Tag: Change Management Planning and Execution

With the Christmas period approaching and the impending ‘shutdown’ upon us; many leaders are grappling with the thought of letting go, winding down and ultimately checking out. At Change2020 we too are often enslaved to our digital technologies but are very supportive of #digitaldetox and the overwhelming health benefits that this provides leaders and employees. In a recent article published in “The Conversation” it is a growing trend that people are seeking “digital free” holiday destinations in remote areas to force their hand and put down devices.  So aside from a trip to a glacier on Alaska’s icy shores, with the knowledge of so many different mediums to use for contact-WhatsApp, Instagram and even Facebook- the question is “How does one embark on a “digital free” summer?

Here are 3 quick tips to help you go “dark” this festive season:

  1. Plan to Unplug

In our world of smartphones and WIFI, work can still find you, even in the middle of Christmas lunch with the in-laws. Modern connectivity is a double-edged sword: you’re always connected. It’s hard to break the habit of checking in regularly – who hasn’t quickly excused themselves to check their email during a Christmas cocktail party?

Tip #1- Have a plan in place to keep yourself offline. Maybe that means physically leaving your devices behind like Richard Branson does when he goes on his “inspiration vacations”.

Tip #2- Get a colleague to change your email and social media passwords and let the team know you are out of range this holiday. Let them know in advance that you won’t be available for the “emergency text”.

  1. Appoint a point person

According to a recent Forbes article, the only true way to disconnect is to “entrust a point person and empower your team.” From sole proprietors to serial entrepreneurs, business chiefs are cutting loose by planning, putting trusted people in charge, automating email and social media posts, traveling to distance time zones and essentially turning off electronic devices.

  1. Indulge your lust for learning  the ‘old school way’

In our continually changing world, one of the most important skills for a leader to have is the ability to adjust his or her thinking.  Whether it’s as deliberate as attending a class or program or more manual like intentionally reading about current events or topics in your field, give yourself the mind space and ability to expand your knowledge. The trick here is to be organised as you will not be ‘learning on line’ if you are to truly detox.

This festive season, don’t forget to give yourself something too. It may seem selfish, but in focusing on bettering yourself as a leader, you directly and positively impact your employees and your organisation–in fact, it may be the best gift you could give them too.

The best part of taking time away is the opportunity to break your daily habits and routines. When you’re attached to your devices, chipping away at the same problems every day, grinding out to-do lists, it’s hard to get in the mindset for real creative thinking.  We at Change2020 are hoping this Christmas you can embrace the holiday spirit, relax, detox and recharge for 2019.

The Future of Work remains, as always, a hot topic. Organisations are starting to understand how technology and digitisation enables people to work smarter, faster and see change as the new norm. As experts in Change and Transformation, we see many organisations simply not considering or preparing for The Future of Work; avoiding or ignoring the changes is not a viable strategy; organisations must be willing to adapt to this changing landscape.

The Future of Work contains several key elements affecting our traditional workplaces – in this article we discuss three of these. The first being the question and discussion around the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the automation of our jobs and whether there will genuine and valuable work for humans to do. The second is what human skills and capabilities will be required such as emotional intelligence and creativity. Thirdly, changing models of work and work environments with the rise of freelancing, the gig economy and the increasing demand for flexible working patterns for employees.

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This report explores the changing landscape in Australia’s Aged Care industry. Since the start of the Living Longer, Living Better initiative in 2012, the aged care industry has been transforming into a market-driven economy dictated by the consumers. These consumers comprise the ever-increasing aged population and their children, who now have the freedom to direct their funds to whichever service is most suitable and delivers the best customer experience. Competition is the future of aged care services and now is the time for businesses to consider the best way to change and transform their operations from a not-for-profit focus to a not-for-loss focus, so they can offer the best product and remain relevant.

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‘Change is not a Gantt Chart’

Over the years of working in the change space, it is not uncommon for Change2020 to be asked by the organisations we partner with, ‘what does your Gantt Chart look like?’, ‘How does your Gantt Chart differ from the other consultancies?’, ‘Are you as sick and tired of producing these as we are reading them?’However, what lies at the heart of sustainable and agile change management is how it is executed. Like anything, it has a discipline about it, and that is how we – as change partners – prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organisational success and outcomes. Jargon aside, what does the research tell us?

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Like everyone else the team at Change2020 are having a final push towards the end of the year with some huge deliverables and lots of productive discussions.  It’s a time when the forthcoming break feels like a huge milestone, and I often think that this is because it’s the one holiday when we tend to truly relax and aim to do very little (after all that shopping and cooking, of course)!  Just some time to pause, reflect and reset.  As we look back on the development of our business over the past 12 months, it is with a sense of purpose and pride – at what has been accomplished and what is propelling us ahead on our very exciting journey.  Yes, this year Change2020 has taken on new paths and grown in a business sense, but really it has been the story of our ‘growing up’ as an organisation and the forging of an exciting agenda built around Embrace Ambiguity.

