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Leading change differently: A positively human approach

8Connect (People & Change) Consulting

Despite having more knowledge, tools and technology at their disposal, organisations and their people still struggle to make change work.

As the pace of change increases, this presents a problem:

How do we drive the change that the organisation needs at a collective level, while recognising that people change as individuals?

Individuals with different histories, perspectives, priorities; and a unique contribution to make.

Why isn’t change management working?

Structured change management methodologies tend to imply that everyone will move forward together - in a linear fashion - if you do the right things at the right time.

In other words, it treats change as a process, which misses out on the often-infuriating truth that unlike systems, people only move on to the next step when they’re ready to.

Suzanne Evans of Feldspar Consulting and Rob Robson of 8Connect Consulting, both Chamber members with experience of working on large, corporate transformation programmes, see the change leadership challenge rather differently.

It’s not that change management methodologies aren’t useful. They may even be a necessary part of the jigsaw, but we do think that they’re only part of the solution.

In order to address the difficult challenge of not only bringing people on the change journey, but enabling them to co-create and own it, requires a more positive, human approach.

A more positive, human approach to change leadership

Susanne’s recent PhD research has resulted in an approach means encouraging collaboration and involving people deeply in the change from beginning to end.

Drawing on storytelling techniques and Appreciative Inquiry, it involved taking the time out to engage in dialogue; understanding the history and culture of the organisation and its influence on change; and encouraging people to reflect upon and own their response to change.

This approach isn’t an easy one, but in both Rob and Susanne’s experience the effort is worthwhile.

Indeed, taking “the path of least resistance” might be tempting when you’re embarking on change, but all it does is defer the issues until later on, when they’re much harder to deal with.

Rob’s experience as a business psychologist highlights the importance of motivation and emotions – hearts and minds – in change.

His work focuses on how motivation and emotion interact, and in change this framework adds richness to the idea of ‘think-do-feel’.

In addition to helping to make change more compelling and engaging, it provides a language for decoding and working more constructively with resistance to change.

If we understand resistance as a response to an emotion, we can better understand it and what it's telling us about the change, the approach to implementation, or the culture.

Want to learn more? 

Susanne and Rob will be running a one-day workshop on leading change differently in Central Birmingham on 1 April, 2020.

Why not join us?