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How Leaders Can Drive Change Effectively

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Leaders are used to dealing with change. But that doesn't mean it's easy. Learn how leaders can drive change effectively, including tips for successfully leading change in a remote environment.

image of Verity Creedy, DDI leadership expert, with butterflies in the background, a metaphor for how leaders can drive change effectively, as this is the topic of this leadership 480 podcast episode

A 480 PODCAST

How Leaders Can Drive Change Effectively

40 minutes | April 12, 2022

00:00:00 00:00

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In this episode of the Leadership 480 podcast, Verity Creedy, DDI leadership expert, shares tips for how leaders can drive change effectively. Learn the first thing leaders need to do to communicate change, how to get teams on board with changes quickly, how to build energy around change when everyone is working remotely, and more. 

Beth Almes:

Hi, leaders. And welcome back to The Leadership 480 Podcast. I'm your host, Beth Almes. And today we're covering a key topic that every leader is probably grappling with right now. And that's driving change. I don't think any of us have come out of the past few years without some kind of radical change on our teams, whether we're dealing with turnover or burnout, complete digital transformation, or whether we're all working from our home still or hybrid. The list goes on about what you're probably dealing with. 

So, today I've invited DDI leadership expert Verity Creedy here with us. Verity leads our practice in frontline and mid-level leadership development programs and has us ton of great experience leading change on her own teams. Verity, welcome to the show.

Verity Creedy:

Hey Beth. Hey, great to be back with you all.

Beth Almes:

So, let's go right for the heart of things from the get-go. Everybody's getting these mandates, you've got to drive change. You've got to do this. You've got to do that. And like, forget what you did yesterday. What are leaders thinking and feeling as they're hearing about all these proposed changes?

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. Well firstly, I think you're absolutely right. There isn't an organization that we are working with or that I'm engaging with for coaching, who isn't actively going through some sort of change. And most of them I would say are fairly significant changes. So, maybe it's parts of their business that have been sold off or they've had to really drive a significant transformation because they've had to enhance their profit because they've got shareholders who are keeping a close eye on things, or it could be organizations that during the pandemic have massively grown. 

We work with a lot of healthcare organizations and we've seen some parts of healthcare really boom during this time, especially those associated with vaccinations and things like that. So, then that's a different sort of change in terms of getting new talent on board, getting them upscaled. There's a lot that has been going on.

I think in terms of what leaders are thinking and feeling, I mean, leaders are human too, so I think the prime thing is really, it's that initial reaction of what does this mean? And specifically, what does this mean really for me? So, that can bring about a whole range of emotions from fear, insecurity, and terror through to happy emotions. Like, oh, this is going to give me great growth in my career. Or this might even allow me an opportunity for a promotion. Or I'm taking on a bigger team. Or I'm leading something really innovative that I feel hugely passionate about, but maybe for the last few years it hasn't been prioritized. 

So, I think what we do tend to see and what we are really seeing right now, when we think about transformation is that concept of both change and innovation really holding hand. And they don't have to be massive, big changes. They could be just some of those smaller iterative innovations as well. But I really think there is such a demand on leaders to constantly be looking out for those opportunities at the moment.

Beth Almes:

So, if you're sitting in the leader seat right now and you're hearing, there's a certain change, you're responsible for driving. You mentioned that leaders are human and we would like to think that these are not robot leaders who are managing the workforce. But what's the first thing you need to do for yourself before you turn to your team, how do you start to kind of drive this change with yourself?

Verity Creedy:

I'm really pleased that you've called that out Beth, because it's absolutely, I think a step that is commonly missed. Lots of leaders, I think actually can go into a robotic mode or they can be encouraged by their organization to go into a robot mode, which is here's the change. Here's what it's going to mean for your teams. How are you going to communicate that? You need to get everyone on board. But actually, you are absolutely right. I think the leaders that I've seen who are most successful at leading change and really leading and driving and taking other people through change is that first of all, they manage themselves and their own emotions. 

