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A change of tack in COVID times

A change of tack in COVID times

26 Oct 2020

For change leaders trying to engage and support an audience, it’s been a tougher chapter than ever.  We were able to grab a ‘virtual latte’ with Melissa Hicks-Lorenz (Associate Director, Changeworks) to hear her reflections on managing a change program during this crazy time.


Q: After almost two decades of leading and implementing change projects, this ‘new normal’ must be unlike anything you’ve ever seen.  How have you changed tack at this time?

Melissa: Yes – it’s anything BUT normal, so we need to think differently.  A few things I kept in mind included:

  • Greater consideration for others’ circumstances – to ensure we understand and respect everyone’s personal situation at this time.

  • Tweak the plan – determine how we can reach the same outcome by delivering it in a different way. 

  • Change the engagement – as always, genuine interaction with our stakeholders is critical to building trust and respect, but even more so in these virtual times. MS Teams has been a great way to engage (video’s on!) and share materials. There are great features that assist you to be interactive like voting polls and ‘giving praise’ in the chat functions - helping to build relationships from a distance! 

  • Maintain motivation – virtual lunches have been a big hit with the team. We’ve had everything from scavenger hunts, playing an instrument, exercise classes through to photography challenges.


Q: Does anything stay the same?

Melissa: Yes - the leadership principles stay the same; visibility, accountability, goal setting and recognition.  It is just done differently.


Q: How do you keep yourself buoyant during this time? 

Melissa: Harry (see pic) is the other love of my life.  He gives me a great excuse to pound the pavement and get myself moving each morning.  And he loves me being home – extra treats, pats and walks… one of the many benefits of working from home.