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Managing Change with Personalities

It’s a mistake to expect everyone to react to change in the same way. Instead, say consultants Kathy Kolbe and Jim Woodford, it makes more sense to benefit from what Kolbe calls the instinct-based actions of these four personalities:

  1. Fact-finders need to investigate and process information.
  2. Follow-throughs want a sense of order.
  3. Quick-starts welcome innovation and risk.
  4. Implementors prefer to transform ideas into reality with tools, machines or their hands.

To know which one you’re dealing with, says Woodford, listen carefully to what they say when you propose change.

  • Fact-finders will ask "Why do we need the change and what does it involve?" Suggestion: Let them persuade themselves by collecting research to support the need for the change.
  • Follow-throughs will say "Yeah, but ..." Their comments will show they need to fit the change into existing structures and routines. Suggestion: Ask them to work on the best ways to do that.
  • Quick-starts will say "Why not?" Suggestion: Have them tackle a change task you know they’ll complete successfully. That will encourage the others.
  • Implementors will say "What real work can we do?" Suggestion: Team them with the Quick-starts to field test early change tasks.

~ Source: Richard S. Deems, writing in Human Resource Professional, LRP Publications, 747 Dresher Road, Ste. 500, Horsham, PA 19044.