Leading Change Beyond Lockdown: Three Essential Skills

I’ve been busier than ever over the last two years. And small wonder. This is not the workplace you knew just two years ago. 

  • 4-day workweeks
  • Really really remote work and hybrid models
  • Always online, always accessible
  • Dogs and children on work calls
  • Rising significance of mental health
  • New hires who have never met their peers face-to-face

At the same time companies are stacking up major change initiatives to capture opportunities and avoid getting left behind. It’s a change tornado. A Changenado (like a Sharknado with a wildebeest and a few flying wombats).

Every company wants speed and agility. Executives are leveraging the tools of change management to ease the pain for employees while pushing the envelope. They are spending extra dollars on behavioral change to enable them to turn the corporate bus on just two wheels, while replacing the engine and serving canapés to customers with an entire workforce on board.

What You Need When Changenado Comes to Town

A Double-Shot of Resilience
Sure, everyone says that. But what does it mean? It’s the ability to shift your focus away from doom loops to inherent strengths, benefits to others, and the long-term view. 

It’s also stress management. “Me time.” Build a checklist of activities (here’s one) that help you recharge your batteries. From walking the dog to growing square watermelons, figure out what energizes you and find ways to work it into your life consistently. 

Emotional Intelligence
People are tired, snapping at one another, and retreating into silence. Burnout is becoming a popular word for all of the wrong reasons. You get the entire spectrum of emotions during intense change, and the wrong response can cause an explosion.

Crank up your sensitivity by learning the signs of overwhelm – in yourself and others. Checking in with the team is is no longer enough. Every one of us requires strong coaching skills; More than the basics.

An Inspiring Tale
The need for good narrative has never been stronger. Employees want purpose at work. They want to see how the pain of change will pay off for people. How are we making a difference? Tell the story about how change flows into lives made better.

An Outsiders View

OK, so you’re nodding your head and thinking, “Ya, that’s the stuff we need! But how do we get it?”

In June I presented one small part of my approach to leading change to the Association of Change Management Professionals. The feedback was stellar!

“Jeff’s presentation was one of the best of the Global Connect sessions this year. I am absolutely going to integrate these tools and techniques into my work. Great work Jeff!”

“Clear, concise and immediately useful presentation. The additional tools available on your website are a great bonus. Thank you!”  

I’ve had a dramatic increase in requests for workshops on change leadership. Leaders want another perspective to help them build skills above the typical training they’ve received. Requests come in two types:

  • Work with our execs to help them develop expertise in leading change and responding to the emotional impacts on our employees
  • Teach our employees and partners how to flourish during relentless change and understand the drain it creates on leaders

Working top-down and bottom-up, the goal is to raise the level of care for self and for others. This is resilience. This is EQ.

To successfully adapt, we all need to keep learning. If you’re looking to boost the agility of your team, I would be happy to share my approach. You can read a bit about it here.

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper