What Every Leader Should (But Often Don't) Know About Managing Change

Careers are made and broken on getting things done… or not.

You can devise the most brilliant strategy in the boardroom, but if you can’t get people to execute it… you fail.

When your success relies on hundreds or thousands of employees, how do you get people on board?

How do you ensure projects get people adopting changes to processes or technology?

Sophisticated leaders employ specialist Change Managers. They work to get people adapting and adopting the change.

I asked three experienced and successful Change Managers…

Paula Anastasiade

Lisa Cunningham DeLauney

Daniel Lock

…what they wish Leaders knew before a change.



Rob: [00:00:00] What I’ve picked up from all of you and from your content is that there’s a frustration between what leaders. need to know and what they don’t actually know. 

Rob: The gist of the call is what would you wish that leaders knew before starting the change project? 

Lisa: I’ll go first. I made a list of things and, as usual, it grows and grows, but I guess the first thing I would wish that leaders would know about change is how much time and energy you need to do it well. 

Lisa: Actually that’s for anyone who’s going through change. If you underestimate that then, it’s never going to work. That also means how ready are you for change before you even start? 

Lisa: How are you feeling? 

Lisa: What else has happened? 

Lisa: How many other changes have you been through in your organization? 

Lisa: How have they panned out? 

Lisa: You need to think about this is going to be for the longish term.

Lisa: Change is constant. So it’s never going to be one change and that’s it, which is another reason for not underestimating. And just deciding, is this the right [00:01:00] change for now? 

Lisa: Do we need to do it? 

Lisa: And then get into some of the detail. 

Daniel: A really valid point about leaders really appreciating just how much

Daniel: I’ve come into projects where change management, is blazing red and there’s all this resistance and people are unhappy and there’s an appreciation at that point, something’s needed,. Change management is needed or something’s needed, we need someone to focus on this, there’s real problems here and at that point you’ve got them like, there’s a clear and present problem and you have a solution for them.

Daniel: And so there’s a real appreciation then. It would be nice if they could know that up front. Now maybe they will for the next project. 

Daniel: I’m just thinking back to a project I worked on a few years ago where that was the case. I happen to know that the executive sponsor went on to a different role as CFO of another department of the organization and, change managers from that previous team were then picked up and taken across there in a very proactive sense.

Daniel: They really knew they saw the value of it. I don’t think that would have been the same if this executive sponsor hadn’t been through that experience, I doubt that they would have been proactively going out there and looking for change leads and change practitioners to support them in their CFO transformation role.

Lisa: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. It [00:02:00] works better if you’ve had a bit of the pain and the experience and that sort of links into another point that I was thinking and I wanted to ask Paula about, which was the future of work and that, one of the things I wish that people would realize was just that, that you actually need to embed change management in everything you do as a manager and a leader, you should have understanding of it and you should value it and have, those people in places change agents and things.

Lisa: And yeah, just as you described Daniel, but that should be a given. And I’m just thinking about, the future of work and the rise of AI and everything and how we as humans should be differentiating ourselves and change management to me is like one really good example of using emotion.

Lisa: I think I saw some things about digital change and everything from you, Paula, what you thought 


Paula: That’s definitely top of mind. But for me, it would start from really the basics because a lot of the leaders that I have worked with or met haven’t even heard of change management.

Paula: And so they go into these projects thinking that [00:03:00] the organization already has all the work streams, all the capability needs, but change management is just not there because they have never heard of it. And for me, the, it all boils down to the education that they get. 

Paula: These days, a lot of executive leaders get drawn in by the digital transformation courses that a lot of business schools out there are offering, and I’ve been researching that that topic for a while now, and what I can say so far, of course, I haven’t finished the research I’m not very far from that point, but so far, I have yet to see a single digital transformation course designed for senior executives, That talks about change management.

Paula: It’s always about technology. 

Paula: What kind of technology we can use? 

Paula: What kind of digital strategy we can come up to outcompete others? 

Paula: What can we come up with to be the best at what we do? So the focus is on ensuring that the organization is the best and is the first that does certain things there.

Paula: The whole aspect of it, what change means, what change entails and how [00:04:00] we make that happen. That’s completely overlooked. 

Paula: In some of the cases, there is some talk about processes, but it’s overwhelmingly about about technology and people. So what I see so far is that these top business schools that I’m, that I’ve been looking at separate digital transformation from change management.

Paula: Completely different topics. 

Paula: That’s one thing. The other thing is that in most cases. Change management is not part of the core curriculum, and in some cases it’s not there at all. So in the best case scenario, it’s an elective course, which of course people may or may not take. And then there’s another aspect that I’ve become more aware of as of this morning as I was reading an article, a very good article by a change manager who teaches change management in an MBA context.

Paula: And he was saying, and I think he’s very right to say that, When change management is an elective course, or when anything is in an elective course, it gets less attention than a core course, because these are very busy professionals, and they just, they [00:05:00] have many other things going on in their lives. It’s not just that MBA or it’s not even just work.

Paula: They have plenty of other things going on in their lives. It’s the same for all of us. 

Paula: What is the incentive to work as hard? 

Paula: For an elective course that is elective by definition. So for me, the problem starts there. I think that a lot of executives go into these programs with the best of intentions, and I’m sure that they want to do the best they can for their organizations.

Paula: Unfortunately, the business education system is just failing them. And by failing them, it’s also failing us. and the organizations that these people are leading. That is the real problem in my opinion. They don’t give executive leaders these basics. And then of course, there are those leaders who don’t attend an MBA at all.

Paula: And then that begs the question of where do they get the information about change management, if at all. So that’s my take on it. That’s for me. That’s the root of the problem.

Daniel: I 

Daniel: think it’s a really interesting. Look at the problem. Actually I like your reasoning and you’re thinking about looking at what the causes of teaching. I think it’s [00:06:00] fantastic. It’s really such an interesting perspective. I will say I want I guess my question is how universal do you think it is?

Daniel: Because I know in Australia, change management is very mature, relatively speaking perhaps the UK, 

Daniel: I think what I’m hearing out of the U. S. from people is definitely you’ve got a Prosci probably leading the charge over there. The U. S seem to be just very much outcomes driven.

Daniel: If it’s going to drive me an outcome, then We’re happy to have change management or any other methodology, along for the ride. But Australia is far more sophisticated. They don’t know what change management is, how to do it or anything like that. But they know that they need to win a common refrain.

Daniel: You’ll hear from an Australian executives. We need to win the hearts and minds of the people. This is what they will say. That’s probably verbatim. You probably walk into an office now or, five hours ago, and it would be an executive somewhere in a room saying that it’s just it’s just what they do.

Daniel: It’s far more mature over there. Where does that come from? 

Daniel: I’m not sure because executive training and MBAs are not as important to the Australian market. Any credentials, full stop, are not as important to the Australian market as they are elsewhere like Germany, for example.

Daniel: Where it comes from for example, even APRA, which is one of the governing bottles, [00:07:00] bodies for large systemic risk organizations and also financial services mandated in one of their recent operational risk policies that risk in change needed to be, organizations need to have a dedicated policy for managing risk and change.

Daniel: There’s a fair bit of definition around that. And like it for large organizations there’s a significant awareness in Australia about organizational change and its need to be proactively managed is very interesting perspective. 

Daniel: That I think Paula brings to it though it doesn’t mean that they have, they would know that. How to set it up and they still, do I need to have one person enough to manage change? 