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Belief really can make a difference!

Creating a Culture of Belief in the Workplace

What a treat for our sporting nation – the two key codes of football celebrating grand final wins with the underdogs getting up on both occasions. Having grown up with an almost obsessive love for AFL, I am absolutely delighted that the Western Bulldogs are the 2016 premiers (even though I am a passionate and long-suffering Carlton supporter)!

How does a team come from 7th on the ladder to win the flag? How do they overcome a 62-year premiership drought? How do they manage to play as a high performing team week after week even though their beloved and highly skilled captain was injured early in the 2016 season?

My observation – they believed they could do it. They were 100% focused on the outcome, they had a shared goal, a goal which was largely shared by the entire western suburban population of Melbourne.

So often we use sporting analogies in the business world; it seems apt, in a sporting team everyone must know their role, commit to maintaining and building their skills, always be there to play their role in the game, recognise the strengths of others and provide opportunities for them to be optimised, operate selflessly, communicate continually, reflect on performance and opportunities for improvements and always remain focused on the goal, in this instance the premiership.

While the analogy works we are rarely treated to leadership and teamwork such as that demonstrated by high performing sporting teams. There is no doubt that the busy changing world we operate in creates challenges for teams to remain aligned or high performing, but surely they should never lose sight of the goal?

If we believe in what we do, why we do it and our role in it, then regardless of the rapidly changing environment we are faced with, alignment, high performance and ultimately achieving the goal is more likely.

How do you create ‘belief’ in the workplace?

  1. Share the ‘why’ – ensure every person knows why the business, service or team exists; it builds engagement, ownership and belief, it creates the story which employees can place themselves in
  2. Be clear on roles so each person knows how they can contribute to the goal
  3. Keep everyone informed, celebrate successes and share learnings from mistakes
  4. Encourage ideas from all parts of the business, listen, consider and give feedback
  5. Invest in skills and behaviours of your team so they are equipped to achieve the goal
  6. Recognise that leadership can emerge from anywhere at any time, encourage it!

The ecstasy of the Western Bulldogs win will easily carry them through the off-season while they enjoy a well-earned break. But first, they will take a deep breath, they will celebrate, they will reflect on their role in this momentous event and they will demonstrate thanks to every supporter who shared in their belief that anything is possible!

Nine Habits to Embrace Ambiguity

Recently Change2020 launched the Embrace ambiguity movement. This movement is about firstly acknowledging where your tolerance of ambiguity sits and then taking action to Embrace ambiguity – both at home and at work.

At Change2020, we believe that Embracing ambiguity is imperative if you are to remain relevant as a leader.  Research also identifies that “leaders who are comfortable with uncertainty and competent under ambiguous conditions might very well provide a competitive advantage to organisations”[1].

So, if relevancy and having a competitive advantage are important to you, is it time to jump on board and join the Embrace ambiguity movement.

Joining the movement is simple, the first step is to complete our survey by clicking here to determine your tolerance of ambiguity.

We have developed nine habits that will assist you to Embrace ambiguity.

These are:

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Take the reins
  3. Focus on what matters
  4. Rewire expectations
  5. Hatch butterfly moments
  6. Open the floodgates
  7. Challenge idea killers
  8. Be courageous
  9. Let go and move on

Over the next nine weeks will be releasing a blog on each of these habits. Watch out for these to build your tolerance to Embrace ambiguity.

[1] White, R.P. and Shullman, S.L., Acceptance of Uncertainty as an Indicator of Effective Leadership, Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 2010, Vol 62, No 2, 94 – 104

 

Keeping yourself informed in your business

No one tells me anything!

“Nobody ever tells me anything around here!”

How many times have we heard that?  Or “communication is hopeless in our business, we are like mushrooms, always kept in the dark!

While I will be the first to admit that we have worked with many leaders who lack communication and in particular storytelling capabilities and experience, and may not prioritise communication or are not skilled in ensuring they are ‘on message’, we rarely work with leaders who intentionally keep people in the dark.

Recently when working on a major acquisition, there were rumblings from across the teams that ‘we don’t know what is going on, no one is telling us anything’, so we investigated the communication forums, channels and initiatives available to the largely centralised organisation. There appeared to be several ways to learn more about the acquisition – CEO Update, intranet updates, toolbox talks, lunch and learn, team briefs, branded newsletter blasts, fortnightly videos – ‘what it means for our function’, the obligatory bathroom and kitchen posters and of course key messages were provided to all leaders to deliver during their standard team meetings. So, why was the “Mushroom Syndrome” so alive and well across the business? My theory – there was resistance, scepticism and almost a laziness from some individual’s about keeping themselves informed. If the information was not delivered in the way I wanted it, by whom I wanted it delivered by, then I did not feel informed!

But where is the responsibility to keep yourself informed?

