Glossary

This glossary provides definitions and context to frequently-used terms within the Conner Academy essays and blog posts. On the first reference within each post, we link to the relevant definition.

 

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A

Adequate:

A change professional who is perceived to be providing acceptable value and who can be relied on to get the basic job done on tactical assignments.

Asleep:

Many practitioners who are capable of high impact performance or who are on the cusp of and desire to make the leap in that direction are not appreciated for the core of who they are. When this happens, they sometimes “go to sleep” rather than experience the alienation and distress associated with not being valued for who they are. They anesthetize themselves without realizing it to avoid the pain and learn to function on autopilot… engaging their assigned duties, but absent any awareness of the fulfillment that is missing.

Attributes:

Six descriptors that collectively serve as the criteria for High Impact Practitioners:

  • Having spent an extended period of time working in an area of specialization
  • Having exceptional knowledge and skill relevant to their specialty
  • Having a demonstrated track record of delivering on assigned responsibilities
  • Being aware of and attentive to the broader organizational context outside their area of specialty
  • Providing unique perspectives to critical situations that surface valuable insights
  • Boldly bringing viewpoints/ideas/recommendations forward, at times even in the absence of support for doing so

C

Change Practitioners:

Change practitioners apply one or more methodologies or disciplines to affect change in others. Throughout the RYG Blog, we interchangeably use several terms to describe those tasked with facilitating change (typically representing change management, project management, organizational design, IT, HR, leadership development, strategic planning, business relationship management, etc.). Whether serving as internal specialists or external consultants, we include the following titles in our definition of change practitioner.

  • Change agent
  • Change professionals
  • Change facilitator
  • Business relationship management

Character:

The core of a practitioner’s true nature…the substance of what he/she has to offer as a human being…what is left after all the illusions, evasions, and elaborations are stripped away is pivotal to a change practitioner’s effectiveness.

Clients:

The term used for the recipients of a change professional’s efforts. Regardless of what discipline a practitioner represents (change management, project management, organizational design, IT, HR, leadership development, strategic planning, etc.) or whether he/she operates as internal employee or external consultant, the work being performed is in service to clients.

Courage:

Courage has two aspects.

  • Acknowledging to oneself and others the resources and tough decisions that are required
  • Taking the appropriate actions despite the fears, obstacles, uncertainties, and adversity one encounters

D

Discipline:

To live up to the standards of what must be done each and every time they are called for (no timeouts/no substitutions).

H

High Impact Practitioner:

A change professional who is perceived to be delivering implementation assistance to strategically important endeavors and has proven to be invaluable in reaching full realization. (See also “Trusted Advisor.”)

I

Inept:

A change professional who is perceived to be demonstrating little value and is be avoided at all cost.

Invaluable:

A change practitioner who’s advice is not easily disregarded or replaced; opinions are respected and sought after— one of two descriptors for high impact practitioners…other one is “strategic”.

L

Life Within, The:

A metaphor based on a sculpture by Italian artist Giusseppe Penone that capture the intricacies and entanglements of how our character forms and then becomes covered over.

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M

Mastery:

High impact practitioners are a small percentage of those in the change profession who are not only exceptionally knowledgeable and skilled in “what they do”, they are grounded in how to authentically bring forward “who they are” to generate strategic and invaluable insights for their clients. This level of practicing the craft requires an on-going vigilance for ever-deepening aspects of how one’s charter and presence can be leveraged to support clients fully realizing their intended outcomes.

P

Practitioners:

Professional change facilitators who may be perceived as “inept”, “adequate” or “high impact”.

Presence:

How a practitioner projects his/herself to clients…the “voice” of character that serves as its interface with the world. It will either enhance or diminish the concepts and techniques practitioners use but, one way or another, it is always a factor in your effectiveness.

Provocateur:

A role change practitioners sometimes engage when encouraging clients to openly address and effectively resolve sensitive political and emotional dynamics that they are reluctant to discuss, but which are vital to attend to in order to reach full realization of their changer initiatives.

S

Sapling and Trunk Metaphor:

Based on “The Life Within”, in this metaphor the sapling represents the practitioner’s character, who he/she is when not trying to meet the expectations of others. Within the trunk that grows around it, the sapling helps to maintain the tree’s inner nature throughout its life. The trunk represents the protection mechanism the practitioner builds to surround and protect the core of who they really are…their character. The sapling is enveloped by a trunk that year after year adds rings of hardwood to safeguard the tree’s true nature; this represents the practitioner’s presence.