Daniel: Can I just bring on a change manager and just call that done and tick that box? 

Daniel: Or do I need to have a whole team of people? 

Daniel: What does it take to do this?

Daniel: And I must say, like I wanted a lot that last project I was talking about earlier, like I got there was blazing red and, we ended up with this massive team to manage the change because it was just so significant. 

Daniel: I knew I had this window of opportunity to build the team properly because there was the resources that they were receptive to investing in the resources. Sometimes you go on other projects and you’re just the change manager and that’s all you’ve got and you [00:08:00] just do what you can to make it work. So yeah interesting conversation. 

Lisa: I think the education thing is really interesting when as you were saying, Paula, and built on that, Daniel, because I think, yeah, the education is important, but again, I agree that the market is much more people know about change management in UK. I think they still underestimate it, but they know it, and they know maybe a bit about the process.

Lisa: But then I also see that can be an issue if it’s just educational from learning in a learning environment without the experience and a process which is you do A, B, C, D, and then you take it off. Because, it’s like with many things, it’s all in the implementation. The actual process of change management, the logic and the emotion behind it, it’s fairly straightforward if you look at it like that, but when you actually put it into practice and you have people’s emotions, you have politics, you have all kinds of historical issues [00:09:00] and all this mixed up, all the stakeholders, all managing all the different Dimensions, that’s where it really comes into play.

Lisa: So it’s really interesting. I think the education can be part of it, but also it’s hands on. What does this look and feel like? 

Lisa: What do I do? 

Lisa: I don’t know about you, but it’s never the same in any organization with any group of individuals. There’s always something. You can see trends of what’s likely to happen, what kind of resistance might occur, but yeah, it’s really easy to underestimate as well, even if you know what it is and the process.

Paula: Yeah absolutely. When I’m saying that they should get an education or get it as part of their education. 

Paula: What I have in mind is actually a set of basics, what change management is, what it is for. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the course should teach them how to manage change themselves, that’s not the purpose, but it should give them some foundation from which to start some basic understanding of what’s needed [00:10:00] Because we don’t always know what we don’t know, and I think that’s very much the case there.

Paula: It’s not about, oh, let’s equip you with the skills to actually manage the change yourselves. No, that’s not their role, and that’s not their purpose anyway. But let’s give you some basic understanding of what this is, what this discipline is about, why you need it, what happens if you don’t have it represented in your organization.

Paula: Then, of course some very important topics that would need to be included, in my opinion, are roles in change management. 

Paula: We hear these days a lot of talk about change management and change leadership, and my impression so far is that a lot of what’s being written right now on LinkedIn and elsewhere about the topic of change management versus change leadership follows the pattern of management versus leadership.

Paula: And I think that’s a topic that hasn’t been exhausted. There’s still a lot of writing about it. I think it continues to attract a lot of attention, but in the world of change management, I think it’s really misunderstood. 

Paula: It’s not about Oh, are you a [00:11:00] manager? 

Paula: Are you a leader? Or can you be both? Or should you be both?

Paula: In my opinion, it’s not about that. It’s about defining what a leader’s role is and as Professor Elspeth Johnson would say, when to step up and when to step back as a leader, because leaders typically either don’t step up or they don’t know when to step back. 

Paula: That also has a lot to do with the so called Hollywood version of leadership where you are this charismatic leader and things happen because you are so charismatic, and it’s enough for you to come and do a pep talk and everybody will go to.

Paula: And yeah, we want this change doesn’t work like that. 

Paula: So there’s this delicate balance of when to step up and when to step back. I really like Professor Johnson’s work on this topic, and she came up with this concept. So this would be one topic for them to really understand. Then another thing that I think is critical to understand is the relationship between these three elements of leadership sponsorship, change management and project management.

Paula: I know that one of the Most popular methodologies out [00:12:00] there proposes this as its core tenant, But this is not about that methodology. It’s not about teaching that methodology. It’s about teaching the fact that these are the key pillars of any project. If you don’t have leaders, things are not moving.

Paula: If you don’t have project managers who know what they’re doing, then things don’t get delivered. And if you don’t have change managers who also know what they’re doing, then you don’t have any adoption and you have a lot of resistance. These are some fundamental things that I think they should know.

Paula: And then beyond the, let’s say the strict sphere, if I can call it that, of change management, they should probably learn a lot about how to adequately plan make decisions about changes, what changes to make, when to make them, when the right time for each of them is. I feel like a lot of that is lacking.

Paula: Fortunately, there are MBA programs that offer courses on decision making and for business context and and also critical thinking. But I think we need more of that. We need more of that and concretely applied to digital [00:13:00] transformation, which is, a hot topic these days, but organizational change in general.

Paula: And I’m curious to see what you think what other topics are critical for leaders. 

Daniel: I think that I was going down the route of education of change leaders, one of the things that I would emphasize for them. And when I say change leaders, I would be talking, executive sponsors or sponsors of projects. 

Daniel: I’m talking about heads of business who are on the receiving end of a change. They’re often not the sponsor, but they’re one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful people in a project. And they have veto power or at least can stop a project from going live.

Daniel: But is, I would be saying to them. You really underestimate how much energy this is going to take for you to do a large scale project and you’ve got a business to run. You will almost need to abdicate 90 percent of your responsibilities to your 2IC for the duration of this project.

Daniel: And they will look at you, particularly in the months going up to go live, about that six month period. They would just totally underestimate how much effort is required. Probably for in Australia, whilst there’s awareness, like I said, in the change space of the need generally of change, [00:14:00] they underestimate the size and scope of the teams to bring it about.

Daniel: They generally have a understanding of the scope required for the project teams, like project managers, business analysts, and test managers and things like this, like they have that rationale. Like at one point I had 35 change managers working for me on this large group, global project.

Daniel: And people were just like, I can’t believe the size of the team. And I’m like I’m telling you, like there is no other way this project is going to get done. They’re all working, late in the evening to get this project work, this project done. It’s like, they’re just totally underestimated the amount of work.

Daniel: And the chaos needs to be overcome because you’re dealing with people, right? 

Daniel: And this is all the vagaries of people. It’s not systems and data going in from one end to the other. That’s hard enough in and of itself. So it like, there’s a huge underestimation of the amount of effort required to manage change and manage it well.


Paula: Effort and time, I would say. 

Paula: And that has a name. It’s called the planning fallacy. And I think, unfortunately, we don’t have an ideal situation for that because it’s a systemic issue and I can briefly explain. And actually it’s not necessarily my original explanation. It’s something that I came across in a really good book by, by Paul [00:15:00] Gibbons.

Paula: It’s called science of organizational change. And he discusses the planning fallacy in his book, and the gist of it is this boards are very impatient, and so they put pressure on executives to deliver fast. 

Paula: On the other hand, they don’t necessarily hold executives accountable for the results, which probably explains why change management is not given the importance it should be given.

Paula: Intern executives put a lot of pressure on teams and of course on their external providers, consulting companies and others. Consulting companies all know how to play this game. They are excellent at minimizing their exposure, their risk. And great at putting all the blame on the customer.

Paula: So if in the beginning a lot of these firms provide estimates that are not realistic because they know what executives want to hear. 

