Skip to content

Soft skills for change: 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

The soft skills of change
Marion Thomas

Marion began by asking for some volunteers, not informing the audience why she wanted volunteers. When the first person put their hand up Marion asked that they monitor whether people could hear at the rear of the room, the second volunteer was asked to monitor the time, the third volunteer was asked to inform Marion if she was becoming boring. Needless to say, this brought about laughter and aided in relaxing the audience. As an aside the position of Toxic Handler with a team was briefly discussed, the Toxic Handler being the person who takes on all the negative feelings within the team thereby freeing the others from that negativity.

Marion pointed out that whenever she is engaged with Change, she always asks the question “what about the people.” People are vital in ensuring change happens in a successful manner. Listening and communication are very important and to illustrate this Marion introduced ‘Lets play soft skills bingo.’ Each of the audience had a sheet of paper containing a large number of words all pertaining to soft skills they were then asked to stand in pairs and take a brief moment to introduce themselves to each other – ice breaker mode. With a sudden twist the pairs were then asked to turn to another pair close to them and introduce their ‘partner’ to this new pair. A very interesting exercise that illustrated the importance of listening and absorbing what is being said. As a follow-up the audience were then asked to look at the ‘bingo sheet’ and mark how many of the soft skills they had used. The point being how and when do we use our soft skills but not forgetting to remain focussed on the outcomes.

“Getting the dead moose out from under the table” was a Canadian term used by Marion – similar in vein to the ‘elephant in the room.’ Here the thought process was bringing things into the open, not allowing them to be ‘out of sight’ but still an issue. Once ‘on the table – out in the open’ the issue is visible to all and can then be dealt with.

Leading change comes from within us with the knowledge of WHY. Changing a person or a team can be challenging and will take time and patience, employing many of the soft skills discussed. Marion provided an excellent example of leading someone in a change of direction. With the aid of a volunteer, she demonstrated the gentle and non-threatening approach, a friendly encounter resulting in a gradual and gentle change of direction.

The audience were left with the challenge of identifying which three soft skills they felt were the most important in their day-to-day roles gained from the session.


Ian Cribbes FAPM
APM People 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.