Meta Karagianni, VP, Research Director and Peter Ostrow, VP, Research Director

Show Notes:

Leaders and employees are expected to initiate change, especially at a time when change has become the norm. Yet for many, introducing new ideas and gaining buy-in is easier said than done. On this week’s What It Means episode, Peter Ostrow and Meta Karagianni, both VPs and research directors at Forrester, explain the role of the change catalyst in influencing change and provide tips for winning support for new ideas.

Ostrow starts by defining the term “change catalyst” and explains that most people fall into one of three change personas. Change leaders set the vision and guide change at a high level, while change managers handle the details involved in implementation. But it’s change catalysts who propose the new ideas that become the basis for change. Anyone, no matter where they sit on the org chart, can be a change catalyst, he and Karagianni say.

“One of the truisms we wanted to dismantle … was that in order to drive change, you have to have the power and the authority; you have to control the teams, the budget,” Karagianni says. “To a degree, that’s true. But irrespective of authority and seniority … you can instigate change in the organization.”

The magnitude of change need not be sweeping. Ostrow cites the example of hour-long meetings being cut to 50 minutes at some companies, a fairly small modification of unknown origin that has benefited countless employees in back-to-back meetings. Good ideas will gain traction, he says — but they need support and sponsorship. He and Karagianni share concrete tips gained through their research on how to win buy-in from others, starting with helping people visualize the end result — for instance, how a change in process will benefit customers or employees.

The analysts also give advice for overcoming self-doubt when proposing new ideas and discuss the role that company leadership plays in encouraging new ideas and helping them flourish. Listen to the full episode for more insights. If you’d like to hear even more, check out Forrester’s B2B Summit EMEA event October 11–12, where Karagianni and Ostrow will give a keynote session titled “Loosening The Status Quo And Overcoming Inertia: Become An Effective Change Catalyst.” Learn more.