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Reinvent or Die - Mastering Change!

by Cheryl Lyon-Hislop

Why Change is Necessary, and Doesn't have to be Chaotic!

Having facilitated change programmes from a HR/OD perspective, I’ve noticed that deep change doesn’t have to be turbulent, traumatic and tinged with crisis situations. I’m a firm believer of communication and well-planned change programmes.


If you consider the human timeline, we are used to change. We are where we are now because of our ability to adapt to new circumstances and environments. This is crucial to our survival. In an organisational sense, I pick up the negativity of poorly communicated change, especially in larger organisations. It tends to be "what happens to me/us", “I don’t know what’s happening”, “I’m not sure if my role will change”. These are worries that can be supported, even if there are likely to be negative connotations. But a company will only survive if employees thrive and deliver.

Letting Go of the Past

There can be many things that perpetuate the view of the past - previous decisions, derailing behaviour of previous leadership, and out-dated frameworks for how people work and communicate together in a global culture. Innovation and the will to change are the products of pas­sion, but many employees are stuck in bureaucracies, with little empowerment, and customers sense and experience this in the level of service excellence they receive, and loyalty is never guaranteed.

It doesn’t have to be that way, and I think organisations are learning, but companies still need to encourage proactive change. I’ve just worked with a company in Japan, working on agility issues, given their hierarchical culture and a sliding and ageing population in the years to come. There are lessons about courage, strength of leadership to break the culture, and to be able to compete with the rest of Asia, especially China and India. Japan is wealthy and will weather the storm by being more agile, but they need to attract Millennials/Gen. Z who want stability and different ways of working to current practices. The next two decades will be an interesting time in Asia.

Reinvention and a Fluid, Evolving Strategy

Of course, change can be predicted, managed and manipulated, but often organisations are forced into change, sometimes too late, because they’ve stuck with the tried and tested products and services or their strategy is static. Reinvention and a fluid, evolving strategy means change becomes a constant, not just a once in every two years, restructure or re-organisation which impacts morale and productivity. With mediocrity fast becoming a competitive liability, success depends on finding new ways to rouse the human spirit at work.


To be open to change there has to be flexibility of attitude; a sense of anticipation and a strong focus upon opportunity-spotting. Change has to permeate an organisation at a strategic and individual level. And, it’s the latter that is the struggle. In order to survive in any culture, leaders lead change, not manage it. They need to be able to motivate four generations in the workplace, all with differing needs, develop high-performing teams for the greater good, and foster resilience-friendly values.

Be Change Ready!

I've included a link to the course, I helped to create; especially the case studies and exercises, based on my experiences. Suitable for SME's and leaders in larger organisations alike. Take a look here!.

Feel free to share your experiences of reinvention below!

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