Monsters and Change Agents

On a train ride the other morning, I found myself thinking of gangster Tony Soprano and his therapist Dr. Melfi.

As OD practitioners, are we ever like Dr. Melfi, approached by monsters that want our help? And if a monster approaches us, how do we decide?

~ Do we take the job because it would be interesting to study a monster?

~ Do we take the job because monsters are as deserving as anyone?

~ Do we take the job because maybe, just maybe, we can change the monster?

Anyone care to join my imaginary excursion?

As a child, I was a big fan of old monster movies like Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and Dracula. Though they scared the pants off me, I was strangely attracted to them. They were tragic in a way. Maybe I was drawn to them because of the monster inside of me?

In my last blog entry, I ended with the thought that change agents can sometimes be monsters, especially in the eyes of those affected by change.

This is a lesson for leaders who are driving change in their organizations: stay grounded, stay humble, stay human.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Oct 20, 2007


annette said…
Oh, what interesting questions you ask..maybe we work with 'monsters' because unconsciously they are split off parts of ourselves and we're trying to 'fix' or accommodate that part of ourselves so that we can go on or, maybe we take them on to prove to ourselves that we're really the good guys, white horse at the ready to save the world?
Terrence Seamon said…
Hi Annette,

I do suspect that we have a fascination with monsters. I know I do. And it probably does come from within.

Also, Astha has picked up this topic at her blog:!BB0155A45B1604C7!1651.entry

Anonymous said…

I'm both a physician, and a leadership/OD guy. And your questions got me thinking about "monsters" in both of these worlds!

In both, I've got to admit that the element of intrigue and the element of wanting to make a difference seem to be at work for me.

As I think about a recent patient with schizophrenia, I also think about a "monster" that sought my services as part of their pre- and post-acquisition "cultural integration" needs. (There's more similarity than you'd think!)

I guess, for me, the factor of "readiness" to change is the most relevant. A significant part of my initial conversations with a client is spent figuring this out. A guy by the name of "Prochaska" developed something called a "Transtheoretical Model" for changing human behavior, specifically in the context of substance abuse I believe. In this model, a client may be at the a stage so early that they aren't even aware that a problem exists ("preconceptual stage"). The work at that point is simply to raise awareness. From there, each successive stage is further along the "readiness to change" spectrum.

In any case, the model comes to mind for me when I look at potential clients. As interesting as these monsters might be for me, if they're not ready to change, I'd rather not push forward. The importance in making a difference seems to be the overriding factor.
Terrence Seamon said…
Hello Manoj,
Welcome to my blog.
As a physician, what do you think of TV's Dr. House? He certainly behaves "monstrously" from time to time, toward his team, toward his bosses, his peers, and even his patients and their families. But it's one of my favorite shows!
Glad you stopped by!
Anonymous said…
Hi Terry-

Great blog.

House is a monster. And we like the show too (though not medically realistic).

I think the reason why we like him just might be related to the reasons why we're attracted to the monsters/change agents among our clients...don't you think?

Michelle said…

Thanks for providing me a link to your blog for Change Monsters.

I believe that now I have categorized these elements of change into roles that are actually bugs.

The monster bug is being called the Dung Beetle whose role is to resist the change efforts and burrow themselves into the current state. They seek aid from other influencers when confronted with obstacles and they are robbers waiting to steal from the organization.

There's more details to emerge as this current issue is being played out.

Change agent lead is actually being categorized by being a Ladybug who is very experienced and useful with organizational change management strategies and making things happen.

Ladybug role will probably be the hero in dealing with the Dung Beetle.

There are other members of the OCM team that are being categorized.

Although this is a real situation that I have had to take a humorous approach in relating to bugs/insects that can turn into MONSTERS.


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