Right people, right result - Leading change effectively

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Posted by APM on 5th Dec 2012

On Wednesday 14th November, we were kindly hosted by Airbus (APM corporate member) at their facilities in Filton, Bristol, with Mr Nick Fewings from The Colour Works International as the speaker.

Nick opened his session by promising interaction and humour, and he did not disappoint! He introduced his presentation by defining the meaning of change (...as a short trip from riding the waves of change to being ripped apart by the jaws of defeat), noting that 70% of all business change fails to achieve the desired goals because of 3 main reasons:

• Lack of strong leadership
• Lack of team skills and proven approach to change
• Lack of effective engagement with stakeholders

The aim of Nick’s presentation was to therefore introduce us to a colourful model of human behaviours that would enable us to recognise and value people’s differences in order to manage change more effectively. This study was started by Hippocrates in 500 BC, when he investigated reasons why people appeared to have different personalities, or humours:

• Melancholic (blue) – like orderly lives, prone to mood changes;
• Choleric (red)  – appear as natural leaders, seen as tough-minded;
• Phlegmatic (green) – observe from the sidelines and tend to comply with
   others’ demands;    
• Sanguine (yellow) – outgoing, optimistic, fun-loving;

This thinking was adopted by Carl Jung to develop the psychological preferences (introvert - extrovert, thinking - feeling etc) that we are all familiar with. This has, again, been built upon to formulate the insights – colour energies:

• Cool Blue   – cautious, precise, deliberate, analytical;
• Fiery Red   – competitive, demanding, strong-willed, driver;
• Sunshine Yellow  – sociable, dynamic, enthusiastic, persuasive;
• Earth Green   –encouraging, caring, patient, amiable

These styles can complement each other (sunshine yellow to cool blue, earth green to fiery red), and the trick here is to look for clues when speaking to people to ascertain the colour of their energy. This, in turn, will help you to understand how to interact with different people, and how to build successful relationships. Key learning points to be taken from the Colour Energies approach:

• We are a mixture of ALL four colour energies;
• We will have a preference for one energy;
• Each energy has both strengths and weaknesses;
• No one colour energy is better or worse than another;
• We tend to find our opposites incredibly difficult;
• We must value the differences to build more effective relationships;
• The colours DESCRIBE our behaviour – they don’t DEFINE us

Nick then went on to explain that change can be delivered and managed effectively, noting that “People change all the time, and what people resist is having others impose change on them”. Through utilising the diversity within the team, detailing how each energy role will change through the transition curve, you can:

• Clarify the change (vision);
• Involve Staff (skills);
• Manage resistance (incentives);
• Communicate (feedback);
• Track Progress (action plan)

Nick finished by articulating his golden rule: Do unto others as you THEY would be done unto!


Nick Fewing's background:

Nick Fewings began his career with Barclays in his home town of Plymouth in the early 80s. He rapidly progressed through various roles in the branch network before moving to senior operational and change management roles at Regional and Head Office level. On leaving Barclays, his experience in managing both people and leading the people element of projects has been effectively utilised through providing change management consultancy and development work for global organisations.

Nick co-founded The Colour Works International in September 2003 and The Colour Works has established itself as one of the leading Learning & Development organisations in the UK and also have clients in Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and the USA.

At The Colour Works, they believe everyone in an organisation can make a positive unique contribution to it. They believe that with their facilitation style, passion and cutting-edge learning, they can unlock that potential to the benefit of the individual, team and organisation.

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