Paula: They are just singing the tune that they know executives want to hear and they know that if they play the game in any other way, meaning if they provide a realistic time estimate or time and resource estimate, they will lose [00:16:00] Against others who rush in with a unrealistic estimate, which looks better because who wouldn’t want things done in a shorter time possible and with the least amount of effort and investment, I would say.

Paula: So there’s this collusion, I would say, at the level of the entire system. 

Paula: You’ve got the board, you’ve got the executives, you’ve got the consulting companies. that all play this game. So until someone, breaks this vicious circle somehow, and again, this takes me back to the importance of education.

Paula: I don’t know how that will happen. So if there’s this gross underestimation of The work that’s required. That’s because we start out from a grossly and an underestimated timeline. And of course, the same happens for the amount of effort required and the resources that the company is willing to invest.

Lisa: This also links to understanding the problem as well as and understanding what change management can do, because there’s a lot of leaders need to understand this balance that change [00:17:00] management is hard, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed to failure.

Lisa: Because there’s so many people who talk about this, it’s going to fail, it’s going to fail and all the myths around percentages and things. And I don’t really want to get into that because I don’t think it’s helpful. But the thing that would help is if people just defined what success looked like for them and defined it as a a continuum from good enough through to the dream scenario, and then you’d know what you wanted to achieve.

Lisa: Because otherwise change management is either seen as it’s a failure or it’s a success and that’s, you’re talking about people, it can’t be perfection, it can be, okay, we need this level of adoption, we need this level of attrition, we need, people, the engagement levels to be like, and be able to attract talent.

Lisa: There are things that you can measure and the things that are more difficult to measure in change management aren’t there and layers. of quantitative and qualitative, but I think it’s really important that leaders do that first before then saying [00:18:00] because then, it’s how long is a piece of string?

Lisa: How much time are you going to expend? 

Lisa: How much money are you going to expend? 

Lisa: And what do you want at the end of it? 

Lisa: If it’s perfection, you’re not going to get it, but you can define it. So I think that’s something I wish leaders would focus on first as well. And it’s connected to what you’re saying, being realistic.

Paula: Yeah, and actually brought up a very important point being realistic about the costs and the benefits also, which I don’t see much of actually in practice. 

Paula: There are certain things that just don’t get calculated at all. For example, operational risk, something that I don’t see a lot of people take into account leaders for that matter.

Paula: In other words, I don’t see the question of what will it cost us if for a while this process doesn’t work or this process can’t just cannot be completed as we have designed it?

Paula: What does that mean? 

Paula: What does it translate to in terms of financials? 

Paula: So a lot of this operational risk has to do with change management or lack thereof, I would say.

Paula: The less attention you pay to change [00:19:00] management, the more your overall risk and of course, financial risk goes up. So that’s another topic that they should they should probably be aware of just that they should be aware of the need for organizational readiness. 

Daniel: I’ll come back to the readiness point, but on the operational risk point, I I know a lot about this because it was the last major project I worked on was exactly this non financial risk policy rollout of a global bank.

Daniel: It’s a very, very apt topic because there is again coming out of Australia thinking on this institutional calculations and processes being put around it around operational risk and specifically risk and change. Globally things moving in that direction and actual policies in organizations to that end.

Daniel: There’s still very much like you could pick a leader out of the hierarchy and the thing is about leaders is that, where it’s easy to rag on. It’s a very difficult job. It’s extraordinarily difficult job. And the pressure on executives are extraordinary.

Daniel: And so that what we’re trying to advocate for here, though, is if you’re leading change and transformation, you really need to provision for adequately. Organizational [00:20:00] change management and I think that’s the message that it’s getting out there. I think it’s getting out there. Personally, I think it’s slowly but surely.

Daniel: It’s really getting there. I think it’s definitely happening. There’s definitely a lot more sophistication required. I think where you were heading to, Paula, is around readiness, and I think that’s a really interesting point. I’d love to hear you just expand on that, because I cut you off, but I’d love to hear where you’re going with that.

Paula: Yeah, and I also would like to get your thoughts and Lisa’s thoughts about this. I think it’s a very often overlooked aspect of projects. 

Paula: Again, if I’m thinking about digital transformation, that’s almost always the case. In my experience, at least if we’re talking digital transformation, in my opinion, readiness assessments should be designed as standalone projects to precede that the actual digital transformation project.

Paula: Why? 

Paula: Because you first of all, have to have leadership alignment Then you have to understand your ops ready, your operational readiness, your people readiness, your tech readiness, and the purpose of running this assessment is to understand the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.

Paula: It also gives you time [00:21:00] to analyze whether this provider or this ERP or that software or whatever that tool is really the best solution for your problem. It gives you time to analyze. 

Paula: What exactly is it that we’re trying to solve here? 

Paula: And what are our options? 

Paula: Let’s just not, go for the first thing that pops up, thinking that it’s the best solution.

Paula: Let’s probe into that. Let’s take some time to analyze various various possibilities. But again, all that requires time. And it requires thinking. It requires mental effort. And it goes back to what we were saying a few moments ago. People don’t want to put in a lot of time. They are, a lot of leaders are very action oriented.

Paula: They are not necessarily oriented towards a lot of reflection, many of them, not all of them, of course. So they want action and they want it now without understanding that what Might feel right now like a waste of time or because we’re actually taking time to consider things to reflect on things to make some make robust choices.

Paula: It might feel like there’s no action happening like [00:22:00] we’re wasting time. But what feels now like maybe a waste of time is that is actually helping you save time down the road. Time headaches and a lot of money. 

Lisa: Yeah, I would agree. And then going back to the topic we touched on, which is, the selling of change management, the delivery.

Lisa: Sometimes you actually shouldn’t do the change or not now, because you have too much on. And I’ve had experience of this with, yeah, because I think you’re right there, Paula, a lot of leaders are very. action oriented. And they have to be, as you were saying, Daniel, under pressure to deliver.

Lisa: So it’s totally counterintuitive for them to say, take a moment, check. And they may also say I know this is the solution. This is the best solution. We know which digital solution or which system to use. This is it. But that’s not the only dimension, logic doesn’t cover everything.

Lisa: And yeah, this is incredibly difficult to get people to do that, and quite often when things come to a head, and you were saying, Daniel, it’s like red alert, this is not working. Yeah, that’s the time when people then [00:23:00] realize. Change management, not the change readiness beat. By that time, you can have done a heck of a lot of damage.

Daniel: Certainly a sophisticated organization ideally would have good readiness processes. I think that that’s a huge gap. I don’t see any organizations. I’m not saying anybody, any organizations do that with any. There is PMOs and. Portfolio groups within organizations that have a better, that, that are standard, that are stood up, but they understand projects in flight and spend and governance and gate reviews and things like this, but they don’t have a handle on the impacts of the organization, changing an organization.

Daniel: It’s just not good awareness of it. Paula and I did a similar course last year on the on this topic. Really understanding, you know that the change from what ordinary business is experiencing It was as well as projects and that whole interrelationship 

Daniel: The only thing that worries me about readiness assessments at that level is you could, an organization could easily tie themselves in knots and not do anything and really get hamstrung.

Daniel: I just think, and it’s a very dynamic process, it just changes as soon as you initiate a project, it’s like a complex [00:24:00] organization. You push one button and then, everything else moves around it and now it’s something else. It’s a completely new thing to deal, you’re dealing with. So it’s a very dynamic process as well.

