Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Naida's story - Adapting to Change

Dealing with change is often the sternest test of leadership and management ability. The following case study illustrates how reacting to change on auto-pilot can not only create pressure for individual careers, it can also have a damaging effect on the ability of an organisation to achieve its overall aims.

Naida was an HR director with a consumer products business for over 10 years. The arrival of new owners, with big plans for the company's international expansion, led to initial conclusions that new talent needed to be brought in because the old guard, like Naida, were unsuitably qualified for a global future that would bear little resemblance to a largely domestic past.

Rather than looking at what Naida could contribute in this newly expanded role, the business viewed the equation as a straight swap. Bring in someone new who was up to the task and replace a member of staff who was not. The good news for Naida is that there were elements within the company's leadership who took a different view. As well as Naida's perceived weaknesses, the situation was also approached from a retention and development perspective. Could Naida and her team be supported in a joint effort to acquire the skills that the business needed as it entered this new phase?

This company in this example did indeed take the broader view. Actioning this development agenda, they pulled together to deal with the challenges around international growth but, with Naida on the team, they were able to accomplish their strategic goals with the additional advantages of senior management continuity and the retention, motivation and development of a proven member of the team.

The above example of leadership and strategic change is a common career pressure point. Its links with work/life fusion in this case may not be immediately clear but it could be argued that the management team who looked beyond the recruitment solution, ensured that their chosen direction listened more intently to the values, talents and goals of those involved. Dropping a long serving employee speaks volumes about the value an employer places on their people. Valuing an employee's experience and offering a development path that enhances knowledge, goodwill and opportunity on both sides, speaks volumes as well but in a completely different way.

If you have an opinion on the above or want to contribute new career pressure points, feel free to leave a comment! 

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