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Creating Change, its all about where you’re heading… podcast guest change expert Rita Burgett-Martell

When you are driving change in an organization you are affecting the future of lots of people because when change happens it changes the way people interact, who they interact with and whenever a change happens it pushes one out of the comfort zone.

When change is announced individuals become nervous about their future. Being set or in a comfort zone one forgets that one has the ability to learn. We keep doing our work and it accounts for what we do and how we think.

In today’s world change is happening so frequently. It’s really the role of the leader to create an environment where people won’t be as afraid of change because change can eliminate jobs, but it also creates a lot of opportunities. Employees, when they hear change is happening, they really want to hear from their leader is, what does the future look like, and does it include me. This is where leaders falter as, often, they aren’t very good at answering those questions.

It’s especially difficult for middle managers. They are, literally, in the middle. They have leaders up there telling them to get their group or department ready and in shape, and yet often they haven’t really been involved in the decision. It’s often not sold in but dumped on people.

Organizational change doesn’t have to be that way. One may not have all the information but if you communicate with people on a regular basis and tell them what you know, at that point in time, then you build trust and you increase the probability of having a successful change because there is a high rate of failure.

At times of implementing change often leaders emphasize the change rather than where the company is heading. If leaders were to not mention the word change and instead speak of the vision and where they want to lead the organization, employees would align and recognise that and do what’s needed to get there without consciously thinking that are changing in order to get there.

All employees want to know is the support and learning they will get to do the new work required to get to that point. They are interested in knowing how to grow their career and grow the company and the business so that there’s business continuity.

Learning from experience has been about the insecurity that leaders have as you go up the organizational hierarchy. Managers, Vice Presidents, and CEOs live with the most amount of fear. A lot of people go to that place of ‘what’s going to happen to me if I can’t keep this job’. Add to this the age factor and the insecurity is about life being over! It is unfortunate but we tend to see what we have to lose more than seeing the opportunities that are available.

This thinking impact behaviour. Leaders start to see everybody else as a threat and it becomes like ‘we’re not in this together and I’m out for me and too bad about you’ kind of scenario. That then manifests as reality. It doesn’t have to be that way.

This is one reason why the highest number of entrepreneurs are over 50 and 60. It becomes more about self-leadership and self-change coupled with organizational learnings. The process remains the same,

If you strongly believe in what you’re going to move to, the stronger the chance that it will turn out okay. Even though at times the end is not defined. What you had is over, so you can’t do what you have been doing and all you know is that it doesn’t feel good moving into new territory. One must take that first step even when you don’t know what that next step is going to be. It’s about faith and faith tramples fear. It’s a combination of being scared and excited.

When you do get those opportunities, it’s about saying to oneself, ‘do I step out to it or do I say no’. Usually when you say no it’s your head speaking. If your heart says yes, then you really should be following your heart. The other way around is when you need to stop and think if it’s beneficial to you. The heart is what guides us and the head gives all sorts of data that often confuse us.

Rita can be reached on


About the author, Ross

Behavioural leadership coach committed to bringing more soul into business and reducing a leader's stress in managing their people

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