Daniel: This is a huge gap, no organization does it well, but also I don’t have Perfect answers on it, or I think the solution is probably something we’re in the direction of. Let’s just get something started. Let’s start measuring it. Let’s have some sort of dynamic process and each organization has got to think about its governance processes of whether that goes into some sort of PMO or centralized PMO or transformation office., Paula has written a bit about this recently on LinkedIn and every organization is different in that regard, or they have a change management office or whatever.

Daniel: I think the point is organizations who can start collecting this data, processing it, and integrating it into their decision making processes more fully more formally, I think would really help. 

Rob: Before we move into change readiness just for those of us who, who aren’t deep in the understanding of change management. 

Rob: So it’s interesting because I also have had groups on leadership and groups on teams and if I’m trying to sum up the groups on [00:25:00] teams, it’s about finding visibility because the human element, which I think really you talked about, Paula, when you were talking about the people focused on the strategy, and then we I think our whole organizational charts now.

Rob: Organizational philosophy is that it’s still the industrial age of people are machines and it all will work. We just oil the right machine in the right place. It will all carry on working, but there’s a black box. And so that’s something that comes out in the talk about teams is about the visibility.

Rob: You need to know where the team is. And if I’m trying to sum up the leadership. 

Rob: I think it’s about what are the bounds of leadership. As we’ve said, leadership is an enormous set of responsibilities that I think that one of the biggest challenges it seems to be for leaders is to understand where the boundaries.

Rob: Where do you stop? Where do you let someone else go? 

Rob: And that seems to be what it takes to be an experienced leader. 

Rob: I really would like to know more about change readiness because that’s really where I feel it’s about trust and it’s the relationships which makes [00:26:00] adapting much easier.

Rob: For me, looking in, it seems that a lot of this comes down to, corporates have very short term outlooks. So the CEO and the board are going to be rewarded based on share price at a certain time and, next quarter’s share price or whatever. And a lot of the change that you’re talking about is multi year change, by which time they’ll have left the company, left the position.

Rob: And they need it to look good now, whereas the whole process of change is going to mean, like Paula, you talked about the operational loss while we were getting up to speed that is going to impact. So how much is to do with the organizational structure, the organizational philosophy and just a general lack of awareness of humans in our business education.

Paula: For me, I think it starts from and here I’m just, looking at it to an org design lens. It starts from the goals of the organization. What is it that we do or that we want to do? Because all organizations are born between two conflicting priorities, efficiency and effectiveness. And they’re in [00:27:00] conflict because efficiency is about minimizing your investment, your expenses Whereas efficiency is doing things in the optimal way putting more emphasis on the experience that customers get and obviously internal customers as well.

Paula: And of course that can be more, more taxing financially. And there are a few org design experts think that there are a few companies that really managed to balance both. And apparently Microsoft is one of them, but for the most part, it’s about one or another. So for me, the analysis Starts there. What is this company about?

Paula: And not just, you know what they say their value statements, although that is a starting point as well. What are they about in practice? 

Paula: Are they about effectiveness more than they are about efficiency? 

Paula: If they are more about effectiveness and efficiency, then it seems like it’s more likely that change management and readiness and everything that has to do with these things will be given more consideration, maybe not ideal because Daniel made a very good [00:28:00] point. Probably no one does it perfectly, but there are definitely some that do it better than others. And Daniel has a lot of experience in Australia where I agree the environment is much more mature. The environment for change management is much more mature. 

Paula: My experience is mostly tied to Western Europe and North America and a little bit at the Middle East as well. And in my experience it’s not at that level. Of course, organizations everywhere will have to prioritize one over another efficiency over effectiveness or try to find a balance.

Paula: Although that’s a really delicate thing to achieve. So for me, the analysis starts there. 

Paula: Do they have a vision? 

Paula: Is this vision clearly articulated for people? 

Paula: Do they understand what the strategy is? 

Paula: Does the strategy seem congruent with these goals? 

Paula: And then does the structure of the organization match that strategy?

Paula: Does it support it? 

Paula: And of course, everything that comes after that, the processes, the tools, the reporting lines, the the incentives and the configuration of the teams, [00:29:00] the relationships between them. So everything has to be taken into account. So if we’re talking about readiness. Then, yes there’s this dimension of all of these things falling into place.

Paula: And I know that in change management, we talk a lot about trust and people being ready. And that’s definitely very very important. But again, if I think about digital transformation we cannot overlook tech readiness and process readiness. And these are things that are out of scope for change managers.

Paula: But which have an impact on what we do. And this is one of the reasons why, in my opinion, a readiness assessment has to be stood up as a project on its own, because there are many people contributing to this evaluation from various standpoints. As a change manager, I cannot go in and say, Oh, your processes should look like this compared to what they are now.

Paula: Although I have done this exercise. And on more than one occasion it’s not part of a change manager’s job, but I had to improvise because there was no one else to do it. At that point, same thing happens with tech. Fortunately, I haven’t been in a [00:30:00] position to to assess that because I would be no good at that.

Paula: All that to say that there are all these bits of the puzzle. That have to come together. And at the end of the day, they give us an overall picture of how ready the organization is. And Lisa made it an excellent point about how sometimes organizations are just not ready for that change.

Paula: And this is something that leaders don’t want to hear. In one of my most recent projects. This is the recommendation that I gave the leadership team put this on pause until you’ve redefined your operational model, your business model, and then restart your ERP implementation. You cannot do them at the same time.

Paula: First, you have to know what you’re about, how you want to function in the future. And of course, all that was a complication of an acquisition that was not properly managed from a change perspective. So it was a whole complication. So sometimes as a change manager, like Lisa said, you have to go in and offer this opinion, knowing that there are very few leaders who will want to heed that advice or that recommendation.

Paula: [00:31:00] And because by that time, they will have invested a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of work in that, and they don’t want to go back to their boards to say, Oh we decided to call it quits, or we pulled the plug for the time being, because even though executives probably don’t hold or most boards don’t hold executives account accountable for that, they’re still accountable.

Paula: At least an unpleasant discussion that’s going to ensure and everybody wants to avoid that. So that’s my take on readiness. 

Lisa: Yeah, I think having this holistic view, change management should be included, but on the other hand, it shouldn’t be a standalone. Like you said, Daniel, you can’t just give it to one person.

Lisa: It doesn’t make sense. You need to have it overlapping with process and systems. And yes, I’ve had done lots of process work because that’s been overlooked because if you’re just looking at the people and you say why can’t you adopt this because, the leaders might not realize what the process is that’s actually happening on the ground.

Lisa: And it doesn’t make sense to use this new system. Yeah. And then when it comes to [00:32:00] technology, absolutely. Again, I wouldn’t get into that in detail, you need somebody who knows the tech. So it has to be a holistic picture and it has to be congruent. Again, as you said, Paula, it has to. Not everything can be perfect, but yes, if you’ve decided that you want the cheapest, the quickest, the fastest yeah, then change management is probably going to be minimum really, isn’t it?

Lisa: But a lot of companies are now trying to, and you have to think about the messages you’re sending to your customers as well. If they just want the cheapest, maybe that’s fine, but if you actually want sustainable solutions in all senses of the word. People are getting more clued up, more savvy about what companies say and what they stand for and what they actually do.