So, there's a really simple framework that we use within DDI. And that's thinking about the phases of change as being disorientation. So, yeah, you are kind of really spinning with this change, reorientation where you're sort of finding your way. And then full integration, which is, you're on board, you're driving, you're moving things ahead.

And I think it's really such an important practice for a leader to just pause and really reflect on where am I on that sort of continuum? Because if you are really, really disorientated around the change and you are really struggling with it, when you try and communicate to your team and you try and sort of sell that change, it is going to sound inauthentic. The team is going to recognize that you are pitching something that you are not engaged with.

And on the other hand, if you are really integrated with the change and you are like a big fan, sometimes that means you might have blinders to how other people are feeling about that change. And so you just keep running at a hundred miles an hour, but everyone else is back at the start line. 

So, I think you're absolutely right. I think the first thing for a leader to do when they hear about the change is to ask themselves, how do I feel about this change? Where am I in those spaces of change? And what is that going to mean as I now start to plan to take others with me on that change?

Beth Almes:

I love using that spectrum of disorientation all the way to integration because there are some challenges on either end of those. It's not just, if you don't buy into the change, that there's a problem or you're feeling confused. It's also like maybe you've been talking about this change with your superiors for months. And you're so excited. And then everyone like, they're all feeling disoriented. And you're like, I don't understand. We thought this was great.

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. And we can't underestimate as well that we talk so much about driving change and we talk about leaders taking their teams, but sometimes you're having to motivate upwards in the organization as well. Like we definitely see with directors and mid-level leaders. They are so often sandwiched in the middle of this change between the strategic people, really above them or executives above them. And then the teams that they're leading are really the ones executing and day to day on that change. 

So, they're often really sandwiched in the middle, but sometimes they are having to communicate the benefits upwards in the organization as well as maybe down. So, I think change and influencing goes so much hand in hand.

Beth Almes:

I think that's so important because I'll be honest, I have heard a lot of stories of people whose bosses have broken change to their team, especially in a way where they're like, I don't believe in this, but this is what we've got to do. And before they've even gotten off the ground, the whole thing already feels like it has fallen flat. 

And like I said, we would all like to imagine that never happens, but it absolutely does. Like the leaders already saying this is a stupid rule, but you have to do it. So, to avoid that, what if you really don't believe in the change, what do you do so you're not just sitting there going like, sorry, team. This stinks. And I'm not even going to try to defend it.

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. I think the first thing is really recognizing that you can't talk to your team about it. You really do need to speak to your manager or a peer. And I think be really honest in that conversation. There's no harm in saying to your manager, look, I understand the change and I'm really trying to get on board with it, but I am still struggling with this talk track a little bit. I still have some personal reservations and I need to make peace with some of those before I start trying to communicate this. 

There's a leader within DDI, who I had some really good, healthy, angry debates with. And we would plan them. It was a scheduled thing that I would say, I'm struggling with this. Can we just hash it out? Can we just fight about it a little bit and have some really healthy dialogue out this because I need to get all of this out, but I also need you to really help me be convinced about this.

So, and what we'd also sometimes do is then say, okay, swap roles. Kind of like school debate teams and things like that. Okay. You don't agree. Well, now you pitch my side. So, you've got somebody saying this, what are you going to say to them? Well, it's that. It's that. It's that. And it does help you look at things from different angles and try where possible to put yourself in the different shoes of everyone who's associated with that change. 

So, I think by doing that, it does become a bit like a debate. It always comes down to two or three clear points. What you do with that discussion is you get more and more comfortable with the purpose of the change, with the bigger picture impact. And I think it does allow you more authentically to communicate that to others.

That's not to say you have one discussion with your manager and you're like, oh, I'm sold and you skip off merrily. But I think it does, it's really important that you have that discussion with them. I think you can, with your team, of course, be honest and say, "I had some of these reservations. Here's what I've learned." Or I asked that question that you are asking. 

That also shows it's not like you are completely on board. It still allows you to be very human, but in a way that you are really helping them. Because just as your point earlier, Beth, saying to the team, look, I'm not on board with this, but we've got to do it.

