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What has COVID-19 taught us about Change Management?

Posted 27 May 2020
by Caroline Mills

Outside a few individuals globally, I am not sure too many people might have predicted the current situation we find ourselves in.

What a whirlwind it has been and a great reminder in a way that we all do have both different and similar responses to change, especially when we are not necessarily in control. Whether it is the Kubler Ross grief curve, Fisher's transition, or any other model of change, it was a great leveller in some ways and a reminder about the journey we do all go through with change. Certainly, as a business owner, it had its high and low points on the rollercoaster, and I am working hard right now to hold a metaphor of being an excellent surfer riding the waves with the surf being up at the moment!

Talking and working with a lot of organisations over this time and also with a lot of the Heads of Change in our community there have been some really common themes people have found so far.

  • COVID-19 remote working has all the classics of when change can work – burning platforms, joint goals, business, and technology working together, and good support for resilience and wellbeing for our people
  • That on the back of the above "classics" we need to find ways to capitalise on showing executives how change can be done successfully
  • There is some concern that organisations and executives might expect change can be done that fast EVERY time without understanding the impacts of that long term
  • Some organisations are reporting an increase in productivity (largely measured in teams like contact centres)
  • There has been an increase in attendance at events like webinars and virtual events
  • People have connected on a deeper level  - this really is the whole person to work and has levelled us in a way that we have not seen before
  • It places clear expectations on leaders to lead
  • Lots of discussion around returning to workplaces and that there may not ever be a full return to work for some long period – some organisations looking at 30-50% of people in the workplace at one time, some looking to reduce commercial real estate
  • Remote working is here to stay – any pre-conceived ideas about that are gone – its clear people can do it – we now need to move to THRIVING in remote workplaces

So yes, in some funny way, digital transformation of a sort happened overnight and now organisations need to look to capitalise on what they have achieved and look for those opportunities to go beyond SURVIVE into THRIVE in this world.

We have also heard from a lot of our change & project community that a heap of virtual tools is being used to help manage change remotely. If you have not got your head around these tools, consider things such as:

  • Microsoft Teams – use of video, chat, teams, whiteboards, integration with Planner and the like to have Kanban boards available
  • Virtual technologies like mural, padlet, miro to collaboration, postit notes
  • Video technologies like Zoom, GoTo Meeting and webinar, webex – conducting meetings over video technologies rather than just on the phone

I hope you are all doing OK and are finding a way to navigate the waters. Remember to join us in our virtual events if you are looking for ways to connect and reach out to me if you think I can help you or your organisation.

Go well…. Caro


Allegra Consulting acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.