Lisa: I was talking to my son about this, who’s studying business and economics at the moment, and he was very cynical about values and mission statements, and I understand why, because you can almost guess what any large company is one is going to include, and it has to be delivered, and as they said, Paula, if [00:33:00] you are going to say it’s innovative, then it has to be innovative, and that means you have to tolerate risk or encourage risk, and that means you don’t you give people opportunities and you don’t punish them for mistakes or things that don’t go right, or saying this change shouldn’t happen.

Lisa: That’s one of the reasons I think change management is fascinating because it is touches so many things within the organization and life really. You have to try and take a systems view and see how it all fits together. And I think with readiness as well, the point you made Daniel about don’t get caught in there, navel gazing, or should we do it?

Lisa: Shouldn’t we? 

Lisa: That’s really relevant as well. I’ve also seen where somebody’s done a whole project on change readiness. It’s just too long, and it would be too late to start. So it is a case of quick and dirty, start something, test, iterate. And this is where it comes To teams as well and organizational design, I think, yeah, the best way to deliver change is with teams that are put together for that, do it, and then [00:34:00] disbanded other teams, so that should be the way that it works, it’s all incredibly complex and then you have to put that overlay, the business as usual and delivery, otherwise, what’s the point?

Daniel: I think one of the issues with readiness is there’s a few definitions, there’s a few layers to it. I think there’s essentially three the way I think about it. We’ve got organizational readiness, which is how what’s going on in this organization is change being measured, assessed, understood at a global level, reported, cascaded.

Daniel: And then I think about readiness, if I’m, ideally starting a project at the beginning as a change manager, I want to say, so how ready is this organization to accept this change? 

Daniel: What other projects are happening? 

Daniel: Given the proposed timing, what’s likely to happen, given what we know about impacts, what does that mean?

Daniel: How ready is this organization? 

Daniel: And this is an iterative process that then goes all the way down to go live readiness. 

Daniel: How ready is this organization now? 

Daniel: Does everybody have their logins? 

Daniel: Have they been trained? 

Daniel: And so we’re right down to a very tactical go live readiness. We’re going live on the weekend, it’s Thursday, are we [00:35:00] ready?

Daniel: So I think about it in a very broad level and it’s a very much an iterative process that becomes there’s three fairly distinct stages. And there’s a whole lot of work that goes into all that to get right down to a level of readiness for going live this weekend.

Daniel: That’s what I think about readiness. 

Paula: Yeah that’s absolutely right. When I talked about readiness, I just had in mind that initial readiness exercise before actually jumping into things. But absolutely. There’s an element of readiness that it’s not like you just do one readiness assessment in the beginning.

Paula: And that’s that. No, that’s when you do the overall x ray of the organization. But later down the road, you have to focus more on How ready the people are, how ready the systems are can we actually go live? 

Paula: Are our processes fully baked, fully designed? 

Paula: Can we actually go live? 

Paula: Absolutely. There’s that and, thinking about this quick and dirty, which I’ve also heard quite a number of times, and it’s definitely not my favorite thing to hear something that comes from the project management world 

Paula: You have these three variables in project management.

Paula: It’s you know, it’s time. It’s the scope and there’s the budget. You can’t have you [00:36:00] can’t adjust all of them. 

Paula: If you want to make it fast, then maybe you have to pump in more budget to make it fast, bringing more people. So this way you can get it over with faster. Or perhaps you have to adjust your ambitions.

Paula: And as a result reduce the scope. But of course, the scope is it’s harder to reduce the scope if you’re talking digital, transformational, whatever. Even if it’s non transformational changes. Then maybe you can. Adjust the scope. If timing is not the option, then something has to give.

Paula: You cannot have everything right. You cannot have the full scope. You cannot have, this tiny budget and you cannot have it done yesterday. You have to make some, this goes to the 

Daniel: origin, I think this goes to the origin of this call, which is leadership. And this is where real leaders need to fully, really understand this.

Daniel: And there’s this negotiation point that happens as there’s a conversation around scope or budget or time where things get locked in and you really need to gain agreement from everybody at that point because otherwise you’re locked in to whatever, [00:37:00] whatever comes out of that meeting. Yeah, that’s a very important point.

Daniel: And it’s really, it’s look, it’s an act of leadership to understand those trade offs. And I think. This comes back to the point you made about stuff that Paul had written in his book. And it’s a great book actually How Big Things Get Done. 

Daniel: It’s all that work by the Oxford guy Bent Flyvbjerg

Daniel: Leaders need just need to appreciate if you’re initiating a big digital transformation, given this is what we’re talking mostly about today the scope is pretty much only going one way, and that’s increasing. So custom timelines are going to get out of hand and they always do, right?

Daniel: But they need to understand that this is not unique to them and their project, that they’re not doing it badly. 

Daniel: This is just how the world, this is the outside view of large infrastructure projects, including digital transformations. And so it’s a real act of leadership to really fully comprehend what Paula was talking about which goes to the whole readiness discussion we’ve talked a lot about today, but certainly I couldn’t agree more with where Paula was heading with that conversation.

Lisa: Then also, linking back to the success. So if you are ready for this change and you are realistic about how big it can get, how expensive it could get, if you don’t want it to be [00:38:00] quick and dirty, then how long is it and how expensive then define that success so that you can say, yes, I delivered this and we hit these particular goals, 

Daniel: Look, these big multi year trend digital transformation I’ve been involved with on go live, I considered broadly, successes, but they’re. hundreds of millions of dollars over what they initially thought the budgets were. Like just out of this world more expensive than they thought.

Daniel: And that, that is, they’re considered successors. And this is where you get to that myth of 70 percent of failure. That’s a failure rate of by that definition, 100 percent of all projects are failures. So These projects are they are massively hard. They are massively difficult to do.

Daniel: And they take a huge amount of resources for the organization. Huge amount. 

Lisa: It’s almost yeah, you have to look at it as a learning process as well. The value is, going to be all different levels. And not just what you have envisaged. 

Lisa: GoLive could happen. And this is like people who came to me most recently, had clients with GoLive happened. And that was ticked off, but then [00:39:00] the adoption wasn’t. Enough, it’s actually, again, going back to, I think, your one of your questions, Rob, was, the longer term implications.

Lisa: You can even have success, what you think is success. We did it. We ticked off everything on the project plan. It’s gone live, that’s it. But then, it settles down and it’s not adopted as you wanted. And then you’re not, maybe it’s not a total failure, but you’re not recouping your investment.

Lisa: You’re not getting the value. People are not happy. That’s not to be negative about it, but it’s just that you need to define the success in a very broad way and you need to iterate and keep adapting and moving on because the engagement people, 

Lisa: I think that’s something else, which, I think lots of leaders do underestimate the amount of engagement that’s needed, not just comms and training. 

Lisa: This makes sense. So it’s, everyone’s going to do it. Why wouldn’t they? 

Lisa: And what that engagement looks like 

Lisa: And what might come out of it because of course if you don’t engage people and you just tell them you don’t really find [00:40:00] out, do you?

Lisa: It’s easier to hit your short term goals again but then these longer term ones are going to come back and bite 

Lisa: you. 

Rob: How can you measure that engagement? 

Rob: Because obviously, you can communicate, but communication is also what’s heard. And we know that there’s only so much, people only take in something like 30, 40 percent of what is said at best.

Rob: So how can, is there a way that you look at measuring that engagement? 

Paula: There are two sides of it. One of this quantitative, where it makes sense, and there’s also the qualitative aspect. And I think that engagement in the context of change management, it has to rely a lot on qualitative feedback.

Paula: And I’m saying that for the following reason, a lot of people think engagement is This type of one way communication where you will send out stuff and invite people to share their feedback. 

Paula: So they think that just because they’ve invited people, they’ve provided a link, which people can click. If they want to share their feedback or ask a question or whatever, they think that is engagement.

Paula: True [00:41:00] engagement is not about that. 

Paula: True engagement is actually not giving simply giving people the option to respond, but actually going out of your way to have them involved, have them participate. 

Paula: That’s why, for example, in my practice, at least, a lot of focus is on actual conversations. And I’m not just talking about focus group discussions.

Paula: I know that Daniel has also written about that, about the value of these informal conversations. And he’s absolutely right about that. A lot of the feedback you are looking for as a change manager actually comes out of that. 

Paula: But the trick, if I can call it that, and I think, I don’t remember exactly, but I think Daniel might have suggested this as well, you don’t go into these conversations with a clear agenda, oh, I’m going to have this watercolor conversation to extract information and see how they are feeling.

Paula: No, it’s about genuinely trying to connect with people as much as is humanly and reasonably possible because In any given project. If you’re working, for a global project with thousands or tens of thousands of stakeholders, you won’t be able to do that with every single [00:42:00] person. But there are these water cooler moments where you just have a human to human conversation with someone and just because they see that you are there, you’re actually listening.

Paula: You’re being empathetic. They feel comfortable enough to share things that they wouldn’t put in a survey. And they wouldn’t share in a focus group discussion either. So a lot of the feedback gets to us in, in, in those ways. But of course, focus group discussions are important. Q& A sessions are important.

Paula: Any opportunity that people get to actually express their thoughts speak their mind. But it’s important for trust to, to be there. And I know, Rob, that you focus a lot in your work about, on, on trust. And that’s one of the things that I really love about your work. Because if you don’t have that foundation of trust. You can organize all the focus groups and all the Q & A sessions in the world that will be pointless. 

Rob: It comes to mind when you say that, when you look at bad leadership, a lot of it comes from fear. 

Rob: So I think, like in the same way that there’s figures about change, there’s 60 percent of change of [00:43:00] first time managers fail in the first two years.

Rob: And I don’t know how they define fail or whatever, but I think the problem is that when someone takes over as a leader. Being a leader, it’s, they feel like they’re in the spotlight and they feel inadequate. And there, there’s a, I think a big part of it is a fear of perception of which leads to, we’re going to do this.

Rob: We’re going to make this big impression. 

Rob: And I’m wondering how much of that bad leadership is about not having that conversations is about not listening about. It’d be in one way communication. Is that perhaps something that you would say as a barrier that, leaders are like, let’s get this done without?

Rob: Yeah, 

Daniel: Some of the most effective change leadership I’ve seen was on that 2020 project that out of Sydney. 

Daniel: The sponsor we had was awesome. Like she’d throw you like it’d be, three o’clock in the afternoon. You get this phone call. Hey, I just heard this and she would on the phones constantly calling people up and down the chain, all over the world, just constantly in communication with people, talking to people, having conversations as well.

Daniel: It was amazing. She was [00:44:00] awesome. Just awesome. She wasn’t like sitting behind a computer trying to navigate things through dashboards which is a time and place for all of that kind of data and looking at it. But she was in there having conversations and that, and as such was really effective in getting that project across the line highly risky.

Daniel: We had a highly engaged audience. It was pretty extraordinary, actually, and it helped a lot because there was so much technical issues, and there was so many training considerations and people issues we had to resolve. Not having to think about poor engagement.

Daniel: High resistance was hugely helpful. So my, question though. Rob, like this is a masterclass kind of question, it, there’s so many facets and assets, to it, but I would say you need to do everything and triangulate it. 

Daniel: There’s so much qualitative data that feeds into it and you’ve got to make some judgment decision and you’ve got to assess, okay it’s a bit like that pornography the judge saying, I know it when I see it, like you, you will feel poor and get low engagement, when things are, when your change audience is not engaged or disengaged, or you really, it’s palpable and you’ve got to work through it, you’ve got to triangulate it, you’ve got to try and measure it. Surveys in this day and age, Basically pointless because nobody can place them.

Daniel: So you got to find [00:45:00] other ways to gather this data and work through it. So it’s a very nuanced. It’s a very human process. That’s for sure. 

Lisa: Where I’ve seen it work best again is. When you have people talking about the change at every level, particularly in the middle. Not just when you’ve got an event about the change, but just like a normal conversation or regular team meeting or something, not taking over, but just mentioning the change or seeing how it’s going or, connecting it.

Lisa: It’s making these connections. 

Lisa: To your business as usual, to what’s happening, to what else is happening, to career progression, success and succession planning performance management, everything. It has to, and that’s why you need the leadership alignment as well because everyone needs to, not that they need to know this is the answer and this is what we’re doing, but as you said, even opening up those gray areas, those spaces where it’s like, what is happening?

Lisa: What is happening? What’s going right? What’s going wrong? 

Lisa: And that’s incredibly risky, as you were saying, even in A risky project. You want to add more risk by asking people what they really [00:46:00] think and, trying to find out, trying to gather the resistance. You actually want to do that. And I think, a lot of leaders, a lot of people, let’s face it, it’s a human thing to do, want to try to ignore that or hope it’s not there, paper over it.

Lisa: To actually bring out the resistance, to find out what people are really thinking is. It takes a lot of courage and you will get to a better answer, but it will take longer and it won’t feel good, as you say again, Daniel, when this starts to actually come out after people say yeah, that’s fine, I’ll do it, when it actually comes to the point where you realize they don’t want to do it. It’s not a comfortable feeling and it doesn’t help you get to where you want it does help you get to where you want to go, but not as quickly as you want to.

Paula: You made some really great points there. 

Paula: First of all, when you said that leaders have to be heard and seen talking about the change on, on a regular day to day basis, not just when you have this special event coming up. And I think that a lot of leaders don’t realize that people are actually paying attention.

Paula: Is this person really [00:47:00] thinking that this is important? 

Paula: So then how come we never hear about this unless it’s a, all hands meeting or, all employee meeting or town hall or whatever again, it all boils down to these informal conversations maybe step into an elevator with a senior executive who’s sponsoring the change.

Paula: And you hear this person talking about that change as an employee. You can’t help but think, Oh that’s actually genuinely important to this person. It really matters. Maybe I want to pay attention or pay more attention to that. So that’s a really wonderful point that you made.

Paula: There’s a lot of leaders think that they only need to communicate if they’re about the change. There’s an official occasion for that. 

Paula: And the other really great point you made is about resistance and how leaders are not necessarily prepared to deal with reluctance resistance, whatever we want to call it.

Paula: I can distinctly recall this experience where I Basically talked the vice president of our organization into running some focus group discussions for [00:48:00] the very first time. I convinced him to let me do that because we wanted to build the people engagement framework from the bottom up. And this had never been done before.

Paula: So the way to do it in my mind was let’s get people to co create with us. Let’s not, come in with, Oh, we want to engage you in these ways. We want to offer you these things. No. Let’s first hear from people. 

Paula: What is it that they need? 

Paula: What have they missed? 

Paula: All along. What would we do? 

Paula: Let’s get them into this conversation.

