In the new Change Starts Here model for discovering your path to change, the metaphor for change is starting a fire. The ability to make fire is an essential part of human survival, just like change is essential to organizational survival. At each step along the path, an individual seeking to implement change must evaluate the organization and also look at the contribution they make as a leader. The model contains four self-coaching steps that will guide you from Fuel to Fire.
Fuel: The Reality
Every fire must start with fuel, the material that the fire will consume. Fuel is the current inventory of assets, including what will burn and what won’t. Fuel is the reality.
The fundamental question behind Fuel is “Where is ‘here?’” Start with your organization’s strengths and values, and also take stock of things to leave behind as you move toward the future. As a leader, reflect on how you perpetuate the current reality of the organization.
Fire: The Inspiration
While fire might seem like the last step, the concept of the fire is where you want — or need — to go. Fire is the vision that will keep you on track and give you the motivation to go on. Fire is the inspiration.
Imagine the Fire by asking “Where are we going?” Look at the future of the organization from the perspective of stakeholders, customers and employees. Then, create a vision of the future organization that is not anchored to the current, Fuel, organization. Imagine your role in the future, Fire, organization and decide who you need to become to succeed in it.
Damper: The Obstacle
The Damper is what stands in the way of the Fuel becoming the Fire. It tries to snuff it out, sometimes even before it starts. Damper is the obstacle.
Search out the Dampers for your organization with the question, “What is in the way?” Start by identifying the gap between the Fuel and Fire organizations, and then determine what causes the gap. Include the obstacles you put in your own way.
Catalyst: The Energy
A fire will not spontaneously start. A spark is needed to get it going. Also, when the fire is dampened, it’s the catalyst that will keep it burning. Catalyst is the energy.
“How will I get there?” Now that you know the Dampers that stand in the way, discover the action steps, the Catalysts, that will help you overcome the obstacles to light a Fire for your organization. The Catalyst step is ultimately personal, since you can only control your own behaviors, attitudes and actions.
Start with these four steps to evaluate where you are, where you are going, what is in your way, and what action is next. Change starts here!
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