The Five Personality Types of Change

This is part of a paper on consulting I wrote for a course I taught a few years ago.  I thought it would make interesting reading.

Whether you are storming the city walls as part of a military campaign, as Henry V did when he urged his men “Once more into the breech, dear friends,” or you are the champion of new ideas within your organization, you will be implementing changes.  These are the five personality types you will be facing as you begin the task of implementing your grand plans. 


In the Presence of a Conqueror


In the Presence of a Change Agent


Collaborators

Collaborators are those people in the conquered land that worked actively to help the Conqueror take over.  They are the ones who threw open the city gates so the Conqueror could enter without laying siege to the city.  They are the ones who recruited other supporters to accept the Conqueror.  These people need to be rewarded for their loyalty.


Collaborators

Collaborators are those people in the organization that worked actively to help the Change Agent move their change agenda forward.  In the case of an acquisition, they worked to make the organization more attractive to the acquiring company.  In the case of new management or strategy, they embraced the new vision of the organization and recruited other supporters to accept the new strategy.  These people need to be rewarded for their actions on behalf of the change.


Adopters

Adopters are those people who realize that their lives are better off under the conqueror than it was under the previous rulers.  They see the advantages economically, politically, personally, in embracing the changes that the conqueror is making.  These people can be leveraged to help implement the changes across the land and need to be rewarded for their wisdom.


Adopters

Adopters are those people who realize that strategy of the change agent will make their jobs better than they were before.  They see the advantages to their customers, their staff, and themselves.  These people can be leveraged to help implement the changes across the organization and need to be rewarded for their intelligence.


The Ambivalent

The Ambivalent comprise the bulk of the population and they do not care who is in charge or what changes are being made so long as they are left alone to live their lives as before.  They don’t see how the Conqueror will improve their lives, nor do they care about the fact that they have been conquered (assuming they know they have been conquered).  These are the people to focus on and help them become supporters and adopters of the Conqueror’s plans.


The Ambivalent

The Ambivalent comprise the bulk of the staff in the organization and they do not care who is in charge or what changes are being made so long as they are left alone to get their jobs done as before.  They have been jaded by the “reorg of the month” and all of the management fads that have been started and have failed.  They believe that if they keep their heads down and do nothing, a new management strategy will come along to replace the current one and they will be left alone.  They don’t see how the new strategy will improve their lives.  These are the people to focus on and help them become supporters and adopters of the new changes.


Resistors

Resistors are those who actively rebel against the Conqueror, either to return the land to the previous rulers, or because they believe they have a better way to rule the land.  If the Conqueror is wise enough to know that his plans are not perfect and is open and willing to work with the Resistors, either to restore what worked well under the previous rule, or to incorporate new ideas from the Resistors into the overall plan, the Conqueror can potentially turn the Resistors into Adopters or even Collaborators.  However, if the Conqueror is unwilling to listen to the Resistors, or if the Resistors are unwilling to work with the Conqueror, then the Resistors will sabotage the changes and must be hunted down and executed quickly so their actions do not influence others to become Resistors.


Resistors

Resistors are those who actively work against the Change Agent and his programs, either to return to the old strategy/structure, or because they believe they know better how to run the organization.  If the Change Agent is wise enough to know that his strategy is not perfect and is open and willing to work with the Resistors, either to restore what worked well in the organization previously, or to incorporate new ideas from the Resistors into the overall strategy and vision, the Change Agent can potentially turn the Resistors into Adopters or even Collaborators.  However, if the Change Agent is unwilling to listen to the Resistors, or if the Resistors are unwilling to work with the Change Agent, then the Resistors will sabotage the changes and must be identified and terminated quickly so their actions do not influence others to become Resistors.


Anarchists

Anarchists are those who are against changing or not changing in equal measure.  They hated the previous rulers and they hate the Conqueror.  They believe that only they know what is right for the land and will not compromise on their single-minded beliefs and purposes.  Anarchists cannot be turned, and will sabotage the changes at every opportunity.  Anarchists must be hunted down and executed quickly so their actions do not influence others to become Resistors or Anarchists.


Anarchists

Anarchists are those who are against changing or not changing in equal measure.  They hated the previous leaders and they hate the Change Agent.  They believe that only they know what is right for the organization and will not compromise on their single-minded beliefs and purposes.  Anarchists cannot be turned, and will sabotage the strategy and vision at every opportunity.  Anarchists must be identified and terminated quickly so their actions do not influence others to become Resistors or Anarchists.

The information above is from the author’s own observations as a management consultant for 25 years.

About wbspeirjr

Award-winning author William Speir was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1962. His first published work is the 2015 "Muzzle-Loading Artillery for Reenactors." In addition to his artillery manual, William has published 19 novels, including a 9-book action-adventure series ("The Knights of the Saltire Series"), five historical novels ("King’s Ransom," "The Saga of Asbjorn Thorleikson," "Nicaea - The Rise of the Imperial Church," "Arthur, King," and "The Besieged Pharaoh"), one fantasy novel ("The Kingstone of Airmid"), one science fiction novel ("The Olympium of Bacchus 12"), one geo-political thriller ("The Trinity Gambit"), and a stand-alone action-adventure novel ("Shiko Unleashed"). William is a 5-time Royal Palm Literary Award winner: 2014 Second Place Unpublished Historical Fiction for "King’s Ransom," 2015 Second Place Unpublished Historical Fiction for "The Saga of Asbjorn Thorleikson," 2017 Second Place Published Historical Fiction for "Arthur, King," 2017 First Place Published Historical Fiction for "Nicaea - The Rise of the Imperial Church," and 2017 First Place Published Science Fiction for "The Olympium of Bacchus 12." William currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC. For more information about William Speir, please visit his website at WilliamSpeir.com.
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