Actually, that truly is not helping the team. If this change has to happen, then you being negative about it is not really enabling the team to become more comfortable. So, always thinking if you are going to share with your team, if you are going to share your perspective, always just pausing and saying, can I share this perspective and is it going to help them? 

And I think in a lot of cases, when you go to that second question, you think actually this isn't going to help. So, it may make me feel good for the two minutes. But if it's not going to help them, then I really shouldn't be doing it as a leader.

Beth Almes:

I think that point is so key of is it going to help them feel better versus me. So, often as leaders, I think when there's a change, we don't want to drive. We're tempted to kind of say this isn't my fault. And so you wash your hands because you're like, hey, listen, I wasn't involved in this. Don't blame me. But you're really not doing your team any favors when you do that. 

But I love your suggestion of trying to argue the other side. And if you have someone to have that healthy debate with, that's perfect. But I'll bet you could probably do that with yourself too, if you don't have someone you trust at work that you could say, I'm going to yell a little bit or I'm going to be pretty forceful on this. 

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. And even as I say there's a lot of opportunities where you can think about the change and you can think about peers. And you're like, well they'll be happy. Okay. Well, if they're going to be happy about the change, that's the person you might want to role play this with. Let's understand why they're happy. Be really open to hearing their diverse perspective on this change initiative and also understand what are they going to be doing in terms of communicating this to others? 

Because often you can be really, really beneficial to them because they can hear some of the, as I say, you can sometimes be blinded with the optimism. The yin and the yang of this means both parties get to put each other in different shoes and that will help them communicate and engage others in a much more successful way.

Beth Almes:

So, once you get yourself on board with this change, how do you start getting your team on board? So, I'm energized now, what do I need to do with my team?

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. I think a huge, I mean, so much of the data is really showing us that a huge part of change comes down to a couple of things. So, one is around being transparent. Again, transparent appropriately. Can I share this is that first question. If you can't share it, then do not share it. But if you can share information, data, projections, rationale, that is really, really helpful and just a really transparent way of sharing information. 

I think it's also about the trust that you form, because change does make people feel so vulnerable. Whether you are changing jobs or whether there's a change in your personal life, or you are moving. Any change even outside of the workplace makes you feel a bit unsettled and it can make you feel a bit vulnerable.

So, the trust is so critical there. So, we've talked about being really authentic, I think, sharing information, but I also think it's about being really clear with the team that there will be opportunities for them to contribute to this change. So, where possible it's not feeling like something that is just going to happen. 

So, in addition to that vulnerability, you will just also just feel completely out of control. So, I think as I say, building that trust and engaging them by asking for their help, asking for their suggestions means that it feels like a much more collaborative process than a really disengaging one.

Beth Almes:

I think that's so important, it's not just happening to you, it is happening, but you have a role to play in this. So, we know that a lot of people react badly and sometimes your first reaction is not your very best self. You have an emotional reaction and then you think better of it, or you wish you hadn't. 

But you have to kind of be prepared for that. I think your team of people are going to have these emotions when you share the news. How do you start to manage that by giving them enough space, but not too much space?

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. I mean, you're absolutely right in terms of the emotions, because frankly it's a pretty chemical thing. I mean, the history of the fight and the flight, and the lion jumping up on the caveman type of stuff. The emotional hijacking that happens to somebody in those moments is real. And I think a lot of emotional intelligence, the number one piece of armor that leaders put on is their empathy shield. 

It is making sure that they are trying to truly listen to people during those emotional moments. And when I say empathy, really specifically, I'm not just talking of buzzword, I'm meaning as a leader, when you are listening to someone sharing those emotions, maybe it's dissatisfaction in a lot of cases, even moments of joy. As a leader, you should be really identifying with what are the facts and the feelings.

