A new paradigm for organisational change with Julie Hodges

“Create the space where people can ask the question “what works for me, what works for us… “

An insightful and rich discussion with Julie Hodges around managing and leading organisational change in the post pandemic context. We look at the different elements of change for individuals and teams, how HR must fully engage through out process and how to scale and build capabilities for sustainable, human centred change. 

How do organisations react to unprecedented, emergent, daunting and unplanned change in the form of Covid? What have we learnt ? What needs to happen to transition to a more inclusive and psychologically safe environment ? 

Change has continued apace but is now plateauing, providing breathing space for organisations to think about what comes next and how to define the model that’s right for them. 

Julie shares insights from her research, experience and interactions with leaders and organisations across the globe

The main insights you will get from this episode are : 

  • How do organisations react to unprecedented, emergent, daunting and unplanned change in the form of Covid? Change has continued apace but is now plateauing, providing breathing space for organisations to think about what comes next.
  • People must engage with change to make it sustainable and successful; they must be included in decisions and in implementation – what have we learnt? what has worked and what has not? what ideas to people have? will lessons learned be taken on board?
  • The individual aspect of change is very important, the different views, experiences of and responses to change, as well as the team perspective, which is often neglected. Resistance to change is natural when people lack information and/or agency, but this opposition provides an opportunity to listen to concerns and identify areas for improvement.
  • Change heightens sensitivity among employees: is it fair? is it just? how is it dealt with? The process must give managers the space to actively listen, break down an organisation into a team of teams, build capacities and skills and overcome assumptions and reticence. 
  • Change is on top of the daily job and is becoming continuous. People need space within their jobs to address, plan and implement change and build capability and skills, both individually and collectively for the benefit of the organisation.
  • Its ongoing nature makes change a funding/resources issue that also requires the ability to lead and manage it, i.e. looking at its impact on front line staff, giving them time to learn, reflect on this learning and build on their skills at a time of uncertainty and complexity.
  • Organisations are struggling as the role of leaders is affected by employees now used to more autonomy working from home. How do we manage people remotely? How does this impact on change? Culture plays a role here with innovative cultures more open to change moving faster to embrace new technology and different ways of working. 
  • It is easier to start small and change elements of a culture, e.g. by communicating up and across the organisation, creating space for dialogue and supporting multiple simultaneous (smaller) changes in the form of simple operationalisation for tangible testing. 
  • ZOUD (zone of uncomfortable debate) model for complex, hard-to-resolve issues brings them out into the open in a structured way: review the situation, listen and ask open questions, understand what needs to happen, be objective. This requires authenticity, honesty, compassion and empathy over a transactional approach.
  • ‘Hilltops’ model facilitates understanding of what people see from their own hilltops, i.e. standpoints. Both models provide a framework for and distance from emotions to address uncomfortable issues. Democratising access to soft(er) skills across the organisation will help change habits and enable transformation.
  • HR must fully engage throughout the organisational change process, and also with changes in the external environment; it must reorientate itself to be transformational rather than transactional, become more relevant, create value and be more stakeholder-focused, both internally and externally.
  • HR must also shift from a personnel approach to a facilitative role, work horizontally across functions, be flexible and develop new capabilities, e.g. digital competence, diagnostics skills, systems thinking, creative agility, intelligent workforce management and data analytics to shape new strategies and solutions, and strike a balance between process and people.

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Suzie Lewis

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