The Trouble with Change
29 Oct

The Trouble with Change

Think of the last big change that you went through at work. Maybe a new system was introduced or there were changes to the structure of the organisation. Perhaps you were either involved and so pretty comfortable with what was happening or didn’t know what was going on until an email arrived.


All too often in any change programme, the focus is on the systems and processes. These are hugely important to the success of any change initiative, however one line on a project plan for ‘communication and training’ does not mean that people have truly been accounted for.


Let’s consider a restructure or organisational design, which most of us will have been affected by somewhere in our careers. How many times do roles change, workflows streamlined or at worst people made redundant with no real thought or upfront plan on how the ways of working will need to be different? Add to this a lack of communication throughout and it’s a race to catch up after the changes are made, to get to a place where people know what’s expected of them and how to meet those expectations.




It’s time to start putting people first. No news isn’t good news during organisational change (or any change for that matter). People want to know what is happening, and that includes even when there isn’t really much to tell them. If there isn’t much that people can be told at that point, tell them that!


The impact of appearing closed and guarded is dangerous. People become distrustful and cynical, opening the door to stress and anxiety. Some will look around for their next role and make the move, leaving those who stay to face even more uncertainty and pressure. Others won’t consider leaving, instead feeling disengaged long after the change has been implemented.


We’re often asked to support clients by helping their people to manage stress or build resilience, more often than not because of recent organisational changes – such as the restructure. This is always a great sign that they want to provide support, but it can be perceived as an afterthought once the horse has bolted. Provide people with the communication, opportunity to collaborate and above all, the skills or mindset development that they need before and during the changes, not just afterwards.


Leaders: you all need to step up and help people to get to the ‘why’ behind the change, not just the ‘what’. Seek views, get input and involve people during the process. You’re called a ‘leader’ for a reason, and people will look to you through turbulent times. Positivity, resilience and adaptability will not go unnoticed.


The next big change you’re involved in, ask yourself: “What about our people, how will this impact them?” If you’re not controlling any part of the change, it’s easy to feel like things are being put upon us, yet it’s still in our control to speak up, offer to get involved or find out more about what is going on.



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How to Successfully Manage Change
15 Jun

How to Successfully Manage Change

Two things are certain in life: death and taxes. Another to add is constant change in the workplace, which has now become the new normal.


It’s fair to say that, in one way or another, we are constantly supporting our clients to help their businesses and their people through times of significant change.


Change comes in many shapes and guises; whether it’s downsizing, finding new ways of working, shrinking budgetary demands or a desire for increased effectiveness. It seems that we only manage to bring ourselves over that sometimes illusive hill of the change curve before *SMACK* another comes to throw us off kilter.

The startling truth is that 70% of all change initiatives fail to achieve the targeted impact, often driven by a sub-standard approach by leadership and management, unsurprisingly resulting in overwhelmingly negative employee attitude.


Change isn’t going to stop, and we all have a personal responsibility for how we manage ourselves, support others and make any organisational change a success.


Managing Ourselves

  • Is your glass half full or half empty? If you fear or dislike change for whatever reasons, you may respond negatively to each and every change that comes along. This is unhealthy for both you and those around you (especially if you are a people manager with this outlook!).
  • Learn to view each change with an open mind. It’s human nature for any change to make us ask the WIIFM question (“what’s in it for me?”), but rather than focus on the potential negatives, look for the opportunities that exist for you, your people and / or the organisation as a whole.
  • Challenge, but do it constructively. There’s nothing more demotivating than the death-knell of the “We used to do it like that 15 years ago and it didn’t work then.” Sure, that may well be the case, but use this experience to suggest alternative approaches to refine the change rather than find reasons why it’s doomed to fail in the first place.


Supporting Others

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Even if you have nothing or very little to tell people – in reality, no news is rarely good news and if you do nothing, people will form their own conclusions based on the limited information they have.
  • Use a variety of methods. Whether it’s face-to-face, briefings, bulletins, newsletters, Intranet, team meetings…put the information out there in a number of ways so that people can find and digest what they need when they want and need to.
  • Honesty is the best policy. Even if you are unable to discuss certain things, say as much rather than avoiding people’s concerns and worries. Aim to win people over to make them champions of your change and allies, not foes.


Making Organisational Change a Success

  • Last but never least, follow a structure to plan, implement and evaluate the change. There are a myriad of options and whatever structure you choose should be tailored and regularly reviewed to ensure there is room for flexibility.


Get in touch to find out how our approach to learning and development can help you to successfully manage change in your organisation or click here to join our private Facebook group for support with your personal and professional development.



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