Losing the Change on the Horizon?


How interesting reading social media and hearing in the news how NZ and its staunch dedicated rugby supporters are dealing with the shock loss to South Africa in Wellington on Saturday.

While the feeling isn’t anything like prior losses at world cup events, there is certainly a sense that perhaps change is happening in the global rugby community. Has the competition learnt from their experiences losing to NZ for so many years? Have the changes they’ve implemented in their teams, their organisations and the way they play the game finally taken effect?

Change management is an important concept to consider when making any sort of transition or transformation. Whether it’s on the rugby field when deciding who plays what position and when, or in the business world, when it’s time to make a change to company goals, strategy, processes or technology.

Unfortunately, what’s often forgotten or not done well, is not the ‘change’ itself, but how organisations help their people adapt and get on board with the change taking place.

Now more than ever, people leaders are responsible for managing their people through change. No longer is it seen as the sole responsibility of the HR team, but a core skill for people leaders to develop and master.

Type ‘change management’ into any search engine and the availability of information and research is mind boggling and endless. So as a people leader, where do you start clicking to ensure you’re reading the latest best practice advice available around this very hot topic?

I’ve always thought ‘simpler the better’ when working with managers as they support their people through change, whether it’s organisational, structural or simply a change in process or policy. Therefore, I’ve come up with some tips that I always recommend for anyone leading through change – whatever it is!

Change Management Leadership Tips

1. Build the ‘human side’ into any change.

Not dealing with uncertainty and resistance will only escalate the issues and increase the risks.

2. Start at the top

Educate your leaders first, get them on board and aligned. Encourage a ‘single source of the truth’ to avoid confusion and uncertainty.

3. Be Organised

Have a clear change management plan in place that you can articulate to your people, what it means to them individually and what the process for implementing the change is.

4. Communication

It needs to work both ways so make sure you have in place the opportunity/forum for your people to discuss how they’re feeling, what they’re concerned about and what support is available to help them through this. Have regular, timely advice in place throughout the change process.

5. Trust

Your people are more likely going to accept the change and get on board if they hear it from you rather than someone they don’t know or trust.

6. Personal Resilience

Be aware of your own reactions to the change and how this is perceived by others. If your people are struggling with the change they need to learn from you around maintaining personal resilience and dealing with things in the right way.

7. Uncertainty

It’s a big part of change and can’t be sugar coated or ignored. Therefore, be a strong leader, explain why the uncertainty is necessary, what action is being taken and when it will be resolved.

8. Keep in Touch

Communicating once won’t cut it as you lead your people through change – whatever the size or scope of it. Imbed a process for keeping everyone up to date with the change taking place. Even if there isn’t anything to update your people about – an update is an update.

9. Prepare for the unexpected

Keep in tune with how your people are functioning and reacting. Respond to this as quickly and effectively as possible.

10. Speak 1-1

Be clear about how the change will impact the individual (or team), and what is expected of them during and after the change programme.

Perhaps like most of us on Saturday night, we thought the AB’s would never lose. In fact, what we’ve experienced is a fundamental change to not only our winning streak as a team but to our mindset - yes, we can be beaten. This change is a journey for everyone to get on board with – coaches, players and fans.

Perhaps a quick reflection of the tips above may help us on this ‘journey of change’?

By Amanda Parish, HR & Talent Partner

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