Interview: Debbie Nicol, on Change Management 

By  bem_admin

Q1. I believe that you are a Change Practitioner for organizations. What exactly does that mean?

Interview: Debbie Nicol, on Change Management


Q1. I believe that you are a Change Practitioner for organizations. What exactly does that mean?

A Change Practitioner will integrate the people into the technical aspects of a change project for one main reason – to ensure that they will produce the desired business outcomes.

Have you ever noticed how many Change Projects exist in business today, that do not produce ‘on time, on budget’ results, even while having had the best Project Management applied?

Q2. What benefits come from applying Change Management?

  • Business results achieved
  • Costs reduced
  • Mitigated risk of resistance
  • Financial outcomes met

With change, things will be likely to become worse before they get better. How much worse, and for how long depends on how well you manage the people side of change.

Q3. What do you believe to be the keys to success when managing change?

There needs to be an ambassador of change, who goes far beyond the funding duties. That role is vital and must work through consistently transferring ownership of the change to the people, yet maintaining the ‘figurehead’ position. This will add credibility and weight to the intended change. There are many techniques in how to do this, including timely, targeted and structured communication, training, and resistance planning.

In the words of Covey, we should always start with the end in mind. The Business Case for any change project must reflect what returns will be achieved. This is where change takes the people into the business, and with active, visible and consistent leadership, people willingly engage.

Q4. What do you mean by that statement exactly, that ‘change takes the people into the business’?

People are human beings, all with personal agendas towards change, with potentially both positive and negative impact.

I hear often that Change Management is simply the HR aspects, the ‘soft stuff’, where in fact that could be defined as ‘inculcating the business into the people’, a very different perspective to ‘taking the people into the business’. The latter statement implies that the people ARE your business, and are the only mechanism you have to achieve results through.

When ensuring each individual is ready, willing and able to change, and each person understands the need for the change, hears about the change, and becomes an ambassador of the change, they are now closer to being business partners. They will ensure your returns – the new IT system will be fully utilized, granting 100% return on your investment, the new processes will be quickly adopted, granting efficiency of production to the organization, the new sales team will be proficient in using the new customer-focussed sales technique, again providing returns to the corporate culture change required.

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Q5. What insights have you gained from your practical experience of change projects?

  • Organizations don’t change, but rather people change, one person at a time.
  • Understanding an individual’s response to change and resistance are critical to organizational change.
  • People will only partner with a strong ambassador of change, who actively partakes in the role required consistently, visibly and actively and one they trust
  • The greater the impact of the change on the people, the more chance of not achieving ROI, and the greater the need for Change Management.

Q6. What does ‘business en motion’ offer within the portfolio of change services?

  • Business and strategic change planning
  • On-site evaluations of change readiness or change resistance
  • Customized ‘change training’ for all levels of the organization
  • One-to-one coaching for change leaders
  • Implementation plans for change
  • Measurement of change

Debbie Nicol, Managing Director of Dubai-based ‘business en motion’, and creator and author of the ‘embers of the world’ series, is passionate about change. She works with both traditional and contemporary toolkits that move businesses and executive leaders ahead, whilst working on leader and organizational development, strategic change and corporate cultures.


Debbie Nicol

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