We're answering your questions from The New Age of Change Management is Change Enablement webinar!

Krista Schaber-Chan, Managing Partner and keynote speaker in 'The New Age of Change Management is Change Enablement' webinar with the  Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) responds to your questions below. 

Missed the webinar? Read about it here

How do you become an active listener when working from home?

Active listening can be employed in any situation, regardless if the person you are listening to is in front of you, on the phone or on a video call with you. The key is to be present during the conversation. Pay attention to what they’re saying and don’t start formulating your response while they’re still talking, this interrupts the listening process. If the conversation is happening virtually (i.e. video conference or phone call), listen attentively for subtle cues such as changes in tone of voice, word choice or pauses and silence. Once the person has stopped speaking, ask questions or for clarification to show that you were listening. Additionally, summarizing what they have said is a great way to show active listening while also confirming that you understood what they were saying to you.

How "tactically" do you teach/guide leaders about the impact ego can have on their roles? Can this "ego" be changed? Is ego fixed?

When it comes to ego, understanding its source will help you identify how it should be addressed. Here are a couple questions you can ask yourself:

  • Does the person exhibit signs of victimism?
  • When they’re presented with a situation that might be an inconvenience, is their response logical or pragmatic? (i.e. it is understood that people run late, have technology issues, or have the time zone confused).
  • Or is their response one of imagination or ego? (i.e. do they believe that the person who is late doesn’t respect their time or has done this intentionally).

The difference is that when ego is present, we react based on our emotions and create narratives that are untrue. Many people will already know that they exhibit these behaviours and will want to shift if they can, but often don’t know how. It’s important to be able to identify these types of behaviours and address them in a clear and kind manner.

Do methodologies such as ADKAR require reworking if we are more of a "change enablement" business culture, versus change management?

Following the stages in a change curve such as ADKAR is very beneficial for enabling change. The stages that we go through during a change are always present and having a marker for these stages are important for navigating and enabling our own change journeys, and supporting others through theirs as well.

What is your "go to" strategy for coaching leaders who truly believe they are "enabling" and "empowering" but are really focussed on "managing" and "ego?"

To quote Brené Brown - Clear is Kind. Meaning, my go to strategy with leaders is a direct approach. We cannot fix what we do not know is broken. If I am working with a leader who is not ready to hear the message, this is not a problem any amount of coaching, discussion, or strategy will fix. This message needs to be expressed directly.

How do you make someone accountable for their part of the change when you don't have positional power?

One’s own ability to take responsibility and be accountable for themselves is not bound to positional power. Change happens at the individual level, on person at a time. So, it is in every person’s power to decide to change or not to change. Having a formal title doesn’t guarantee it will happen and not having a formal title will not impede it.

How do we practice active listening if others don't want to use video, but you do?

Working in a virtual environment can be exhausting, maybe even more so than in person. Understanding people’s preferences for virtual communication is important and we should respect those preferences as long as the general principles of virtual workplaces are being followed. It’s okay if someone wants a break from using video, active listening is more than being able to see someone visually. You can still actively listen to someone by paying attention to other cues like inflections in their voice, changes in tone, or their word choice.

When you say change management, how often do you need to define what this means? Especially across IT departments and their definition of ITSM (service management) change management/control.

At Harbinger, we use the phrase “people change” or “business and people change” instead. I find that this removes the uncertainty of the type of change management that’s in question.

Any guidance on change enablement when workforce dynamics have been upended due to COVID? Most white-collar workers are working remotely - any guidance on change enablement due to remote working circumstances?

COVID-19 has certainly disrupted many people’s ways of working. Organizations, leaders, and individuals have been forced to pivot quickly in order to keep their businesses operating. This change is still something people are adjusting to, and in this virtual world we’re now living in, change enablement has become more important than ever. The playing field has been leveled, allowing everyone to work, engage, and express themselves differently. To support this change, focussing on personal accountability is important. If each person feels accountable for their own success while seeing the value in supporting their peers, change enablement will shine through.

If you’re looking for support in developing these change capabilities in your organization, Harbinger is happy to help. We’ve put together a resource hub for small-medium sized businesses where you can access free resources to help you manage change during disruption.

In Change Management, it's pretty clear what a change practitioner/leader needs to do and where we can make a difference. Besides identifying and enabling influencers and informal leaders, what type of role do you see the traditional change practitioner/leader playing?

One role that we often play and should aspire to is being the “trusted advisor” - this means being the sounding board for your client (internal or external client) and providing that safe place for your sponsor or executive to move through the change themselves. We expect a lot of formal leaders when a change is happening and sometime forget they too are going through a change.

One role that change practitioners should be careful not to take on is becoming the face of the change. I see this all too often when a change manager has been engaged for a project and starts to become a visible leader of the change or becomes the face of the change itself. As change practitioner, we need to be aware of our own egos and try not to take on the role of the “hero”. Our key role is to engage the business and their leaders to be the face of the change, we should be behind the scenes supporting and enabling the client to lead and champion their own change journeys.

What's the difference between informal change leaders, change champions or a Change Agent Network?

Sometimes they’re the same. But generally, a change champion or a Change Agent Network is created for a specific project and may include SME’s. However, an informal change leader is someone who is capable of navigating change as it happens to them, and can support their peers through changes even when they’re not large or formal.

For example, a company is implementing an ERP or other new technology, there is a project team that has been assembled and part of that team is the Change Agent Network. This network of people are most likely SMEs for their own business units and might even be a part of the project’s functional team. But on the other hand, an informal change leader would be someone in the company who has been trained in the basics of change management concepts and are part of the organization’s business units who are naturally supporting their peers. They’re the ones who are constantly helping their peers navigate minor changes such as, how to find their pay stub online, use the newest version of MS Office or simply update software on their computer.

Thank you to everyone who attended 'The New Age of Change Management is Change Enablement' webinar for your questions.

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