Reflections on my learnings from COVID-19 in relation to Change Management

Wednesday, 24 June 2020 - 1:56pm

Amanda Tooth, independent Trainer and Consultant, reflects on how we can manage change in this very uncertain time.

It would be fair to say that over the last few months I have reflected on many things and I would like to share a few reflections and my top tips on implementing and managing change.      

As a specialist ‘change’ consultant, trainer and coach, I take away as much from the people I coach and train as I contribute to their development and growth. It’s a genuinely reciprocal relationship.  However, the last few months have brought such rich learnings for me due to the honesty of the people I have worked with in sharing their experiences of managing change on the frontline during COVID19.  

Staff, managers and CEOs have shared their first-hand experience of how they have had to dive straight in to unchartered waters with little or no time to prepare. Managers have described how they have had to respond to significant change – in relation to both the organisational change process and human change process – and the challenge of trying to keep so many plates spinning while adapting to the change themselves. 

When I stepped back to reflect on what had supported the change process across these organisations, I noticed some common themes.  Those individuals, teams and organisations who had managed to navigate these unchartered waters most positively, were embodying the philosophies and using the tools (either consciously or unconsciously) which I had for so long believed in. 

For me change is quite simply about keeping your eye on the big picture without ever forgetting about the details. It is a fine balance between driving forward the needs of the organisation and taking the people with you in the passenger seat.  In order to do that you need to know your people, you need to involve them, and you need to listen to them.    

I believe that the key to doing this is to have a well-developed toolbox and the awareness to be able to use the right tool, at the right time, with the right person. 

The difference between an organisation surviving through change and thriving through change, is not how well the change is managed (although that is very important) it is how well the change is led.  It is about trust, consistency and clarity. 

My top tips on implementing organisational change are: 

  1. Clear, transparent, two-way communication
  2. Genuine engagement and involvement
  3. Authentic change leadership

How do you provide authentic change leadership?

  1. Develop your toolbox and keep it updated
  2. Develop your ability to be reflective through self-reflection and peer reflection
  3. Develop your awareness and ability to be ‘present’ and focused on the task in-hand.

Remember there is only one constant in life and that is change which can feel unsettling when it’s not initiated but the secret is how you respond to it, and that is in your hands.  So, take-back the reigns of change and feel how exciting change can be, embrace the opportunity to be creative and grow.

You can find out more about Implementing and Managing Change here as part of the next online training that I am delivering for Homeless Link.