Rudolf the “Read-Knows” Changer
By: Dr. Adam Stoehr
Once upon a time there was a City employee named Karen Rudolf. Karen worked in the City Manager’s office as an Organizational Development Consultant. Everyone commonly referred to her using her surname. Rudolf was very well read, and if you ever saw her you would even say she knows.
The organizational culture at the City was a tough one to navigate. Cliques would form and once they did, making progress and achieving goals was quite a challenge. Behind Rudolf’s back, all of the other City workers used to talk and play political games. They saw Rudolf as an outsider whose nose was always buried in a book. They never let poor Rudolf join in on their lunch time gossips and blames.
Then one foggy afternoon (when the Mayor of the City was wrestling with his latest media scandal), the City Manager came to say, “Rudolf with your “Knows” so bright, won’t you guide our way to light?” The luminosity of her knowledge was so great that it illuminated the team's path through fog towards the achievement of the City’s long term goals.
So Rudolf put her “read-knows” to good use. As a pilot project, she engaged with employees of a single department within the City in a change and transition strategy. She realized that change was relatively easy and that the transition was the difficult part. Change was generally external and situational. Transition was internal and the process that people go through to come to terms with the new situation.
Rudolf needed to help the organization move through the phases of transition. Her actions dealt with ending the current situation and building a new beginning for people. Some key questions that helped the group move forward were meant to specifically identify “what was ending” and then describe in clear detail “what was the new beginning”. A helpful exercise for the group was to brainstorm the behaviours that were required to support the new changes.
The transition strategy was a huge success. The culture had improved significantly within the pilot department and was having an impact on other departments around the City. The City Manager was excited about all the progress. He started referring to Rudolf in meetings as the Changer.
Now all the City workers loved her, they were blind but now they see.
Rudolf the “Read Knows” changer, she’ll go down in history!
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