HR Hartlley

Dust of your best suit and brace yourself

Believe me, I know my Kotters from my Kanters, and find change management a
fascinating subject, both in theory and practice.

I am all for ‘selling the vision’ and in doing so, as a reformed teenage
pyromaniac, I have created more than one burning platform – only some of which
were intended to create change.

Change is good – except when it is in your own backyard.

I advocate bringing on the change agents and throwing out the handmaidens.
But when it happens to you (as it did to me a few weeks back), all the theory
in the world can’t rationalise those most basic of human emotions – fear,
uncertainty and the need for fags and booze.

We made a new senior appointment – ‘senior’ senior. When I was told about it
(four hours before the rest of the business), the first thing I did was look
around for an ashtray.

So how did I deal with it? Well, after three days of flapping, I made a
plan: ‘my first 100 days with my new boss’ – and dusted off my best suit.
Whatever happens, always look showbiz.

So far, we have reached day 17 – the wheels are still on the wagon, and I
intend them to remain there. So why bring up the saga now? To impart my
learnings, of course: always keep your best suit clean, and remember what it’s
like to be on the receiving end of change.

As HR, we’re privy to almost everything within our organisation. That gives
us a certain calm in dealing with change. The rest of the business must feel
the way I did more often than I’d realised. When we’re managing organisational
change, we should make the vision a little more compelling, the climate a
little more temperate. Think twice about dousing the platform in petrol before
setting light to it.

Hartley is an HR director at large

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