So, as you're listening to that team member or those team members talking to you, what is it they have an issue with and how is that making them feel? Because I think, again, around this importance of trust is that if you can communicate that back to them. So, okay, Beth, it sounds like you are feeling scared about this change specifically because of the impact that is going to have on some of your safety requirements or some of the challenges that we are setting you around safety. 

So, you are really clearly saying to them, I hear you and I hear both effects and the feelings of the situation. And I think the other thing with a lot of communication is being thoughtful about allowing some time. So, usually, like I say, most sales pitches, you have to say things three times. When you're leading a lot of change, it's really similar for leaders.

So, share the information, give some of the data, invite responses, but you are then going to lead to allow for that emotional hijacking to take place. And you are likely going to then need to leave it and come back on another day or another time, and almost recommunicate again, when some of the emotions have been worked through. And people can start listening more comfortably and truly listening to some of the perspectives. 

So, a leader that I work with example, a change was happening in the organization, quite a big restructure change. And he was so, so, so thoughtful with his communication. I mean, really, really writing out a very thoughtful and sensitive communication that he delivered verbally. And so delivered it verbally, there was quite a strong reaction as he anticipated with the merger and the restructuring that was happening.

And then when he spoke to some of the team, the team members afterwards, he was like, "They hadn't even listened to that part. And I covered that in my presentation. And I covered that. And I covered that." But people were too busy feeling that they really couldn't listen to his very beautifully drafted communication. 

So, I said to him, "You might just need to do that presentation again or pick out the key parts of it and deliver it in a slightly different format or a slightly different way, because you're right. That information just truly had not been absorbed." And that's totally human, but then you need to help that. So, I think giving them time initially, allowing people to react emotionally and then delivering that information again. But the only caveat I will say is that there is only so long you can give some people.

Though it's unlikely you will always get everybody right through to that integration phase, or you might not get them all there in the time period that you would like. So, I think a leader within DDI who I worked with once used this great phrase, and he said, "There's only a certain amount of time that bus will come round and pick those people up. And if they don't get on the bus, because they're still not engaged with the change, that's okay. Because the bus will come round. But eventually, we're going to have to start saying that bus is just not going to keep coming round." 

And that doesn't mean that you let people go, but you, as a leader, might have to say, I am just not going to manage to get them to the integration phase. And I, as the bus driver, I'm just going to have to move on. Which I think is a really hard thing for a leader to consider. But I do see the value in sometimes considering that.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. I mean, absolutely. You can't have the complaining hour happen once a week in perpetuity. Like we can express concerns. But I liked your focus on being so specific about the facts and the feelings, because as you were mentioning it, you might also get it wrong too. I mean, even when you get it right and someone says, I feel so hurt. 

Or you might say, hey, I can tell that you're angry because this is going to affect how many hours you're working or something. And someone says, "Oh, that's not my problem at all. You've totally got it wrong." And you're like, "I did not understand that at all. What was going on?"

Verity Creedy:

Then tell me again. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And actually also by pausing and really challenging yourself to listen for the facts and the feelings rather than starting off the conversation by saying to someone, look, I know there's a lot of change. You're probably feeling scared or uncertain. And then actually it's sometimes quite hard for someone to go. No, I'm pretty psyched about this. But by simply asking the question, I've shared that information with you, how are you feeling or what's going through your head. And focusing on, I am going to listen for the fact and the feeling. 

You are absolutely right. It can sometimes be very, very surprising how people are going to respond because it is also dependent on where they personally are and where they personally sit in that change and just how they're processing what that change means for them.

Beth Almes:

I think your point about giving them the space to declare their own emotions first before sort of when you deliver news is sometimes tempting to prime people. I have something difficult to share with you or this is going to be challenging for a lot of you. A lot of times we want to give a little preamble to get people ready. But they might not be as upset as you're thinking. 

So, telling them what it is and then giving them space to react, which might even be positive, is such a great tip to help that go well. So, once you have people kind of accepting what's going to happen, they've gotten on that metaphorical bus. How do you get them beyond that? So, they're not only saying, all right, I get it. I see what we have to do. But how do you get them jazzed and really taking ownership about driving the change themselves?