Paula: So he was okay with that. But then when the results came in when I presented the results to him and his team, he was not very happy and he didn’t want to share these results publicly, although I had already committed to everyone to sharing these results publicly and transparently because he didn’t appreciate some of the feedback that was provided.

Paula: Feedback, which although I was supposed to be neutral now that I’m not in that setting anymore. I could definitely relate to that people actually had a good point. And, even if I didn’t think so, my job was to convey what people [00:49:00] said and how they felt. But it just so happened that I understood why they were saying the things that they were saying, and why they were asking for very specific things.

Paula: So it always comes down to, okay, we ask for feedback, we get people involved, but then what do we do with their feedback? 

Paula: Do we, swipe it under the rug? 

Paula: Or do we actually take some steps to show that Hey, we actually listen. And maybe we cannot offer you everything that you’re asking for. Maybe not at this time, but here’s what we can do instead at this time.

Paula: And, let’s take it step by step or, any show of good faith, because it’s very easy to lose trust. 

Paula: When you ask people for feedback and then they give you something that you’re not comfortable with, or, you’re not ready to hear that. 

Paula: That’s why I think resistance is another topic that should definitely be on on any leadership curriculum or, any MBA schools or whatever leadership development programs that teach leaders about change and change management.

Paula: If I reflect back [00:50:00] On my work with cultures, there are certain cultures where saying no is considered extremely rude. And as a result leaders think that just because no one is saying no, especially leaders. So when you have leaders, for example, from the West with teams made up primarily of people from Eastern cultures.

Paula: And they don’t get that no, or they don’t get any objection. It’s easy for them to think, oh everybody’s on board because no one said no. We gave them an option to say no, they didn’t. So they’re on board. 

Paula: And others, for example if I’m thinking about Eastern Europe, about the cultures of Eastern Europe, which unfortunately heavily marked by almost half a century of communism, or at least in my country you could not say no, and you could not even ask questions.

Paula: So that’s also an issue because in these countries you might have this issue where people will not, you know, Oh, I have these concerns, or I don’t think this is a good idea or anything of that sort. And that people mistake that some leaders mistake that for 

Daniel: Hey, the one thing that stood out in the story you were telling was getting the results back and then going.

Daniel: Oh, we’re not going [00:51:00] to share that. I’ve been there as well. 

Paula: It wasn’t like we’re not going to share any of that. We’re not going to share all of that. I found a way to share all of that, in a more diplomatic way. Publicly, not, not behind the Because it was what we committed to. It was, and trust was at stake.

Paula: People needed to hear what they were promised. 

Lisa: The one thing worse than not being asked isn’t there, and that’s being asked and ignored. 

Lisa: I think that the point about, the culture and that’s national cultures and organizational cultures is really important to change because quite often have a change or transformation that’s coming in that’s it not in aligned with the culture. Somebody decided this is the latest thing. This is what we’re going to become. But if the culture is not like that. It’s really difficult to influence, to implement. You can influence cultural change, but that’s really a difficult and very long term goal just doing it for that, it’s not going to necessarily pay off, but yes, also the [00:52:00] element of different cultures of people.

Lisa: National cultures particularly react to being invited to be engaged and to give their opinion. You also, whether someone’s introvert or extrovert, I think you need to think very carefully and creatively about how you engage people and get to the depth of their feeling and their resistance.

Lisa: And sometimes they don’t even know themselves why they’re resisting the change. And it can be incredibly risky for them to to say that out loud, as you were saying. You just don’t say, I disagree with my line manager, for example, in some cultures. So you have to give opportunities for anonymous or, not attributed to any particular person and look at it through the lens of systems or process or efficiency as well.

Lisa: And in that case, yeah, I think change management and emotional intelligence, it’s, it can be quite tricky and it’s not that you’re manipulating, but you just have to be very diplomatic. 

Rob: [00:53:00] Which all comes about with change. That’s really about psychological safety and so it depends, the culture is going to depend and be determined by how much safety is felt which again with trust is another element that’s going to be more resistance.

Lisa: Yeah. So it plays into the trust. It plays into ability for a team to deliver and it, I think it’s becoming more and more important in the future of work that people, if you want to attract the right people and that they can feel this inclusion and safety. 

Lisa: I think a high performing team culture, is what you want generally, normally, but particularly for a change delivering change.

Lisa: I think that’s what you need to do is understand what skills you have, what personalities you have, what roles you need to have. To deliver this change and some people are going to be change agents are going to be part time or in some people going to be full time. So I’d see this sort of change the team building as an element of change management

Rob: It seems [00:54:00] like really from what I’ve heard is the tension between effectiveness and efficiency, which when I think about that in, in conflict, when you’ve got two dynamics, it’s usually one that transcends it. So I’m thinking that maybe the efficiency is about the action, the execution, the strategy, the effectiveness is about bringing people along.

Rob: And I’m guessing that the thing above would be either vision or purpose. 

Paula: Actually, all organizations have a vision, have a purpose, more or less well articulated. And they all have a strategy that is supposed to support one of these goals or both of them at the same time, efficiency and effectiveness.

Paula: And if we look out there, all companies value both of these to some extent, but it’s hard to to balance them. So you have to look at what exactly they are prioritizing. 

Paula: If it’s efficiency, you’ll see a lot of emphasis on how resources are used and on cutting costs. Whereas with organizations that focus on effectiveness, they will put a premium [00:55:00] on increasing revenue, which is not the same as cutting costs, and I’m talking about what they show and what, of course, what they talk about.

Paula: The emphasis is also on producing goods or services. Now, of course, in practice, you will hardly find an organization that will say. Our goal is to be the most cost effective or the most efficient or the whatever. No, you have to look at what’s behind what they are saying. So for example, a company that is very focused on effectiveness might talk about innovation.

Paula: We want to put out the most innovative product out there, or we want to do this in the most modern way possible. So there’s clearly an emphasis On effectiveness, what is what is going to get us to offer our customers are stakeholders, the best possible experience. That’s what you would get with an organization that is highly focused on effectiveness.

Paula: And for example, if we look at low cost companies like EasyJet Whizzair and others, their focus is very [00:56:00] obvious and it’s on efficiency because they are paired. They’re Purposes to cut costs, right? This is their business model. We offer you this, but we don’t offer you that we minimize costs.

Paula: We give you the minimum necessary. And if you want the extra then of course that’s that can, that is possible, but it’s going to cost you so the focus there is on efficiency. 

Rob: It seems to me where the emphasis is on efficiency is where people are less important. 

Paula: It is my feeling that yes, indeed where the focus is, you can have variations. It’s not like you’re either this or that. All companies try to find a certain balance between them. Not everybody does. 

Paula: Like I said, experts think that Microsoft is one of the very few examples of organizations that have managed to get them into balance.

Paula: So you really have to look at what they are prioritizing. And of course, that can be correlated with the general sentiment, with the culture, with the safety that people are feeling, with the care that people are perceiving on the part of the organization. 

Lisa: I think it’s [00:57:00] interesting to think about that, where that always correlates and I haven’t got experience, for example, working with easyJet, so I don’t know what the employees feel, but I can imagine there are scenarios where yes The customer will see that it’s cheap and cheerful or whatever but perhaps the employee can, they can still put quite a lot of effort into employee engagement and change management, but I haven’t actually got a a specific example that I have.

Lisa: You’re 

Paula: right. You’re right. 