Sixty-Five Percenters:

This term is used interchangeably with “Adequate”— it reflects the number of change professionals perceived to be providing acceptable value and who can be relied on to get the basic job done on tactical assignments. The actual percentage is arguable because I have no hard evidence to support the estimation. That said, after more than four decades of training practitioners and listening to executives comment on the value they receive, I believe it is notionally correct.

Sleep:

Losing conscious recognition of something that you were once attentive to. As we are using the term here, we fall asleep from a height of awareness. Many practitioners “go to sleep” rather than experience the alienation and distress associated with not being valued for who they are. They anesthetize themselves without realizing it to avoid the pain and learn to function on autopilot… engaging their assigned duties, but absent any awareness of the fulfillment that is missing.

Sovereignty:

We normally think of the word “sovereignty” as applying to states or nations, but the concept can just as easily apply to people and, in particular, professional change agents. Whether we are discussing nations or an individual, the basic ingredient for sovereignty is independence—the capacity to operate primarily under one’s own authority. High impact practitioners demonstrate both deep expertise and a strong sense of autonomy. See also theSovereignty Series.”

Strategic:

A change practitioner who is considered dependable when the stakes are high and is seen as vital to critically important initiatives—one of two descriptors for high impact practitioners…other one is “invaluable”.

T

Ten Percenters:

This term is used interchangeably with “high impact practitioners”— it reflects the number of change professionals considered to be both strategic and invaluable by their clients. The actual percentage is arguable because I have no hard evidence to support the estimation. That said, after more than four decades of training practitioners and listening to executives comment on the value they receive, I believe it is notionally correct.

Trusted Advisor:

To be related as a Trusted Advisor, it is necessary but not sufficient to be adept with the concepts, tools and techniques of your trade. Being a highly influential trusted advisor to senior executives means you must also demonstrate a talent for a more refined level of capability, functioning as a strategic partner to leadership rather than as a tactical vendor. You quickly establish trust with executives who may be typically leery of internal or external change practitioners; get to the heart of the real issues quickly and effectively; and engage in sophisticated interpersonal communications and relationship building.

Twenty-Five Percenters:

This term is used interchangeably with “Inept”— it reflects the number of change professionals who are perceived to be demonstrating little value and are to be avoided at all cost. The actual percentage is arguable because I have no hard evidence to support the estimation. That said, after more than four decades of training practitioners and listening to executives comment on the value they receive, I believe it is notionally correct.

U

Unconscious Competence:

Having a degree of change management capability, but being unaware of the underlying basis contributing to success. Practitioners who rely on unconscious competence are typically inconsistent in achieving results and have difficulty passing their knowledge and skills to others.

V

Victimization:

When a person feels trapped in negative circumstances with no option but to endure.

W

Waking up:

Practitioners fall asleep when they forget they have a unique center worthy of expression. They wake up every time they remind themselves of the value they have to offer when authentically bringing forward “who they are.” Being awake means being mindful of:

  • How much he/she has to offer clients simply by injecting character and presence into the mix.
  • How wasteful it is to not leverage the true value he/she represents.
  • How painful it is to live an inauthentic life.

What We Do:

This includes concepts, frameworks, processes, and techniques change practitioners use when supporting clients.

Who You Are:

A practitioner’s true nature…the substance of what he/she has offer as a human being.

Just as importantly, during their combined 80+ years of service, Daryl and Ed have trained and coached hundreds of senior practitioners to be more impactful. They have worked with thousands of internal specialists and external consultants in the art and science of facilitating enterprise-wide transformation. These experiences have led to a deep understanding of the patterns of human behavior and mindsets that underlie all change and what it takes to foster the process. The lessons that Daryl and Ed have learned, through their own experiences and their observations of others along the way, are at the heart of the curriculum they offer at Conner Academy.

Spring Cohort 2022 - Australia: (Currently in Progress) April 22, 2022 - August 19, 2022


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Essays on the Mastery Path

The field of change management is ever-evolving; we continue to learn more about the human response to change every day. At Conner Academy, we support practitioners who are on a mastery path. These essays offer guidance on that journey.

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