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Category Archives: Change Management Tools

In the post-pandemic workplace, the “new normal” has become the “now normal”

now normal

As the temporary pandemic restrictions start lifting in many areas of the country, it is clear that the world of work is nothing like what it was before.  What we thought was the “new normal” has become the “now normal”, subject to repeated mutations and variations.  As I reflect on numerous conversations with leaders in client organizations, the anticipated changes in the upcoming months as people return to their workplaces fall into three main areas.

  1. People will return to work gradually
  2. There will be increased requests to work remotely
  3. Face-to-face protocols are forever changed
Welcome to the “now normal”

In this morning’s edition of The Globe and Mail, I address these three changes in my regular Leadership Matters column, and also offer up ideas for what it will take to thrive in the “now normal”.

In the post-pandemic workplace, the ‘new’ normal is just the ‘now’ normal

If you’re a paid online subscriber to The Globe, here is a direct link to the column on their site: https://tgam.ca/3eJXdGv

I’d love to hear more about your experiences as the pandemic restrictions are being lifted in your workplace.  What are the plans for your organization?  What has changed/is changing as more workplaces open?  What is working well and what is not?  Please share what you are observing and hearing about, so that we can exchange ideas.  Please add your comment below. 

I write a regular monthly column for The Globe and Mail Report on Business, under the banner of Leadership Matters.  Here are links to some of the more recent ones:

How to communicate unpopular decisions and changes

Sometimes, as a leader, you have to communicate (and implement) unpopular decisions and changes.  Even worse, you may often find yourself charged with communicating or implementing decisions that you don’t agree with yourself.    Yet workplace change is an endless reality.  Shifting expectations, advancing technology, moving targets, toss in a pandemic for good measure; and change fatigue is not only real, but often debilitatingly painful.  Is it any wonder then that so many of the people you work with resist change?

So as a leader, how can you communicate unpopular decisions and changes that you know will not be liked or accepted while still maintaining trust and your credibility?    The answer is: thoughtfully; deliberately; with honesty and openness.

There are six things you need to focus on

In my latest column for The Globe and Mail that published this morning, I list and explain the six things you must focus on as you craft and deliver a message that you know will be disliked.

How to communicate unpopular decisions and changes

unpopular decisions

If you’re a paid online subscriber to The Globe, here is a direct link to the column on their site: https://tgam.ca/2TYfg3j

So the recent pandemic has created a lot of change in workplaces, and we’re not done yet!  As restrictions lift, many workplaces are making significant changes – staggered working hours, physical distancing, altered procedures, just to name a few – how are you and your people managing?  What are your biggest challenges, and how are you dealing with them?  Please share your experiences, and the solutions you’re trying, so that we can all learn from one another.   Add your comment below. 

I write a regular monthly column for The Globe and Mail Report on Business, under the banner of Leadership Matters.  Here are links to some of the more recent ones:

Nomophobia. Should leaders be concerned?

Nomophobia

Nomophobia.  Ever had that moment when you’ve left the house and are on your way to your destination when you suddenly realize you left your mobile device on the hallway table, or plugged in and charging on the kitchen counter?  Yeah, that moment when your palms and brow break out in a sweat, or your heart starts to beat faster, or your anxiety level goes up (or all of the above!).  I mean, what if someone tries to call you while you’re out, or if you need to look up something on Google, or an important email comes in?  How will you cope?!

Okay, sure, I write this a little tongue-in-cheek, but also because it’s not that unusual, it’s happened to the best of us.  What may surprise you though is that this is actually a thing – it has a name – nomophobia (no mo-bile phobia).  It is a real condition, described as the irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery power.  And recent research out of HEC Montreal indicates that nomophobia can lead to chronic stress and reduced job performance.

So what should leaders do?

So what should a leader do to mitigate the negative effects of nomophobia?  Well, I can think of two directions to pursue.  Continue reading

Coping with disruption – practical strategies at an exciting event this June!

Coping with disruptionI am thrilled to be one of the featured speakers discussing “Coping with disruption” at the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta Elevate Your Mind Professional Development Conference being held in Calgary AB this June 7.  And just as excited to be featured in the Spring issue of Dividends Magazine, going out to over 29,000 CPAs in Alberta.

This year’s conference poses the provocative question: Have you ever wondered what the brink of a technological revolution signifies for the profession and how your role as an accountant might change in an era of constant disruption?  The answers are to be found in a variety of presentations at this event, all focusing on the future of the profession in relation to the digital age.  My session is titled “How to Prosper – Practical Approaches to Thriving in Disruption” and it will address coping with disruption – specific strategies to survive and thrive in age of rapid transformation.  Here is a link to my interview that was published in Dividends magazine.

So … are you going to attend?  It is THE place to be if you are and Alberta CPA.  Do drop me a note (or just add a comment below) to let me know if you’re going to be there.  I look forward to seeing you!

Last summer, I wrote a column for Canadian Accountant titled How to prosper in the age of accounting robots, which addressed many of the issues that will, no doubt, come up at this event on June 7.

Disruptive innovation … do you know the warning signs?

Is it possible for a small young company to outperform an industry titan, for David to beat Goliath?  Yes.  Just ask Uber, Netflix and AirBnB.  Upstart Uber became one of the world’s largest taxi companies without owning a single taxi.  Netflix revolutionized the video market, essentially putting Blockbuster out of business.  AirBnB has become an accommodation provider to be reckoned with, without acquiring a single piece of real estate.  It’s called disruptive innovation.  And many a senior leader across North America loses sleep over whether it could happen to their company, and perhaps more importantly, how they could prevent it.