Lisa: Yeah, you could do that. And I was also thinking the opposite where again, I haven’t worked with Amazon, but I believe that Amazon has different tiers. So if you’re in if you’re in the factory level, I don’t think you would feel much much focus on people and change.

Lisa: It’s very, focused on time, delivery, and, no mistakes, quality and quantity. But I think if you’re in the management levels, it’s a different culture. So you’d have different kinds of culture and different kinds of, different focuses on different areas. 

Lisa: But it’s a really [00:58:00] interesting question whether there’s a case study where, you know you can balance it with extremes of delivering, but also of the feeling of the culture, it would be interesting to do some research

Lisa: on.

Paula: That’s right, you can have a bit of everything. It’s, it doesn’t mean that if you’re very focused on efficiency, then you’re going to treat your people badly. No that’s not necessarily the case. But in an extreme case where a company really pursues efficiency, no matter what.

Paula: It’s a bit unlikely that it will cut its costs only when it’s something related to the outside world, but not related to its own people. It, I haven’t seen that, but you’re right. I have seen examples of organizational cultures where the focus is entirely on the customer experience and customer satisfaction.

Paula: And change management’s done only focusing on the customers, which I found very weird. But almost no attention to these given to these aspects when it comes to internal stakeholders. So you can, yeah, you can definitely have [00:59:00] variations. Absolutely.

Rob: Did you have something to say, Daniel? I thought you were going to, 

Daniel: Oh, I think it’s been covered, but people self select into these organizations as well. You might think to yourself, yeah, I don’t want to go work for an organization that’s run around efficiency, shipping, high capex organizations and so on, they’re highly, built around efficiency and you might think to yourself, I don’t want to work in an organization like that.

Daniel: Yeah. The people who work there probably love it. That’s how they’re wired and how they’re built. 

Daniel: Likewise That same person working for Apple or something like that might go crazy with the uncertainty or whatever it is, so it’s all people self selecting the roles ultimately. But that said, for any given cultural dynamic leadership can and does impact it dramatically and can impact engagement and make people feel Welcome and engaged and happy to be there like it’s a great place to work or they can, make people feel really bad about themselves and be poor managers.

Daniel: And we’ve all worked for those in our career and the impact that they can have on a person. And ultimately it’s a leader’s job about what standards of behavior they accept, reward and promote gets cascaded through the organization. So that’s the way, again everything comes back to leadership in that regard.

Rob: It’s interesting how [01:00:00] everything is when you look at one aspect, it brings in all the other aspects. And we’re all so intertwined. 

Rob: I really like that point about people self selecting because it’s what I see in relationships is the level of relationship is down really to what people expect and accept.

Rob: It’s just a different aspect and dimension of that. We’re coming up where we’re just up at an hour and a half. If everyone’s got a couple of minutes, what I think is useful at the end is to think about what your. what you’re thinking about, what you’re reflecting on anything that stood out to you or focused more or how you feel generally.

Rob: So I’ll go first just to give people time to think. But for me, I think what most stood out is that triangle. 

Rob: The triangle of efficiency, effectiveness and purpose and about how a company needs to be really clear on their purpose, which is one of the things that I think that they’re going to get more understanding and insight to their purpose as they go through the process of change, which was right at the beginning.

Rob: Daniel, the first thing you said was, it was about [01:01:00] the iteration, it changes. I think through every change, the purpose is going to change and clarify and refine. And just how difficult it is do change. It’s like jumping on a treadmill that’s already running because you can’t stop everything else that’s gone on.

Rob: So that’s it for me. Daniel. 

Daniel: Yeah. Look, we’ve had a broad ranging conversation around. I think we focused a lot on readiness, which is a great conversation and a big conversation in the change management industry. I think right now is around readiness and particularly at an organizational level and what the implications of that.

Daniel: I think that’s been a great conversation today and something that I’m reflecting on. Certainly what I’m seeing out there with the people I’m talking to and is the need for change management is still ever present. And only gaining momentum and building still more.

Daniel: Change management is definitely on the front of people’s minds. And we start opening up this conversation about whether it was front and center. I think different parts of the world, people have awareness of it. But I think the awareness of it is growing. People are seeing the benefit of it.

Daniel: And it’s definitely when change [01:02:00] management is even there in a small part, I think it makes a difference. And then, and people see it and then the next project, they’re more likely to build on that. 

Rob: That’s right. Lisa? 

Lisa: It’s been great talking through so many aspects of change management.

Lisa: I think that’s just, again, clarified how big this subject is, how, how it touches on so many aspects and and. Just to reiterate as well how difficult a leader’s job is in business than usual, is including change and transformation all the time. So getting people involved, getting people to understand, having more education, getting people involved.

Lisa: And as Daniel said, seeing the benefits of it is has to happen. And I think it is happening as well, slowly. So it’s exciting times. 

Rob: Thank you, Paula. 

Paula: I’m thinking about several things. One of them, of course, has to do with how do we get leaders more aware of what change management is and how it can benefit their organizations.

Paula: But the other thing that comes to mind [01:03:00] is really the need for empathy, because it’s true. Leaders don’t have it easy. And there are a lot of expectations placed on their shoulders. Which is one of the reasons why I think perhaps not everybody’s made to do that kind of work. But at the same time, I think that a lot of empathy needs to be offered to the people who have to bring the change to life.

Paula: Because, for example, when I talk to people managers on my training sessions, and I ask them to reflect on their reaction to change, many of them will typically say, I love change. I want change. I’m always looking out for opportunities to change something because otherwise I get bored. 

Paula: And then I asked him the question of how do you react when someone is imposing a change on you when you don’t get to make that decision.

Paula: And that’s when I Start to see that there’s some reflection going on in there and suddenly they realize that it’s not the same thing. You can be very excited about change when you’re the one who’s calling the shots, all the shots, but you might not be as [01:04:00] enthusiastic when someone makes all the decisions for you.

Paula: And I asked them to make this exercise because I want them to realize that they’re in the privileged complicated or complex role of leading an organization, but it’s also a privilege because they get to decide. 

Paula: It’s a responsibility. 

Paula: It’s also a burden from certain points of view, but the people receiving the change are hardly calling any shots if ever when in organizations, it’s just handed down to them.

Paula: Maybe they’re involved in the most fortunate cases. In others, they are not. There’s no possibility to provide feedback or anything of that sort. So for them, it’s even more complicated. I think it’s really important for leaders, of course to be regarded with empathy because theirs is a very complicated job.

Paula: At the same time, I think that they need to reflect a little bit on what it might feel like for someone who’s merely the recipient of their decisions and their choices. 

Rob: Empathy is so key, isn’t it? I think that’s one of the common threads that runs through all. 

Lisa: Yeah, and you can’t guess what somebody’s going to think, [01:05:00] because you can be really surprised.

Lisa: You can think, oh, this is probably how they’re going to feel and they’re not. And you don’t know why, because there are all other things, lots of other historical things and so on involved. So yeah, it’s a really good point. Keep an open mind, try to be empathetic, try to get more information around the water cooler or wherever, but yeah, you can always be surprised.

Rob: Okay. Thank you everyone. This has been brilliant for me to listen in. 

Lisa: Thank you very much for inviting me. Thank you so much. Thanks for bringing us on. 

Daniel: Thank you Rob. Okay. Have a great day. Great day.

Daniel: You too. 

Share the Post:

Related Posts