Change Management and the SDI 2.0

Change Management and the SDI 2.0

Change Management and the SDI 2.0

Leading people through change requires the ability to plan, and plan well. However, no change management will work effectively unless you win the hearts and minds of your people. This is where using the Strength Deployment Inventory (now known as the SDI 2.0) can help.

Whether the change is big or small, organisational or maybe something in our personal life it needs a combination of direction (where the change is taking us) and support (how do I make the change). The key is not doing change to people – instead it’s about doing change with people. Effective change management is also about how the change is presented and involving people when and how you can. Nobody likes having change done to them. Instead people like to have their say.

So where does the SDI 2.0 come in?

The Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI 2.0) is not new. It’s a well-researched personality profiling tool that has been with us in its various iterations for approaching 50 years. However, what is new is the online support that is now available to enable people to share and compare their SDI profiles online, via both desktop and mobile app. Top tips are available on how to communicate online, in meetings and face-to-face when both the relationship is going well and is in conflict.

You can begin to see why the SDI 2.0 is in such demand and is our most popular personality profile tool.

Tell me more about the SDI 2.0

The SDI 2.0 enables people to discover their motivational values and how this drives their behaviour. Motivational values are not always visible when, of course, behaviours are. This can often lead to misinterpretation, as intentions are not always obvious. In a change management situation, it is easy to see how this can lead to misunderstanding and confusion.

The SDI 2.0 identifies three motivational values:

  • People
  • Performance
  • Process

Of course, everyone has degrees of each of these motivations but the SDI 2.0 identifies our individual priorities. The SDI 2.0 uses colours as a way to identify these as follows:

  • People – Blue
  • Performance – Red
  • Process – Green

Where people share two motivational values then they are shown as:

  • People and Performance – Blue/Red or Red/Blue
  • Performance and Process – Red/Green or Green/Red
  • Process and People – Green/Blue or Blue/Green

When people have equal motivations in respect of People, Performance and Process they are shown as Hub.

Please visit here for more information about the SDI 2.0.

The SDI 2.0 our highlights strengths and overdone strengths at work, holding up a mirror to how our behaviour can change when we are in a work environment. Strengths and overdone strengths indicate how we can fall into habits of using our favourite ways of influencing instead of adapting our styles to what can be better used.

The SDI 2.0 identifies how our behaviour can change when we come under threat – in SDI language it provides our conflict sequence. In summary our behaviour changes as we pass through three changes of conflict:

  • Stage 1 – when we want to preserve the relationship with the other person, solve the issue and look after our own wellbeing.
  • Stage 2 – when the relationship is no longer of value and we concentrate on solving the issue and safeguard our own wellbeing.
  • Stage 3 – when neither the relationship nor the issue is important anymore as we just want to return to feeling good about ourselves – it’s all about self-preservation.

Using the SDI 2.0 in change management

Undisclosed and misunderstood intentions, mismatched communication styles and conflict at work – these are all familiar themes that can be associated with situations when change management goes wrong. This is why using the SDI 2.0 in change management situations is so powerful. 

Here are our top tips to lead and manage change through the SDI lens:

1. Take time to understand your own motivational values and how these drive your behaviours when things are going well for you and when they are not.

For example, how does your motivational system impact on how you view change?:

  • Do you see change through the blue lens as helping people. Perhaps you will be motivated to see how the change will impact people as your primary concern.
  • Or maybe as a green your key motivation will be to ensure that the change has been properly thought through, that correct analysis has been made and/or that the process of implementing change has been designed.
  • Or perhaps looking through the red lens you are anxious to get things done, to move towards results and that speed is essential to make the change happen.
  • Or it could be that when perceiving change through the hub lens you will want to ensure that all options are considered that consensus is reached and that group harmony is maintained.

Of course, this is how we view change ourselves. Others will view change through their own SDI 2.0 lens too. This is why sharing and comparing our views is a key element of effectively leading and managing change.

2. Understand your conflict triggers and how your behaviour can change when you are challenged.

Learn to manage your conflict sequence so you avoid pouring petrol on the fire.

  • Some teams shy away from conflict because they do not know to manage it effectively. Other teams don’t value how conflict is necessary to generate ideas and develop new angles. Whether visible or lying under the surface, conflict is likely to be present – especially when and where change is taking place. Then it needs to be managed.
  • Understanding what triggers conflict for you is extremely helpful. Once you are aware of what your triggers are you can then learn how to manage them. Dealing with conflict at Stage 1 (as described above) is the most effective way to ensure that relationships stay intact.
  • For example, people with a strong focus on performance (red) may become frustrated with others who may have a stronger people focus (blue) or people who value analysis over speed (green). Learn to understand where others are coming from by having empathy with how their motivational values shape and influence their view of the world. 

3. Be aware of your strengths at work and use these to good effect.

However, be aware that you have many other strengths that are available, so relying on your favourites may not always be effective.

When at work we often adapt our behaviour to get things done. The SDI 2.0 helps you identify your strengths that you use at work, including those you may use more frequently than others. Your SDI profile offers 28 strengths you can use and considering how best to deploy these in change management situations.

  • For example, there may be certain situations when managing change that red strengths which may not come naturally, such as risk taking and being persuasive, could be more effective than using favoured green strengths, such as being methodical or reserved, or blue strengths, such as being modest or supportive. This is very much about situational leadership.

4. Be mindful of your overdone strengths at work.

So often we can think we are helping by acting in a certain (and often favourite) way, that is not appreciated by the other person or people.

  • For example, a manager who favours risk taking may be perceived as being reckless by others – especially those with a green SDI profile. Another manager may over-use a blue strength such as being so supportive they are seen by others as being self-sacrificing. Another manager may over-use the green strength of being so principled they are viewed by others as being unbending. A manager may over-use the Hub strength of being too option-orientated which means they can be looked upon as being indecisive.


Leading and managing change is a complex process. The key of leading and managing change effectively is about doing change with people rather than doing change to them. Personalities and team dynamics play an important role in this. This is why by understanding ourselves we can understand others which is so useful at work and beyond.

The SDI 2.0 offers fabulous insights and supports not only change management but also many other activities such as team building, leadership styles, customer service and sales.

Paul Beesley

Director and senior consultant, Beyond Theory 

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