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Business Excellence World- class change champions reveal hidden secrets of career success

These questions, and many more, were discussed during the recent SAP Radio broadcast, “Success Secrets of a Change Champion.”

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We’re all familiar with the well-worn cliché that change is the only constant in life – especially in the workplace. So how should employees actually deal with change when it arrives at their cubicles? And how can they avoid getting too comfortable with “best practices” that may no longer be relevant when coping with today’s rapid change of pace?

These questions, and many more, were discussed during the recent SAP Radio broadcast, “Success Secrets of a Change Champion.”

Yesterday’s best practice is today’s bad habit

According to Sara Kimmel, Vice President of Research and Advisory Services at Human Capital Media, change makes a lot of people uncomfortable because when things are changing, they’re not entirely sure what they should be doing or how they can best prepare for whatever is coming that’s going to be different.

“The answer on how to make things more efficient and effective in the workplace was to create more structure, codify more process and practices and rules of thumb to make things better,” said Kimmel. “But the workplace that businesses and employees are facing now never really stops changing. And yesterday’s best practice can be today’s bad habit that keeps us from being competitive in the marketplace.”


So, what’s the answer? Kimmel believes the solution is two-fold. First, learn to be a better collaborator by reaching out to other people in the organization and utilize their strengths. Second, learn to be a better communicator.

“If things are changing, people need to know and they need to know what they should be doing,” said Kimmel. “They need to know how things have been changing. This is what we’ve learned about successful management in businesses today from the research.”

The courage to reinvent yourself

According to Carrie Brown, Vice President of User Adoption for SAP, it takes courage to be changed, to lead change and to live in change.

“As you become accomplished with an area, it’s good to remind yourself that there’s more that you don’t know than there is that you know,” said Brown. “It takes courage to continue to reinvent yourself and to help others reinvent themselves.”

What if employees push back? Can they still serve as a change agent without having to step up to the aforementioned characteristics?

Showing up and bringing your best intentions and capabilities and participating is part of being in the change process, according to Brown.

“You don’t always have to lead the process, but you don’t have to resist the process either.”

Removing the blinders

Marcia Conner of Impact Ingenuity found that large organizations are “beautifully blinded” towards change and are not that different from the people who are resistant to it.

“Those who embrace it are the ones who aim for perspective transformation,” said Conner. “I encourage everyone to think about what makes each individual unique and figure out who they are and how they can move forward.”

And while most organizations try to hire the smartest people they can, when they arrive at the organization, they are often treated like idiots.

“I encourage everyone to actually realize we have brilliant people around us, and we should be treating them that way,” said Connor.

Moving beyond the status quo

More than 50% of every knowledge workers’ time is spent on simply maintaining the status quo – which is a global waste of resources and a nonstop dampener of innovation. So how do we get past this? Instead of asking employees to do more, ask instead what can be replaced?

As Conner puts it: “What we can remove that is not working well today and how can we find more efficient, effective, fun, vibrant and energetic ways of working and replace those that we have been doing for so long because ‘that’s how we always do it around here’”?

By 2020, 83% of the workforce is going to be contingent. The roles people play are constantly changing and the way work gets done is changing, according to SAP’s Carrie Brown.

“People are moving from less static roles into more dynamic roles so the ability to consider what to stop doing is something we don’t do often enough.”

Human Capital Media’s Sara Kimmel agrees, believing that efficiency comes from more innovation – which comes from reflection and thinking about what you are doing.

“People are not machines. You can’t just fit more in by being busier. You have to fit more in by thinking about how things could be better and how things could be different.”

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