It’s funny. Every-time I go to start a Professional Year in Review post, I wanted to start with “Wow, that was a big year”. And in reality, what year isn’t? When you abstract yourself to the higher view, 365 days is always going to seem like a big unit!

This year was a big year. Much less diversity and activity compared to other years. But it was also a seriously fun year professionally. Seriously fun. Yep, I get it… what can I say, paradoxical in prose and person.

Global and agile

In February I took my first global piece of work (28 countries) and my first cloud based change work, and with that my first “proper” agile project. It was the implementation of Workday, a SaaS HRIS and the associated change in global processes, operating model, and culture for an engineering firm. It’s a good reminder how much I like the new and novel, the learning and experimentation.  It meant that I really had to immerse myself in Agile methodology and attending Agile Australia 2015 was a real highlight.

I got to work with a terrific project team, where the alchemy was just brilliant and the capability as good. My change and comms team recently ran a Lessons Learned on the first phase, and that will probably show up in a blog post in the future but some of the standouts for me in terms of our success were:

  • A deep understanding of each team member’s strengths and “overplayed” strengths thanks to a Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI)  kick-off team building workshop
  • A high trust environment with the Sponsor and the Steering Committee – they acknowledged early that change management is not something the company does well and were willing to learn and be led
  • Lots of cool tools to be able to manage globally, virtually, and nimbly (e.g. Campaign Monitor, Trello, Office Mix, Yammer)

A steady constant in Communities of Practice

The communities of practice ticked along with the Organisational Change Practitioners (OCP), the Change Management Professionals (CMP) and Change Agents WorldWide (CAWW). OCP hit a major hurdle this year just after inducting some new energy in the leadership team, with the changes to LinkedIn. It was really disappointing, after several years of much work in creating a strong community, the platform changes mean that most have walked away or spend less time in groups. CMP met less frequently but had two terrific meetups on the topic of Agile and OCM, and the role of the Coach / Counsellor / Mentor in change. We also tried a dinner party format – which meant that people left with new stronger connections and the sense of professional isolation reduced. CAWW maintained a quiet presence with quality ideas sharing from good people and the invitation to chat employee engagement with Vin Jones, another CAWW colleague.

Boredom sets in?

Creatively, I continued to struggle with discipline of blogging and change nuggets. In reflection, I suspect that I am bored with the platform. The creative inclination is there there, but… I’ve been blogging for 7 years now, the change nuggets going for 5. It might be time for a change 🙂

Change manager, change thyself.

And speaking of change, this year really underscored for me that when change managers want to make personal change, they do have the tools available to them. But often they take a less then generous approach to how they do it. It all seems to be very accelerated, with ambitious (unrealistic) vision and appreciative inquiry is not considered! Perhaps there was a reason why SDI and Agile was a big focus this year.  I also benefited greatly by engaging a coach for myself – uncomfortable at times, but worthy.

So what’s on for 2016?

I’m really looking forward to it! More so than other years, that’s for sure.

  • I’m keen to do further cloud based / agile change and it appears the opportunity is there.
  • I’m also keen to do more work with smaller sized companies (those under 20,000 employees). It feels like they are more receptive and able to embrace continuous change in a healthier way, and certainly in a cultural way.
  • I’m off to Dent the Future in March and will catch up with some of the US change management cohort then and also keen to attend Agile Australia 2016, see if my team from this year can present a case study of Agile OCM.
  • I didn’t find opportunity to present my ‘The Strength of Surrender in Change” TED style talk – but that’s ok, it will find it’s home when it is meant to.
  • I’m keen to explore Conversations of Change podcasts as an alternative to the change nuggets and wait for it…
  • There may be a book under development. !0 years post PhD thesis; I may have regained the desire to write beyond 800 words!! Yikes!

Probably the biggest change is I’m going to spend more time with me. Of the stillness type. It means I’m stepping away from the leadership roles in CMP, and OCP. I’ll also step down from a lot of the probono consulting with non-profits. Exposure to the SDI work and my coaching has meant I have recognised that I have a bit of internal team development to do. That requires space and stillness. And in the spirit of agile and appreciative inquiry, I like the qualities of my internal team very much, and I’m looking forward to the first sprint. We often talk of ourselves being a ‘work in progress’ – and it is said with a sense of disappointment (e.g. we haven’t got there yet). At this point though the ‘work in progress’ is seriously exciting me. Yep, paradox in person and prose again.

Anyway, if you are reading this, you have probably been a very valued part of the bigness of this year, the satisfaction of this year, and the support I am so very grateful for. Thank you.

Wishing you peace, happiness and and appreciative approach to your 2016 ; -)

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Conversations of Change holds a decade’s worth of discussion, innovation, and information about the practice of change. Return as often as you like to dig around for some handy nuggets and invaluable change insights. 

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