worth.  These make up 25% of the practitioners Daryl heard about.
  • The adequate practitioner: These were labeled adequate because that is how they were perceived. These made up 65%.
  • The high impact practitioner:  The leaders described these practitioners as their partners and really trusted advisors. There was a whole different level of value with these. They made up 10%.

Six Characteristics of High Impact Practitioners

  1. They have a lot of time in their area of specialty. They aren’t novices.
  2. They are very knowledgeable in skills in their area.
  3. They have a good track record. They either have a track record with that leader (they have demonstrated value before) or they came to that leader with a reputation.  
  4. They demonstrate conceptual awareness. They aren’t a narrow technician that only addresses his or her discipline. They have an understanding of the business.
  5. They come with unique perspectives.
  6. They are very bold in their viewpoints and recommendations. That doesn’t mean they are loud or always getting attention. It means they authentically come forward. Leaders can trust that they will tell them what they think is actually going on.

Challenge of 10 Percenters

One really big challenge for 10 percenters is to stay mindful and attentive to not only bringing concepts and tools and techniques but to bring who they are. Their character and presence is an important part of the value they generate and they need to stay mindful of that.

The Hidden Life Within by Giuseppe Penone

The artist sculpted the trunk of a huge oak in the middle so you can see what the sapling might have looked like, which is a good metaphor. The sapling represents character, the essence of who we are and what we are about. Presence is how we convey it. We generate a certain presence with clients and people we work with and that presence is either authentic or “I don’t want to show you my character for fear of being rejected”.


“The 10% practitioner says I am going to play my music authentically from my heart” –Daryl Conner

Recommended Reading and References From this Episode

There are an unlimited number of books and seminars on staying awake and staying mindful. People are encouraged to develop that capability in themselves. The trick is to incorporate that discipline in their work. Google mindfulness and attentiveness.  
Daryl Conner HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Daryl Conner HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Love the Music You Play
Love the Music You Play
Monday, July 25, 2016 - 8:00am
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Daryl Conner
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