Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

Tips to Becoming an Effective TTO Change Agent

Managing change within any organization is increasingly more challenging each year. Stakeholder expectations are increasing. Cycle time expectations are collapsing for all institutional processes and transactions. Geographic boundaries are collapsing as a result of globalization. Institutional organizational strategies are increasingly dynamic. Every element of an enterprise is becoming more complex. Competition is becoming more intense each quarter in every commercial sector. And our physical world is transforming into a virtual digital workplace with greater connectivity.

Effective change leadership is one of the most challenging and rewarding opportunities for leaders. How do tech transfer office (TTO) directors effectively lead their organization through changes in the institution’s leadership, reorganizations, institutional economic challenges or legal disputes? How can you become a champion and lead your organization in the pursuit of objectives to align with a new set of imperatives from your institution or immediate management?

I recommend five critical imperatives to position a TTO director as an effective change leader:

  1. Maintain a firm grasp of the current realities, challenges, and opportunities throughout the organization with proactive feedback loops and effective organizational controls.
  2. Ensure that the appropriate energy, priority and focus are maintained on the change initiative until the desired results have been accomplished.
  3. Assemble the right skills and talent on the change team to ensure that your team will meet its overall goals.
  4. Set high expectations and continuously strive to over-communicate.
  5. Establish the foundation to prepare your team to succeed with effective execution of your plan.

One of your most essential responsibilities as a leader is to maintain the appropriate focus on your change initiatives to ensure that your team is successful in achieving your goals. It is so easy and all too tempting to become distracted by the next issue to hit your desk, but effective leaders persevere to institutionalize the desired change.

What are your lessons learned, challenges and victories from guiding a change initiative within your institution?

–By Jack Spain