Innovation Influencers and Champions Assessment
In Innovation Commitment - It Takes a Community, I shared three key roles that are both pivotal and complementary to the Change Leader Triathlete's crusade — Change Influencers, Change Champions and Change Implementers. While many community members will step into the implementer's role, only a small group (comparatively speaking) will fulfill influencing and championing responsibilities.
When assessing potential influencer and champion candidates for role fit, I'd highly recommend that triathletes perform their requisite due diligence by comparing and contrasting each candidate to the below fundamental competencies. Why? If your goal is to nimbly move through the innovation change curve at an accelerated pace while circumnavigating the most formidable barriers, you need, without a doubt, the "best of the best" in your corner. If influencers and champions are unable to accurately speak to the innovation work plus move the organization forward in a cohesive, collaborative and decisive manner, you are placing your innovation goals plus your community's well being at risk.
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Assessment Completed - Now What?
Engage influencers and champions whose demonstrated competencies fall within "sufficient" and "exceptional" categories. Selecting members with deficiencies, could stall (best case) or derail (worse case) change advancement and benefit attainment.
Schedule regular check-ins with influencers and champions. Show them that you genuinely care about their work, acknowledge the value that they're delivering and recognize their successes. Ask them probing questions to identify areas in which they need additional support in order to increase their effectiveness as they advance the innovation mission.
Provide influencers and champions with professional development opportunities followed by real life stretch assignments to further build out those competencies where they're "sufficient" vs. "exceptional". Engage these members in professional development and stretch assignment identification discussions so they know that you value their voice and will support their career direction and decisions.
Help Your Influencers and Champions Thrive
Too often organizations inadvertently overlook the extraordinary value that influencers and champions lend to major change initiatives by either: 1) not engaging them to any significant degree; and/or 2) engaging them, but failing to actively partner with them to help them succeed. When triathletes prove that they are ready, willing and able to position the highly competent influencers and champions for success, those fulfilling the roles will deliver undeniable organizational value.