today’s #ChangeChat is with Rita Meyerson. We talk change leadership, change consulting and doctoral studies!
How did Rita get into change work?
A lot of study!
Started with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture)
What does a typical day look like?
No typical routine, large tolerance for change and ambiguity.
Client work, mid-career doctoral candidate – ABD (All But Dissertation), mother to 11 year old boy, yogi.
Motivation for the doctoral studies?
A client engagement (and their leaders) prompted Rita to complete the studies as a doctoral program. George Washington University provided a program that was flexible with family obligations and also the topic of culture and leadership in change. Rita’s dissertation focuses on organisational identity during M&As – how does the new culture emerges.
How does Rita manage the tension of academic v practitioner as a “pracademic”?
George Washington program is a scholar practitioner program.
The empirical research helps Rita lead with the practitioner focus and the work with clients. It provides rigour and confidence to customisation with clients.
It’s an art and a science – in order to be effective, you need to understand the human components. I wouldn’t be able to understand the nuances without the doctoral work.
Advice to those who want to do a doctoral degree?
You need to look at where you are in life, what purpose would it do for you?
Practical experience is necessary – you need to have been in the trenches, you can’t do it well straight out of undergrad.
It is a huge time commitment – it is a full time job, on top of the regular job to pay the bills, and you need to juggle with family and personal life.
You need to be maniacal with your time – in how it all fits in.
Supportive professors help too!
For the leaders of change – what’s the highlight of what they need to be thinking of?
If you are responsible for leading change you really need to understand stakeholder management. You need to have the right people on your team. Remove people who are not on the change mission with you.
Larger companies who have leadership programs that work on themselves (eg EQ) they are more adept at change leadership.
Context of the organisation, maturity of the business cycle and succession planning all tend to have an influence on the ability to lead change well.
Future of Rita Meyerson post EdD
Be an adjunct business professor – influence the change curriculum
Policy change – family friendly work policies at government and industry level
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