State of the Union of Change Mgt with Geek Sheik Dan Olson

Engaging speaker, practical approach, excellent insights, useful metaphors, trends, & current processes

Dan “The Disruptor” Olson of STAR Collaborative came to the MNODN on January 9th to facilitate a program on Change Management: State of the Union. I was unsure what to expect, and Dan presented information on his background to help provide context for his “Getting Stuff Done” perspective. Not only did we learn about his own path which is currently the successful startup STAR Collaborative (The Costco version of for talent) we also learned about the local change management group.  This was an evolution from a gathering of friends providing a somewhat quarterly Change Summit into the birth of a new change association - The Minnesota Change Management Network (MMCMN). I personally also re-learned new terms such as “Network Weaver” with an application to building Communities of Practice to better implement change.  

Dan let us know of his penchant for pop culture, and how he sees change management as a street level approach to change. The metaphor used was that Batman was more appropriate to enable “Change Fu” with his innovative down-in-the-trenches approach than Superman who has greater super powers (requiring less collaboration?).

Dan shared a few trends which many of us found interesting, and/or confirmatory:

  • Those hiring Free Agent Change Managers want to see certifications i.e., Prosci
  • Hiring entities are more interested in results and outcomes than Organizational Theory
  • Those being hired are asked for specific full cycle implementation examples and tools
  • Leaders may deny it, but they often want secret coaching on change
  • Dan provided benchmarking fee information on going hourly rates for Change Agents.

Another suggestion from Dan was for change Managers to use Heat Maps as one of their tools when presenting information to others (Wiki: A heat map is a graphical representation of data where the individual values contained in a matrix are represented as colors). Using Heat Maps to illustrate locations of stress and strain in an organization can be easier to communicate/ navigate than tables, charts, or graphs.

There was great group discussion including the relationship between Change Management and Organization Development. Other questions and discussion centered on issues such as:

  1. Will new findings and developments in neuroscience disrupt Change Management?
  2. How can software development’s Agile Methodology be woven into Change Management?
  3. Is gamification creeping into Change Management? If so is it accelerating impactful change?

So before you wonder if “The Disruptor” came from Tatooine or the Gotham City, Dan left us with some great key take away quotes such as “Project Management is getting things done, while Change Management is making change stick”. During the session we were also provided information on the upcoming Association of Change Management Professionals standards which are open for comment and review.  Finally, Dan also invited us to view/provide feedback on STAR Collaborative’s  values manifesto.

Paul Thoresen, M.A.
Programming Co-Chair