#SHRM21 - Speaker Interview with Buddy Bush, The Change Curve

I had the chance to connect with Buddy Bush, an Executive Coach and Team Accelerator with JB Training Solutions. Buddy is presenting The Change Curve: Managing Uncertainty and Ambiguity Within Your Organization at #SHRM21 on Saturday, September 11, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. PT.

The topic of change has always been relevant to the workplace. As the old saying goes, "The only thing that stays the same is nothing stays the same." Change is inevitable. How we manage through change, and support our teams/employees through change is where the rubber meets the road. Buddy has identified the following learning objectives:

Identify the stages of change and manage the situation purposefully.

Learn how to influence executives to be transparent and keep culture at the forefront of any change.

Learn how to best lead during the different waves of change.

Identify the tools needed to overcome resistance and manage difficult situations effectively and directly.

Instill hope and confidence and champion a “we're in this together” attitude throughout the organization.

What were the factors that led you to speak on the topic of change? Just like a black cashmere sweater, the topic of change management is timeless and looks great on everyone. Why do you think change in the workplace can be so difficult to manage?

We are humans, not computers. We can not expect to run a system update overnight and think everyone will reboot at the same time. (Hummmm… it is sounding like I have an IT background with this analogy, but I do not.) We bring our past experiences, our current mindset, and our future priorities to each situation. This means that each member of the team is going to respond in a different way at a different time. This unpredictability makes change feel difficult to manage. ​

Do you think that organizations, leaders, HR, and employees were ready for such drastic and swift changes to the way we work from the start of the pandemic to now? Most of my clients were already moving towards more flexible/location-agnostic work environments. The pandemic acted as a rapid accelerator. What many leaders and organizations learned is that they could move faster than they thought and their people were far more resilient than they expected. ​What are some of the main challenges that leaders face as it relates to change in the workplace? Setting a tone of realistic optimism, prioritizing initiatives, managing the balance of empathy and accountability, taking the time to celebrate successes…. this could be a very long list. ​

What are some of the ways that HR can support their companies through uncertainty and ambiguity? Constant updates, even when the update is that there is no update. ​What are some of the biggest mistakes that leaders/HR can make in this area?

Spending too much time defining the future state and rolling out the up-front communication, but not adequately supporting their people in the transition. It is the transition that is challenging. Not the change. ​What is one of the ways that HR can have the biggest impact on the change curve? HR can help leaders think through the stages in advance. If we can anticipate objections, we can better cushion the fall. ​What is the number one thing you hope attendees of your session will take back to their workplace? We can not jump from phase one to phase four. We have to work the curve and the best way to deal with change is to help create it.


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