Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
15 Dec 2014

How to become a transformational change expert

15 Dec 2014 • by Changeboard Team

Evaluate your context

Recent research conducted by the University of Bath and published by the CIPD explores ten key themes reflecting the latest thought leadership in change management. Here we draw on this research to identify five skills and capabilities critical for HR professionals. 

In planning transformational change, truly understanding your context is vital. How can you move forward if you don't really understanding where you're starting from? This means delving beneath the surface of organisational ways of working to reveal cultural norms and ingrained behaviours. Investigatory skills and analytical capability are therefore essential when planning and designing change.

Evaluate your context

In planning transformational change, truly understanding your context is vital. How can you move forward if you don't really understanding where you're starting from? This means delving beneath the surface of organisational ways of working to reveal cultural norms and ingrained behaviours.  Investigatory skills and analytical capability are therefore essential when planning and designing change. 

Introduce planned instability

As HR professionals, we may feel the need to present change as a 'finished product', with all of the details ironed out. Actually, change programmes may be more effective if there is an element of planned instability. This encourages employees to interpret the change for themselves, and therefore build a deeper understanding of the goals.  

However, there is a fine line between planned instability and simple lack of foresight. HR professionals therefore need to carefully walk the line and know when it's appropriate to introduce ambiguity.

Tell stories

Humans are natural storytellers, it's how we pass information along and share insight. Organisational storytelling can be a fantastic tool to help build understanding about the change journey.

This should be a facilitated process, through which every employees feels that they are part of the story they have helped to create. This requires effective facilitation skills and the ability to draw out a narrative which both simplifies the change, and helps strengthen engagement.  

Build understanding through play

The age of the interminable PowerPoint presentation may be coming to an end.  New techniques are emerging which enable people to actively explore what the change means for them and their team or department. Some of these new techniques relate to the idea of 'organisational play'; the use of objects, symbols or models which can be used to provide a malleable physical representation of the change.

Having an awareness of the value of play in building understanding and engagement can help HR professionals select the right option to meet their particular organisational needs. 

Have the courage to challenge

A critical capability for HR professionals, relevant in so many respects, is having the courage to challenge behaviours or actions which do not meet the aims of the change programme. This can often involve 'holding the mirror up' to senior leaders and highlighting where the future strategy does not align with the existing culture. This requires bravery, self-awareness and resilience. 

Download the research report, Landing Transformational Change or visit Ruth's CIPD profile.