What does it take to be the Catalyst for Change in a business?

by | Aug 9, 2021

It’s a question that I’m often asked. And, it’s an important one. Why? Well, it’s a commonly held belief that the three key components to any successful and sustained business growth are Culture, the Catalyst and the Capability to do so. Where any of these components are not optimised, it’s almost impossible to shift an organisation at all.

In business, an effective Catalyst is something that means you need less energy to change or change direction. Most energy is expelled trying to begin the shift and to change the trajectory of where we’re going. So, if we can be the catalyst in our organisation, we can try to use less energy to create that shift.

Here’s the thing. Catalysing change requires us to get out of our comfort zone and is often uncomfortable.This is because the ‘real magic’ happens just outside of our comfort zone. To be an effective Catalyst, we need the capability to go where we’ve not been before and to think in new ways.

Alvin Toffler, author of ‘The Third Wave’, talks about the illiterate of the 21st Century being those that cannot learn, unlearn and relearn. Being willing to shift our thinking enables us to create the future we seek. How we get ourselves here can be determined by the path we choose: self-led learning or engaging with those who can teach us the tools we need.

What’s A Catalyst Mindset?

Effective Catalysts are often multifaceted in their determination and their abilities. They are fundamentally able to connect with a vision of how the future might be. Some might individually drive things forward whilst others might have the ability to bring a group of people along with them.The most powerful are the ones that can do both!

Being driven, determined, having real clarity and being considered are also strong Catalyst traits. When it comes to being considered, I often relate to the concept of Systems Thinking. You’re always part of a wider system. Everything is interconnected. Thinking this way means we can always consider what the leverage points within that system are and how we can have the most influence.

Are you the Catalyst? Can you be?

Let me reassure you here. Everyone has the capacity to change who they are, it’s my true belief. Understand that personality isn’t permanent. Adopting the characteristics of a good catalyst leader is perfectly achievable. It’s about recognising who you are now and where you need to evolve as a leader.

Look at who you are. Look at how you operate.

As leaders, we often find our most used or strongest skill is our most overused skill. Starting to reflect on when is a good time to use these skills and traits and when we need to apply some different tools is an essential part of evolving as an effective Catalyst. What would have happened in the past if we had employed the polar opposite traits? Would that have supported a better outcome?

New skills can be learnt depending on what our current skill set is versus what our needs are. Being willing to acknowledge that the person that got us to where we are might not be the person that will get the business to where you want it to go is important. In the film RocketMan, one of the roadies says, ‘You’ve got to kill the person you were going to be to become the person you want to be’. This really resonates with me (as I’ve had to do this a number of times in my journey!).

Becoming the Catalyst is key to driving successful business growth. Are you that person? What journey do you need to go on to become who you need to be? What will that journey look like?

If you are ready to begin the path of the Catalyst, then please get in touch. I’d love to help you on the next stage of your journey.


If you haven’t already, check out my Case Study for Business leaders @ https://go.jamespotten.com/