Disruptive innovation is often overlooked

Historically, established corporate leaders don’t often see disruptive change as a hazard, usually because it starts when their own company’s profitability is robust and the competitive impact is minimal.  However, by the time the threat is conspicuous, the disruptive force has already gained so much traction that any efforts to reverse the tide are futile.  So what is really needed is an advance warning system.  Which is exactly what I cover in my latest column for The Globe and Mail, out this morning!

How to spot the warning signs of disruptive innovation before it hurts your company

In this column, I identify three specific actions leaders can take to assess whether their company and industry will come under attack, well before the threat becomes a reality; three things you can do to ensure that you don’t become collateral damage when your market niche is disrupted.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2KFP2zO

So I’d love to hear your experiences and perspectives on disruptive innovation.  What have you observed in your industry?  What have you seen that leaders have done really well, or missed completely?  Please share by commenting below.

Braving the tides of a shifting retail industry

My latest regular column for The Globe & Mail published over the weekend in their Saturday edition.  It was inspired by two significant, yet polar opposite, events that occurred just recently in Canada’s retail industry.  The impending closure of a Canadian institution, Sears, contrasted with the almost-manic expansion of the online retailer, Amazon.

Braving the tides of a shifting retail industry

In What it takes to thrive in a shifting retail industry, I’ve compared Sears to Amazon, emphasizing that traditional retail is being replaced by options that promote less interaction with people and more interaction with systems.  This past weekend was Grey Cup weekend in Canada (Canadian football, for my non-Canadian readers).  So I’ve used the evolution of the quarterback as a metaphor for the shift in the retail industry.

Would love to hear what you think!

As always, I would love to hear your perspectives.  What do you think is the future of retail as we see it today?  What are the skills needed to adapt and thrive in the changing retail landscape?  You can either add your comments directly at The Globe’s site, or post your response here on the blog.

Sometimes, The Globe puts my columns behind their paywall. If that happens and you are unable to access the article directly through the link above, we will shortly be archiving a pdf version on the website at this link.

P.S. I’d like to gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance of Jeff Sharpe, a leader in one of my client organizations, who gave me invaluable assistance in getting the football metaphor right.  Those of you who know me well are fully aware that my in-depth knowledge of sports is limited 🙂 , so I am very appreciative of Jeff’s help.

You are a role model for workplace change that you’re leading … so walk the talk!

I started this video tip series on how leaders can successfully implement workplace change back in June, and today is instalment #15, which will be my final piece of advice in this series.  I hope you’ve enjoyed them and found them of value.  If you want to see all of them in one place, you can find them in the Video section of our website (under the Tools tab).  Here is a direct link: http://www.turningmanagersintoleaders.com/tools/videos/

My final tip in this series for leaders who are managing workplace change initiatives: recognize that you set the tone.

Recognize that you set the tone

As a leader, by virtue of your position and title in your organization, you are a role model.  Which means that you need to understand that you play a key role in the success of your workplace change initiative.  Your behaviour and actions will set the tone for how your employees will behave and act; it will establish the culture change that you are seeking for your department or your organization.  Truth be told, you cannot expect your employees to change if you’re not willing demonstrate that you’re willing to make changes yourself.   So it is essential that you walk the talk.

Walk the talk

Do as you say.  Continue reading

Workplace change will shift priorities, so address it as a team

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a video blog about how leaders can successfully support and implement workplace change.  Three weeks ago, to be exact (Use peer pressure as a positive force in change management).  But this series has been so popular that I’m not done yet.  In addition to today, I’ll do at least one more tip before I finish up this series on effective strategies for leaders who are spearheading workplace change.  Today’s tip: Re-prioritize as a team.

Re-prioritize as a team

When workplace change occurs, by necessity, priorities will shift as well.  If you’re putting in new or different procedures or processes, then recognize that these require effort and time, and your staff members simply cannot do everything the group did before.  Involve your team in determining what can drop off the list, even if it is just temporarily.  Ask your team, as a group, to rank order all their current work deliverables and focus on those that they and you consider mission-critical.  Non-essential work can them be prioritized separately based on its relative importance and your available resources.

Do not fall into the trap of going it alone

It’s important that you do this re-prioritization as a group, because that’s how you’ll achieve buy-in to the outcomes.  You will recall that Strategy #1 was to involve your employees early on in the change process.  This is simply a continuation of that philosophy.  Continue reading

Use peer pressure as a positive force in change management

Two weeks ago, I gave you change management strategy #12: Use your early adopters to build momentum.  This series has received a lot of positive feedback so I have decided to continue it for the next few weeks, so here today is change management tip #13: Use peer pressure to your advantage.

Use peer pressure to your advantage

When I talked previously about using your early adopters to build momentum, I explained what early adopters are: people who are not only on board the change bus, but already moving the bus forward.  These early adopters can often serve another useful purpose in change management – they can also unintentionally create peer pressure, a fact that you can use to the benefit of your change management initiative.

The reality is, whether you like it or not, messages from co-workers and peers are perceived differently by your employees than messages from you, their supervisor or manager.  You may be the nicest and most communicative person in the world, but because of your job title, because there is a reporting relationship between you and your employees, anything you say is received with a filter.  Good or bad, the message is always distorted by this filter called “you’re the boss”.   Continue reading

Change management strategy #12: build momentum by focusing on early adopters

Continuing in our ongoing series on the tips and strategies that leaders can use to achieve successful change management, here is change management strategy #12: use your early adopters to build momentum.

Use your early adopters to build momentum

As a leader you know that every change initiative has some employees who come on board faster than others.  These are the people who may have expressed some denial or anger at the beginning, but are now not only accepting of the change, but actively involved in making it happen.  I call these employees “early adopters”, and you can take advantage of their energy in a positive way!  Give your change management process a power energy shot by using these employees to build momentum.  Instead of doing all the hard work yourself, let these team members multiply and extend the excitement. Continue reading