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. I think that's probably where that area of inviting people's involvement starts to really kick in. So, asking for help as a leader, saying, I know what we need to achieve, but how we are going to get there. There is still some flexibility forces, as I said, allowing people to feel like, oh, okay, I get to have some control over my destiny here. 

So, I think asking people for some of their ideas. Because not only are leaders human, but also leaders aren't always the smartest people in the room. And so often there will be really genuinely fantastic suggestions about, oh, well actually we should involve so and so. And I know this person who's in that other function, they've had experience doing this in a previous organization. Maybe we could get them. And they will share information and they will share ideas that you would not have considered.

And every time an idea is shared, every time there is a collaboration around this change, what you are doing is increasing the ownership that others are feeling about this change, as I say. So, it doesn't feel like it's just happening to me, but that they are really part of driving that bus as well. Maybe I need to leave the bus analogy. 

But that they really are engaging in it. I think the other thing at this stage now, when people are starting to feel that ownership is starting to really build a vision for what it will look like when the change is done or is underway, I think that's so important so you understand the purpose for the change. But now you can really start to talk about what it's going to look like and feel like when it is in place. There's an organization that I worked with for a number of years.

And they were a company, a software company that grew a lot through lots and lots of different acquisitions. So, basically as they grew their technology, it was almost because they were buying lots and lots of little entrepreneurs. What happened was then at some point they recognized they needed to start to streamline these organizations, have fewer products, et cetera. 

So, those teams that they bought, those businesses that they bought with the entrepreneur of that business, they were then saying, you're all going to have to really work together. And some of your beautiful babies just aren't going to make the cut. So, imagine those entrepreneurs who might have teams of somewhere between sort of 16 people through to 60 people. So, those smaller businesses that got acquired, and you are happy to say to them, our product's not going to make it.

We will still have roles here. And we will absolutely still contribute to this wider organizational vision. But our specific piece of the puzzle is not going to look like what it looks like today. And all of you built that piece of the puzzle. So, everyone feels really loyal, really engaged, really motivated to what they have built. But now that's going to need to change. And there were multiple leaders having to go through that. 

And I saw two of them take just very, very different approaches. So, I saw one of them who really spent some time personally grieving the loss of the product that they had created before they communicated it to others. I saw them go through those phases of change probably even more quickly, because in that disorientation phase, they didn't just say, well, I guess I've got to do it.

They allowed themselves to feel all the emotions, to connect with somebody who would remind them again of why this change was happening. And then they were just incredibly, incredibly honest and vulnerable with their team. So, they said, this is how I was feeling a couple of weeks ago. But this is where I am today. And here's where I've had these light bulb moments. 

And some of you are not going to feel good about this today. And all I'm saying is give it a couple of weeks. Let's keep talking, because I think we will have even more of these light bulb moments. And this is going to make us a really, really force to be reckoned with as a wider organization. So, just very, very human. And then I saw another senior leader, exactly the same situation. So, they managed one of these businesses that had been acquired and this leader communicated much more quickly.

So, they found out about the change. They communicated it to their closest team. It started to filter through to the organization and they were just very open. I'm really disappointed by this. I didn't think this would be happening when we were purchased as an acquisition. I told you all that we would all be staying the same. I told you because that's what I believed. And I'm really sorry that this is happening, it's really disappointing. 

But they just laid out all their emotions. But actually, it really wasn't that helpful. So, actually in terms of getting the point of getting these people engaged in the change that it just got missed. So, that first leader did have people saying and wanting to understand what the light bulb moments are. Well, actually starting to spark ideas off one another, whereas that second leader, they didn't invite anything.

It was more an outpouring to that smaller business. And so you do see the different ways that this can be done. I think focusing on that future of what this could be versus focusing on the past of what I thought we were going to be. For me, it was the clearest way of two leaders having really almost identical experiences, but just managing the change so differently. Both of them felt incredibly sad about what was happening. But they just communicated that so differently to their teams. 

