Perspective taking – 4 tips on how to help engage and support your people through change

Three6 | 11 May 2020



“Hi everybody and welcome to another little training video from the Three6 team…

Today I want to talk to you a little bit about perspective-taking and using that as a tool to really help engage and take your team members on a bit of a journey through this process and help and support them as we go through this change. Now, as we know, coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing a big impact on the way we work, how we do it, and therefore our change impact that goes along with that. It’s a massive change and there are some key things that we can do to really help to understand where our employees are at during that journey and help to get them through the other side and make this as seamless as possible.

We’re not just talking about work itself, but all the things that impact people around that. So whether that’s the home life or other factors that are going on all work, when you are back and we see that that as a whole. We’re going to be using some different change methodologies and I’ll hopefully give you four key quick tips at the end that will help to solidify those things for you, and also give you a couple of personal examples.

The first thing I wanted to talk through and the first graph I’ve got behind me on the wall, and hopefully you can see it in detail, is just a standard change curve. Now up here on the side, we have motivation vs performance, and down the side we have time. Now over a period of time with the change, every single person goes through different emotions. Sometimes we think that people might not go through them, but often there’s this really short period of time that we do, and it will be different and unique for every single person that does that. Now some of these things on this change journey go from shock to denial, anger, depression, acceptance, and then out into problem-solving, which is when we really start to accept and drive that change. Your team, your employees, yourself, all are going to be going through different stages on this journey, throughout this process and throughout this time, and we want to be really, really cognizant of that. Again, not only necessarily with the work-related aspect or working from home, but also to do with other impacts.

For example, one of the girls in our team is out here doing her MBA. She comes from Columbia and I’ve really seen her go on this transformational journey as we go through that change perspective in particular. So when she found out that her MBA would no longer be delivered face to face, that sort of had this shock and then denial. It’s right, we’ll keep going, we’ll keep going until it finally got cancelled. Then there was anger, you know, she’d come all the way from Columbia to be here and to see this, and now she wasn’t going to be experiencing the Australian life that she thought. The following week we had depression, right? It was really sad. She was saying, well, what am I doing? I’m stuck in my apartment. I’m not only getting that engagement that I need and how do we go through that? Over the past two weeks, I’ve seen her live out into acceptance and problem-solving. Now whilst that may have been uniquely associated with her MBA and her university work that impacted the way in which she was also engaging in our work at Three6 which we need to be cognizant of and we need to teach and learn and guide and be supportive during those phases, and every single one of us will be different, including ourselves.

So we need to understand where we are on this journey as well as our team members. I know for myself, I’m a massive extrovert. I hate being trapped in the house all day and for me, I want to be getting out and doing that. So I have found it much more difficult than unusual to get out through this acceptance and into problem-solving mode and what we can do, and it takes me a lot of energy to do that. So I need to understand my energy and the demands that I have around that and what that looks like, which links into the second point that we’ve got, which is understanding and things that help with managing through change, both the intensity and the duration.

Now, depending on the length of the change will end up depending on how much angst and focus and demand that we need to put on to that. So the longer the duration is, the more difficult it’s going to be for our employees to adjust. Similar with the intensity, going through something like this, the intensity is really, really high. We are doing things that we’ve never done before and then working in ways that we haven’t done and often in really, really close environments with our families, which is also not a natural state some of the time. So we are going to be playing up into this red sort of stage right here, which we need to be cognizant of and need to be thinking about that when we’re looking at different emotions and different experiences that our teams may be having at that point in time as well, and thinking about how do we bring that into our comms (our communications) and our approach.



So what can we do about it? We’ve got 4 key tips that we can start to focus on:

1. Feedback Mechanisms

The first one is around establishing formal feedback mechanisms. So really making sure that you’ve got in place avenues and paths which your team members, your colleagues, your friends even can get in contact with you. Whether that’s a regular meeting or a catch-up, whether that’s a Jammer site or a Facebook group, something that brings people together and connects you in times of need. Again, I’ve seen this done differently in different places, but it’s something we need to try and encompass and bring together as well.

2. Information Networks

The second one is around establishing information networks. If you’ve been in an organisation for a long time, you know who the people are, who know what’s really going on, what the feelings are deep down inside and how we can start to then use that to understand how do we then communicate, engage, respect, and empower people through that process. Using those information networks is key to being a good leader, to really understanding how your team are feeling when they might not communicate it face to face.

It’s also really difficult in these times over video or in group situations to talk about how you feel and we may be feeling, as you said, through that change curve, really different things at different times. So when some person is out the other side and acceptance, we may still be in depression or slipping backwards from a really bad night or whatever that may be.

3. Fair Process

The third one is around reinforcing fair process. Now if fair process is something that we do a full-day course on. So there’s a lot of depth and detail around this, but ultimately it looks at three things. The first one is providing clarity of expectations. So what is it that we’re expecting to do? How do we get through this? You know, what is your role at this point in time? Can you do this over a day and into the evening, if you’re balancing homeschooling and kids? Really being clear and upfront around those clear expectations and what to do. Giving a bit of the rationale, so why are we choosing to work in different ways? What are we trying to do, do we engage? Providing again, broad communications to the people that need to have that and explaining why we’re doing certain things. So even just in a meeting set up or an engagement or blocking out a whole Wednesday afternoon just to get things done, explaining it, putting the background behind it and then moving forward with those things. And then the third one around fair process is empowering your teams, so what can you do to take some pressure off yourself, but whilst lifting them up to be able to really have that empowerment to keep doing things and to keep driving change? I had a really great conversation again with a client this week who spoke all about their role and talk about how their key thing that they were doing was empowering their teams, providing them with that communication and really driving that fair process of what’s going on with this change that they can sort of get that buy-in and keep working and minimising those resistants to where we are today.

4. Sponsorship Advocacy

The final one is sponsorship advocacy. As leaders, we are those sponsors. We need to make people feel warm and welcome and that we’re here and we trusted. You know, one of the key things we also heard through the survey was about empathetic leadership. We need to do that. We need to have that support coming in from our top-level as well, right down to how we communicate with our people. So that sponsorship is going to be more and more important and we’re going to need to be more and more present over these times.

So hopefully those 4 quick key tips, will give you some sort of guidance in terms of helping to manage people through perspective. But as we remember, always think about where people are on that change curve and how you can tell your communications to understand where they’re up to and what they need.