Have you ever wondered how best to lead your team through change? The British Chamber of Commerce People and Leadership Group ran an interactive breakfast session on just that.
Held at the offices of Badenoch and Clark on 13 June 2018 with Andrew Notter (Director, Badenoch and Clark) and Dr Keith Amoss (Career Coach), the participants were carefully guided through key management theories and active role-play to get a feeling of what it is like to face the unexpected. The aim was to demonstrate how groups can form into teams and, if well led, how teams can accept change in a positive way.
Keith Amoss reminded the participants of the words of Barack Obama during one of his last visits to the UK as President, in 2016, that to make change happen you must be predisposed to see the power in others. He also highlighted the work of Stephen Reichter, a prominent UK Social Psychologist who had investigated the reactions and emotions of crowds and, particularly, football fans.
Creating a collective purpose
Andrew Notter engaged the audience in a fascinating role-play where everyone was invited to take an imaginary train journey, with accompanying train noises and station announcements. When the train stopped unexpectedly and people started to worry about missed appointments and connections, some insights were revealed. Essentially, people moved from individual concerns to collective ones when faced with change. People started to engage with each other and jointly solve problems. It was evident from the exercise that having a collective purpose and identity can create a positive team spirit that moves people forward together.
Supporting the early adopters
Participants discussed what they observed in the session. They noted there were essentially three main elements at play: those who accepted change readily, the “early adopters”, those who were slow to warm, and a section of “resistors”. Keith went on to explain the model of Everett Rogers and work by John Kotter on change. The lively discussions concluded that when important changes need to occur, a team leader should concentrate on supporting the early adopters and winning the hearts and minds of those slow to warm up to the ideas. While many leaders spend considerable time trying to convince the resisters, it was generally accepted that while their valid concerns should be taken into account, they may need to be worked around if the majority were to succeed.
Creating a safe environment
Building on an excellent earlier breakfast session from Claudia Neumeister and Sarah Battey in March, importance was given to creating a safe environment for team members to raise concerns and to hold crucial conversations without fear of retribution.
As a final take-away, Keith Amoss introduced everyone to the “Betari Box”. This simple theory helps us understand the impact that our own attitudes and behaviours have on the attitudes and behaviours of the people around us. "Smile and the world smiles with you", so to say...
More details on the event and the work of the BCC People and Leadership team can be found on the BCC Luxembourg website (www.bcc.lu or hr.bcc.lu).