Category Archives: Change Management

Difficult decisions & Times of Change

It’s often said that you don’t show your true colours as a leader until you are forced  to make a tough decision. I do believe in this, and that the very essence of leadership is about showing true grit in times of uncertainty and when emotions can get in the way. I tend to think it’s easy when things are going well. As a manager and leader of people, it’s never easy to give the news of budget cuts or even harder to let roles and people go – which is happening a lot these days with the uncertainty of global economic markets. To some, people you work with are literally family, spending over 40 hours a week together. And when you have to be the bearer of bad news it’s never easy. So you appreciate the emotion that can affect people. But  how, as a leader, do you pick up the pieces and ensure the rest of your team continues to push ahead with your vision in the face of challenging times?

As a leader you can’t hide behind your decisions. When things change and people depart, there’s always a sense of uncertainty, emotion, shock and confusion. Give people peace of mind and be honest about the what and the why. I think that as a leader a core skill is to be authentic and genuine. Show that as much as you’re a manager and a leader, at the end of the day, you are human. To me that’s when you gain the respect of your peers and your team. As much as it can be daunting, building that “leadership mettle” is a critical step to advancing ones’ career. I can guarantee that in any career, there will always be ups and downs. Enjoy the ups, but make use of the downs. They can be invaluable.

You’ve really got to put things in perspective. Is life fair? No. Of course not. But we’re all dealt the hand we’re given and we have to push on.


Dealing with Change

In the Corporate Environment, the movement of people between jobs is all too common. Whereas 30-40 years ago, our parents essentially stayed with the one employer for their whole working career, the Gen X’s and Gen Y’s of the world only last 2-3 years before moving on to their next challenge.

What this means for the future (and now for that matter) is that change is inevitable. Just think, the average lifespan of a CEO is like 3 years?

Change management is a fascinating area. To me, it’s very much a psychological way of thinking. When a new CEO is announced, how do people think/feel/react? I’ll bet a lot of people immediately think about job security. Is the new boss going to be happy with me? Am I being productive? What happens when he/she starts? Will I get the sack? No doubt there will be a lot of change that happens – whether that is with people, structures or processes.

There’s a lot of theories out there about Change Management – a popularised one is the ADKAR model by Jeffrey Hiatt. It’s a simple one based on the acronym:

Awareness – Why are we changing?
Desire – Do you want to come along for the ride and move with the change?
Knowledge – Do you know how to change?
Ability – Do you have the ability to change?
Reinforcement – Can you retain the change?

When change does happen, it’s useful to apply this model to understand why some people have trouble with change management. As leaders, it’s an important tool to understand why some people can and some people can’t change. People are usually resistant to change because it breaks them out of a pattern, whilst others embrace it with open arms b/c of the opportunities it presents. The ADKAR model is a good tool to understand why.