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Assemble a Change Leadership Team to champion your initiative everywhere it's important for your presence to be felt. The members of the Change Leadership Team are drawn from your Most Valuable Players - the people who will bring your new idea to life. They are the leaders of your most important constituencies. This group is tasked with building a shared vision and coordinating the activities of your change program.  Building a shared view is the key to creating coherence throughout the system. 

It is the Change Leadership Team’s mandate to steer the change as it unfolds. They take the initiative through to successful conclusion, across the territory of the organization and under varying conditions. This team is responsible for navigating the road, so to speak. They will deal with unanticipated detours, potholes, and shortcuts. They will make the day-to-day decisions responsible for arriving at your destination safe and sound.

Through collaboration they will bust silos, uniting people from disparate functions and departments to create unique synergies.  Because they represent all parts of your program, they have a unique capacity to connect to other stakeholders including customers, members, and partners. 

Four Purposes of the Change Leadership Team

1.     Improve the quality of leadership

2.     Spread the burden of execution

3.     Coordinate effectively, especially when issues involve multiple constituencies

4.     Create a forum for working through complex issues


 Six-step Lifecycle of a Change Leadership Team

1.     Identify leadership candidates from your critical constituencies – i.e., those whose engagement and buy-in is required for success.

2.     Invite the candidates to participate in the Change Leadership Team.

3.     Convene the team and put in place processes to

a.     Develop professional skills based on the needs of the change program

b.     Provide professional recognition for the members

c.      Articulate ground rules and guidelines for team effectiveness

d.     Deal with disagreements within the team

e.     Remove people from the team should the need arise

f.      Report in concisely to keep members abreast of developments throughout the organization and across their constituencies

4.     Meet regularly to:

a.     Provide support to team members

b.     Share best practices

c.      Review progress, individual check-ins and overall activity

d.     Identify challenges

e.     Create solutions

5.     Bring people in and remove them based on the program's needs

6.     Dissolve the team when the change program has reached maturity.

The quality of leadership is improved by bringing together leaders from the most important constituencies.


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Seth Kahan is a Change Leadership specialist. He has consulted with CEOs and executives in over 50 world-class organizations that include Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, American Society of Association Executives, International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Project Management Institute, and NASA. He is the founder of Seth Kahan’s CEO Leaders Forum, a community of CEOs working together to innovate through the current economy. His next book, Getting Change Right: Guaranteeing Buy-In from Your Most Valuable Players, will be published in spring 2010 by Jossey-Bass.Visit his other blog, for more info on the book.  And check out Freelance Fortune: tips on the art of success for free agents.