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Graduation SpeakerJoe Zolner

Our final session this morning was designed to pull together everything we have been learning this week and get us thinking about how we can use what we’ve learned to develop our ability to become change agents at our institutions.

Joe Zolner, our program leader and primary instructor this week, shared his thoughts on “The Science and Art of Managing Change.” He talked about common themes that he sees time and again as he studies organizational change. Here are some that resonated with me that I’d like to share with everyone:

The Science

  • Change agents get “outside the box” regularly. They interact with people different from themselves. They find ways to cross traditional institutional and intellectual boundaries.
  • Idea champions make change happen, nurture and support them.
  • Change happens collaboratively. Understand the intricacies of group process.
  • Change always spawns new logistical complexity, anticipate and plan for it.
  • Information is power and should always be transparent to all involved in a change process.

The Artistry

  • Satisfaction derives from mastery of process, not ownership of content.
  • Change has both scope and pace – balance “big” transformative change with “little” change that tinkers and incrementally improves.
  • **(my personal favorite): Every change looks like a failure in the middle – perseverance and persistence count.
  • Think kaleidoscopically.