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IDEAS FOR LEADERS: Six Roles of Organization Champions

by Jerry Tarasofsky September 21, 2010

An original post from Max Garfinkle

Organization champions create champion organizations.

Employees and managers who are dedicated to the continuous improvement and renewal of their organization move that organization to the top of its class. These champions would be collectively striving to implement a responsive business strategy for sustained competitive advantage. They would ensure optimal utilization of information technology, outstanding service to customers, and successful organization renewal.

There are six cumulative roles of organization champions. Each role requires the development of a range of competencies. The role serves as the core of a personalized learning program for each champion. Every champion should be aspiring to develop competence in the champion roles in which they are less capable or experienced.

The learning culture of the organization should support the continuous education of these champions. The company that strives to be the best, way ahead of its competition needs to develop a cadre of such champions at all levels of the organization. The development of champions becomes a source of competitive advantage that is difficult to replicate.

The six roles are: Problem Solver, Innovator, Coach, Team Builder, Change Master and Social Architect.


Every employee in the company should be a problem-solver.

A problem-solver reflects upon his/her performance. There are four stages of working smarter. Problem recognition merges into analysis and then into taking corrective action to yield the best possible outcome. The fourth stage is problem prevention wherein the performer takes personal responsibility for maintaining the operating system at its optimal level.


Every problem-solver should aspire to be an innovator.

Innovators take responsibility for introducing something new to improve the system. Their focus is on invention in addition to optimal utilization. They seek practical applications for their creative ideas. They look at what could be in addition to what is and what ought to be. They provide the agility and flexibility required to keep pace with change.


Every performer can use a good coach. Every manager and team leader should be a performance coach.

Coaches enable performers to continuously increase their effectiveness. Coaching is a process of communication within the context of learning while doing. It involves sensitive listening, insightful questioning, challenging task-setting and frank feedback. The coach increases the motivation and competence of the performer while helping avoid underachievement or misdirection of talent.


Every manager should be a team-builder.

A team-builder turns a group of people working or meeting together into a cohesive unit focused on achieving high-performance goals that have been agreed upon by the team.

During team meetings the team-builder acts as a facilitator, paying attention both to task progress and member relationships. An effective team can be recognized when the members feel accountable to their team for their own particular efforts and results.


Every manager of managers should be a change master.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter coined the term ‘change master’ in her groundbreaking book of that name to describe managers in innovative companies who were catalysts in implementing organization improvements and renewal. These change agents create a unity of purpose, establish realistic steps toward progress, and maintain momentum for change. They introduce new systems, procedures and technology to create more favorable performance conditions. They work toward sustained development of capabilities rather than for quick fixes.


Every senior manager should be a social architect.

Social architects are the grand masters of organizational transformation. Their focus is on second order changes that renew the total organization, not simply on small-scale improvements within a particular system. They strive for sustained competitive advantage via the comprehensive integration of a responsive strategy, optimal utilization of information technology and continuous organization renewal. They initiate a continuous organization evaluation process that uses stakeholder feedback for renewal purposes.


These six roles of champions of organizations are built around skills that are cumulative. Coaches should be innovators and problem-solvers. Team-builders should be good coaches. Change masters should draw on their competencies in problem solving, innovating, coaching and team building. Social architects should be able to step into any of the other roles as the need arises.

IDEAS FOR LEADERS is a collaborative Blog providing ideas from experienced leaders to improve organizations.