Change Makers and Company Transformation

Many traditional corporate organisations are struggling to adapt to the demands of the new world rapidly changing around them. They are clinging to the same ideas, talent management models, and ways of working with leaders who are either oblivious to the current mindset or too frightened to instigate change.

Research by the GC Index indicates that there are individuals who have the potential to initiate change and drive transformation, but they are rarely able to make their mark in the corporate world. They are often viewed as disruptive, since they challenge the status quo. Exactly what is required for change? Within the GC Index, these individuals are called Game Changers.

Game-changing is different than innovation.

Innovators build on what has been done before -- for example, the pursuit of excellence through continuous improvement and incremental change. It’s Game Changers who can trigger and drive transformational change; however, the reality is that many organisations are driving their vision through the need for innovation. Often this is delivered in quite a controlled way, by investing in innovation hubs, labs, processes, and programmes.

Game Changers have the potential to really motivate and inspire others, while displaying an incredible work ethic and dedication, but only when others understand them and what they can contribute. To thrive they need to be set free in a culture where it is “safe to fail.” Where leaders value game-changing ideas rather than innovation.

Unless understood, there are five ways that Change Makers can be seen to be disruptive in organisations.

1) Game Changers are driven by Hierarchy and Stifled by Rules

The stronger the Game Changer inclination, the more they will feel constrained by arbitrary rules and only conform to rules that make sense to them. Since Game Changers are not bothered about status or climbing the corporate ladder, it can be challenging for leaders to retain them within the traditional organisational structures.

2) Game Changers Alienate People

Naturally obsessive Change Makers are often seen by others as being difficult. Tenacious and persistent, they are repeatedly challenging how things are done and seeking for ways to transform the future.

3) Game Changers See Things Differently

Game Changers are unafraid of failure because they seem to have an inherent belief in their ability to survive. They take on projects that others would view as risky, since their level of risk assessment is very different from many organisational norms. As a result they are often described as disruptive, yet ironically, they are the very people who can instigate change.

4) Game Changers Are Obsessive

When a Game Changer decides to do something, they do not give up on it. This obsessive compulsion can frustrate colleagues, especially when others feel they are driving through change just for the sake of it. For organisations to leverage the strength of Game Changers, they need to allow them a platform to share their ideas and then the freedom to fail. Only through failure will success ultimately ensue.

5) Game Changers See Round Corners

Game Changers always ask “why not” and are prepared to challenge the status quo. They don’t use the past to predict the future, but rather think laterally and very creatively. They don’t necessarily value the tried and tested, but rather seek out solutions that others would instantly believe not possible. Leaders need to be clear about the Game Changer's talents and leverage these to best effect.

The GC Index research helps explain the irony that exists for Game Changers, as they often find it difficult to survive and thrive in traditional “controlling” corporate structures that don’t value creativity, and so the very organisations that they could help struggle to retain them or realise their full potential.

As one Game Changer noted:

“I lost heart and felt claustrophobic. . . . there was too much red tape, too many barriers and too many people ready to dismiss my ideas without listening to them.”

So if you’re a leader, I urge you to reflect on who the Game Changers are in your team. What can you do to support their success, and ultimately, that of the organisation?