And you can imagine what the results were between those two leaders and how quickly they moved through the phases of change. How they got on board. How innovative they became, versus just still looking at the past, still feeling very angry. I'm not saying leaders have to be saints. You get to have those emotions, but how you deal with them and how you then try and cast a shadow on your business and get others to come with you. It was just such a clear example for me.

Beth Almes:

It's almost like one took the path of empathy only, but the other, it was empathy plus vision. And when you add that on, it becomes a very different beast than just, let's all be sad.

Verity Creedy:

Exactly.

Beth Almes:

There's a moment to be sad, but there's so much going forward that we can look forward to and where we can contribute. And it is the nature of things to change and innovate. It's a whole part of it.

Verity Creedy:

It really is. Yeah, exactly.

Beth Almes:

As I'm listening to your stories of trying to do this with your team. Break these difficult changes to your team and get people on board. I'm thinking about how challenging that must be right now when so many people are still working remotely. Many teams have gone to permanent work remote structures, or are doing some kind of hybrid. You have experience with this yourself. It may shock listeners, but you're actually not from the US. You're from the UK. 

Verity Creedy:

At the beginning of the pandemic I was in the US, but yes, exactly. But then yes, but now back in the UK.

Beth Almes:

And I think everyone has this fear of you have to break change to people and you're doing it on some Zoom or Teams call or something. And there's that horrible silence. And you just don't know what people are thinking. So, how do you drive change successfully in this increasingly remote environment?

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. Oh Beth, what a good question. I think there are some instant tips. So, for example, the sort of in-person town talk presentations of change are very, very different to the Brady branch presentation with lots and lots of just little people on a screen. I think it does feel less human. So, even if you are having to deliver these changes, virtually. 

Where possible, I think the one-on-one and then bringing people together as a group is tending to have much, much more success because in that virtual people really can zone out. I mean, they can literally just suddenly turn their camera off or hang up. You can't really just walk out of a meeting. So, there are definitely challenges with the virtual workplace. I think you can't always see facial expressions.

I think it's really hard. It's always hard if somebody's feeling positive about the change in a sea of people who are not feeling positive about the change. I think when you are virtual, you feel even more isolated if you are one of the people viewing that change differently. So, what are some of the practical things you can do? Like I said, I think meet with people individually first and then have a team dynamic. 

There are simple things like, can you use any online collaboration tools where people anonymously share thoughts? So, whiteboards or there's lots of different technologies out there like Miro. But ways that people can anonymously, if you pose a few questions, invite those suggestions, invite people to share their feelings. And then just review them because people in a virtual format might not feel as comfortable taking themselves off mute and being the first ones to speak up.

And I think when going through that change, when you are going to have those hallway conversations. So, a leader that I work with, she's got a list of names of people in her team. And so when she's been leading a change, she has literally been going through the list. And at the end of the week saying, have I had an informal check-in, or just a little catch up with each of those team members? And she will not leave the week unless she has had one of those quick check-ins. 

So, the equivalent of like a, I saw your light was green, have you got five minutes just to simply say, how are you doing? How are you feeling? How are you doing? If you could use three words right now to sum up how you're feeling, what would those three words be? Just a couple of simple questions. But that would try and bring some informality to the support and the coaching that she could bring to her team during that time.

Beth Almes:

That's such a great tip to make sure that you're giving every individual some opportunity to express their feelings. And they're not sitting at home quietly, stewing over the problem. 

And you're saying, "How are we doing?" And maybe the answer is, honestly, I'm fine. Or I don't really want to talk about it, but at least they know they've had the opportunity to do that.

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. And even when you see people having a different reaction is to be able to say, I wonder would you be open to speaking to Beth and the team because I think you guys would enjoy discussing this and having a debate about it because you are viewing it quite differently. 

And I think you could both get real value out of sharing each other's perspective as well as what the team as a whole could get from your diversity of thinking in terms of suggestions or actions and innovations associated with this. So, like you say, the closer you are to your teams and where they are in those phases of change, the more you can really drive some of that team cohesion as well.

