Any prospect of organisational change – a merger, a takeover, a relocation – tends to provoke fear and resentment out of proportion to the actual disruption that eventually happens.
One of my corporate clients had re-located to a new building that was nearly all open-plan, where only the directors would have private offices. A middle manager, who had just earned the privilege of his own office after many years, felt badly let-down by the change and I had a hard job convincing him of the benefits of the open-plan way of working. I explained that his status was still reflected in extra space, a bigger desk and a favourable position overlooking the beach and marina. A degree of privacy could still be achieved through careful layout, yet he would be able to keep an eye on what was going on in the department.
A year later, my client asked him if he would really prefer to put the clock back if he had the chance, and he admitted that he wouldn’t.
Up to then, my client had had trouble viewing organisational change as a formal topic, suitable for lectures and seminars. Now he organises regular courses in this ever-important aspect of HR.
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