Embracing uncertainty in change management…be innovative
The last reflection in May was about Build Back Better and what changes we believed were afoot – we seem to have entered a whole new phase since then, one of further uncertainty, interpretation on rules for how we physically distance, socialise and this weekend, we see a new beginning of socialisation as in some parts of the UK bars and restaurants reopen. There continues to be much debate on whether these are the right decisions or if it’s too soon, whether people will follow the guidance or not – what is a “social bubble?” and who can be in it? How many people from different households can get together? How do we return to a physical workplace…it’s a minefield and new world for most when embracing uncertainty in change management.
Leaders are navigating many unknown entities. Trying to abide by government guidance, gauge whether there may be another lockdown, understanding differing views and needs of people and running their businesses under this shroud. This is not easy. There needs to be some balance in thinking, planning and reshaping of the previous business practices and models towards the current situation and potential reshaping to a more adaptable future. This feels like a game of snakes and ladders – we may take another downward move or climb a little towards the finish post.
As a leader of an organisation, I have asked myself, as I am sure many of you have, what can we do differently to ensure we are future proofing ourselves? How can we be prepared for the uncertainty that is yet to come? How can we safeguard our colleagues and ourselves to continue the great work they have done, the resilience and adaptability they have shown whilst dealing with personal challenges, uncertainty everywhere and the work pressures over the last three months?
My answer so far has been to continue being collaborative, authentic, inclusive, innovative, smart, brave and ensure people really understand that they are empowered to make decisions safely and confidently. You never know…post COVID, this could mean newly acquired skills for the team that mean survival for businesses to thrive. For me, collective and authentic leadership – using your existing talent pool to create a new design for your business can be a real game changer, there may be ways to reprioritise, evolve, partner, deliver differently…Generally adapt to new ideas and we have definitely been embracing uncertainty in change management over the last four months within CITI.
Embracing uncertainty in change management
CITI has been talking to many client organisations and leaders about change and why during such volatile times reflection, communication, diversity of thought, respectful challenge and open mindedness are critical. Unfortunately, during such uncertain times, people can also feel out of control, fearful, protective, defensive and therefore become more insular and closed. Maybe even disempowered, neglected and at times even forgotten. Leaders need to ensure they are managing these adverse effects for themselves and others within their business through open communication, honesty and the ability to convey their real hopes and challenges for the business in order to create an inclusive space for debate and ideas. Negativity can be infectious…as can positivity, I know which I prefer.
As I write this…I am reading on the news how more well-known retailers are going into administration, how 12,000 people have lost their jobs within two days and some towns are in lockdown again. These are all reasons for businesses and leaders to think differently, to ensure the programmes and projects we sponsor have real benefits not only financially but also socially and even (dare I say it…) morally. As the world continues to change and evolve, as the virus continues to shape our future…As social citizens and responsible leaders, we can make a difference by remaining positive and remembering that when we embrace uncertainty…we begin to innovate. Together, let’s Build Back Better…
Kay Sanders, CEO
As the CEO of CITI, I specialise in change enablement consultancy, building capability within organisations to support the delivery of strategic change through effective portfolio, programme and project management. We believe that people not only need the technical expertise, but also the behavioural consciousness to sponsor, manage stakeholders and realise benefits within P3M to deliver successful change. Kay can be contacted via email at KSanders@citi.co.uk