Beth Almes:

The thing I'm thinking right now too, is that we focus a lot of our conversation on breaking the news or the initial feelings around change. But I think one of the things on so many people's minds right now is just how exhausting the change is because it feels like it's not just one change, it's an ongoing change. 

Or it's this change and then that causes another change down the road and there's more. And so a lot of times especially as the leader, I think there's some adrenaline going upfront of like, we've got to get this right. Let's go, let's go. And then over time that can fade as people get tired and burned out. So, how do you maintain energy for change over time?

Verity Creedy:

I think the leaders that I have seen maintain that energy, I think it is because they try to not think about it as change and they do try and really think about it as innovation. So, they try and think about it as an opportunity to enhance something or grow something or optimize something, even if it's just optimizing profit. But they try and give it a positive purpose. 

And then I think during that change, they are taking the time to celebrate small wins along the way with the teams, to keep the teams' energy up. I think that's so important that people can see positive milestones as they are being reached. And I think helping the team be involved in the change, I can certainly say for myself as I've been leading changes within DDI, often celebrating those successes and coming together, the team has really energized me.

It goes both ways of the team energizing the leader, as much as the leader is sort of responsible for keeping the team energized. And so I think taking that innovation or that whatever you are optimizing and breaking it down into those small wins and celebrating those and building a real community with your team around almost that sort of sports team feel of what is it we are trying to achieve here? How are we all going to be in it together? I think makes it feel less lonely, especially when so much of this is, at the moment being done remotely. I think that's really important for maintaining the energy of the change, but the energy of the people driving that change.

Beth Almes:

Oh, that's such a great way to keep it going, keep that energy up. So, the last question I have for you is just one that I ask of all of our guests on this show. Can you share with me a moment of leadership that changed, changed, there's that word again, but changed your life, that really helped you pivot to something new?

Verity Creedy:

I mean, I think what I can share is associated with this topic of change is not maybe leadership. Something that I have done, but where I have seen leadership done and done really well. And that is when we, several years ago had significant changes in our senior leadership team and the way in which that was communicated to the business was so thoughtful and so thorough and we were having a change of CEO as Dr. Byham was handing over to his daughter, Dr. Byham. 

And so you've got a new CEO running your business. And I think that is a phase that can make a whole organization feel quite rocked. And that's where you are a family-run business, or whether you are a huge conglomerate with massive shareholders. A change at such a senior seat can make everyone feel a little bit unstable.

But for me, I just really remembered the frequency of the communication, the authenticity and honesty of the communication. The sharing of where we are going to go, my vision for the next few years. And I remembered how quickly I went from thinking, what is this going to mean? To thinking this is kind of exciting and seeing all those around me with each communication, with each discussion, whether it was informal, whether it was formal, whether it was a huge presentation, whether it was a one to one. 

People very quickly around us all seeing that. So, I think that was a moment that changed my life because it is such a significant change when you're working for a company and that happens. But also to see how it can be done. So, when I've worked with companies who have been making similar significant announcements, I have had a positive model that has helped me, I think, to be a better guide to others.

Beth Almes:

That's such a great story. And it echoes so many of the things you talked about earlier that it wasn't just done with empathy, but empathy plus vision.

Verity Creedy:

Yeah. Yes.

Beth Almes:

Here's what's going to happen. Here's how it's going to work. And it took you from this is some anxiety I'm having about this change all the way to, it's going to be some fun. 

Verity Creedy:

I think that's it. I think it's empathy plus vision plus involvement can give you some of that positive buzz rather than a negative switch off. Yeah.

Beth Almes:

Well, thank you so much, Verity. This was such great advice and so timely for what so many leaders are dealing with right now. Thanks for joining us on The Leadership 480 Podcast.

Verity Creedy:

It's been a blast, Beth. Thank you.

Beth Almes:

And thank you to our listeners who took part of their 480 minutes to be with us today. And remember to make every moment of leadership count.