Communication is two-way, we interpret and we listen, it is also multi-faceted, we can gather enormous amounts of information through questioning, observing, involving ourselves and most simply, reading the available information and actively listening when it is relayed at various forums.

Regardless of position, duration or experience; there is a responsibility to keep yourself informed, some easy options include:

  • Be present in meetings and actively listen, if you don’t understand something or require more information, ask a question or follow up
  • Allocate time each week to read the content which has been uploaded or emailed
  • Volunteer to be a part of projects or focus groups; get involved
  • Adopt a growth mindset, instead of assuming you are being kept in the dark, seek information to feed the gap in your knowledge
  • Share what you know with others
  • If you hear people saying, no one ever tells me anything, ask them “what have you done to keep yourself informed?”

We live in a highly complex, rapidly changing world where the luxury of waiting until all data is available before communicating an outcome is becoming a thing of the past. However the positive of operating in a highly complex, rapidly changing world means there are many times when the unknown is a real opportunity to test, challenge, query and learn – and we do all of this by keeping ourselves informed.

A lesson from early school days – if you don’t know, you need to ask!

Did Charles Handy have a crystal ball?

In May 2001 I had the good fortune of attending a well-known conference within the UK HR industry on board the Oriana. This event is an annual tradition and held on the ship for three days during which time delegates are able to attend a variety of discussions on emerging people issues and, of course, network like machines with an assortment of suppliers, peers and organisations represented.

That year the keynote speaker for the conference was Charles Handy, a great thought leader who, with Irish wit and charm, did not disappoint in the clarity of his view points or challenging the status quo. I got to meet him briefly with this wife Elizabeth as they had chosen to remain on board for an additional three days of the conference (other speakers had scurried off before setting sail on Friday night).

Handy introduced a rapt audience to his latest book at that time, The Elephant and the Flea, which proclaimed the rise of ‘fleas’ – or individuals who would work independently, flexibly and creatively across a number of organisations in their career – versus ‘elephants’ who remained stable in their careers working for a large corporation. Amongst the many ideas that he puts forward in the book Handy identified four key challenges for organisations over the coming 20 years:

  1. how to grow bigger, but remain small and personal;
  2. how to combine creativity with efficiency;
  3. how to be prosperous but socially acceptable; and
  4. how to reward both the owners of the ideas as well as the owners of the company.

Fast forward to 2016. Bombarded with the rising impact of the freelance economy, numerous reports on the future of work – including one from the World Economic Forum – the rapid acceleration of technological and social change and the words of Charles Handy are once again ringing in my ear.

We have been talking a lot about the future of work in the Change2020 hub, particularly as we pursue our vision to Embrace Ambiguity. Today we live in a VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous – and the pace of change is relentless and rapid. It requires news ways of thinking and a new mindset to gain competitive advantage and deliver impactful leadership. Moreover, the greater connection between people and organisations is changing the language of work and the expectations of the customer or client. It’s entrepreneurial meets big business in the face of massive disruption. Charles Handy was both right and way ahead of his time.

However, the most humbling recollection of hearing and meeting Charles Handy at the HR Forum is not only the relevance of his words but the timing of them. In May 2001 the world was breathtakingly different. There had been no 9/11, 7/7, Lehman Brothers collapse, technological revolution, GFC or Facebook (or any other social media) to accelerate the pace of change as all of these events have. A few short months later and we were staring at our TV screens (no tablets then people) for days – in my case at our local in London – as we grimly watched the events of 9/11 unfold.

Putting this into perspective for me in 2016 reminds me of three things: how far we have come, how far we have to go and how embracing new ways of thinking – and views about this issue – is going to be the key to building a sustainable future in business and as leaders.

So apparently MBTI is not all about me…

Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), is an assessment tool that measures an individual’s preferences and how they make decisions. Change2020 regularly uses this assessment tool to build self-awareness and team effectiveness.

Prior to starting the role as Office and Team Coordinator at Change2020 I had not been exposed to an assessment tool of this type, but I was eager to be involved.  Naturally, as most people are, I was curious to find out about myself and the MBTI tool was a great place to start.

Apparently, I am an ESFJ – a “supportive contributor”.  After reviewing my report, I was not surprised by the results but the real benefit for me came when I shared my results with my team and they shared their profiles with me. I feel I am more considerate of how others like to work in my team, particularly those who fall into the opposite preference to me (for example; those who prefer to direct their energy as an introverted style vs myself who is a clear extrovert).

Completing MBTI has helped me to:

  • Resolve conflicts – learning to recognise that people aren’t wrong – just different
  • Recognise and play to people’s strengths
  • Communicate more effectively with others
  • Provide feedback to others for greater productivity
  • Relate to others with greater understanding
  • Be less judgemental
  • Appreciate the value of a diverse team.

Have you ever taken a personality test? What did it tell you about you and your preferences?

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