I like poodles, I have one, my neighbor has one and my daughter has one. All three are different sizes and have different temperaments. For non-poodle-aholics, poodles come in a variety of sizes ranging from teacup to standard (and the mythical royal) but as a breed all are highly inquisitive and intelligent. When they figure out how to open a drawer those last two traits are somewhat of pain. When all three get together they quickly become a pack. However, unlike in the school yard, the biggest dog isn’t the “top dog” but one of the dogs always becomes the leader. When they start doing things that we don’t want them to do the only way to change the packs behavior is to influence the leader. In order to influence the leader we need to know who the leader of the pack.
Organizational change requires gathering similar knowledge. The problem is that the organization chart may or may not reflect the true thought leaders and influencers. Knowledge of who leads the organizational pack is critical to helping the organization to make lasting change. Before leading any change spend the time needed to build an influence map and recruit the thought leaders and influencers needed to ensure that success won’t be left to chance.