Skip to content

Crowdsourced solutions to your common change challenges: Fearless change

Added to your CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Only APM members have access to CPD features Become a member Already added to CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Added to your Saved Content Go to my Saved Content

Fearless change – taking your people with you on the journey
APM Conference jointly organised by People SIG and Enabling change SIG
London, 8 March 2023

Crowdsourced solutions to your common change challenges
Donna Unitt and Ian Pickard

At the APM’s recent ‘Fearless Change’ Conference, Donna Unitt and Ian Pickard from the Enabling Change SIG facilitated an interactive seminar on approaches to supporting people through change. It was an interesting and insightful discussion thanks to the enthusiastic participation of our attendees who had a range of different opinions and experiences.

The group recognised that the current social, economic, and political conditions make successful organisational change challenging to achieve. This escalation – in the difficulty of delivery – invokes the term of VUCA. The acronym VUCA is often used to describe this challenging environment with VUCA standing for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Each of these descriptors makes it more challenging to manage change successfully and lead people to a new way of working. Attendees also highlighted the challenges of managing multiple projects simultaneously and inheriting projects that had been started by others.

The group recognised the importance of developing an in-depth understanding of stakeholders to formulate effective strategies to engage, empower and support them. Consequently, our seminar was characterised by a people-centric discussion on the challenges and opportunities of leading people through change. The group shared real life examples of the challenges and complexities they were facing in their own projects, and we reflected on different approaches and techniques to tackle these. This blog highlights some our crowdsourced solutions to the challenges we discussed.

1. How to introduce change to stakeholders when you don’t know all the details?
When introducing change to people, ensure to focus on explaining the ‘why’ in addition to the ‘what’. This is especially important when we don’t know exactly what will change - the rationale for change usually remains a constant. Providing stakeholders with an understanding of the logic and rationale that drives the change will satisfy our inherent desire for meaning and understanding.

2. How to prepare people for what the future holds (or doesn’t)?
Consider using the ‘Postcard from the future’ exercise to help people connect to the desired future state. For this exercise, ask participants to write an imaginary postcard to their current self from the perspective of having been through the change. This helps to bring the future to life and encourages participants to consider what it will mean for them specifically. Furthermore, acknowledging the losses that will result from change is critical to managing the expectations of stakeholders in addition to building credibility as an open and honest leader.

3. How to engage with stakeholders who are experiencing change fatigue (lots of change all happening at the same time)?
Consider piloting the change in a small area of the organisation – this will be easier and faster to accomplish than managing the change all at once. Crucially, piloting the change will generate quick results which we can use as evidence to boost future enthusiasm for the change.

Matthew Lawrence
APM Enabling Change SIG committee member


Read the conference overview and view other presentation reviews.


Join the conversation!

Log in to post a comment, or create an account if you don't have one already.