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Janine Milne

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In a nutshell: making changes without ruffling feathers


When you join a new company, the temptation is to change everything at once. Marcus Powell, group organisation development and HR director at Nuffield Health, shares his tips on making changes without ruffling too many feathers.

Be appreciative
Seek out what is working well and learn how to amplify the good things and dampen what isn’t working – being appreciative is extremely generative and creates a positive environment in which organisational growth can flourish.
Respect the past
Nothing is more likely to alienate you, if the first thing you do is rubbish the past. The organisation will be attached to their past achievements which – however imperfect – almost certainly represented the best endeavours of the people involved at the time.
Build the team you’re happy to be in the ‘ trenches’ with
Make sure that you have people around that you trust implicitly and that you would be happy to be alongside when the going gets tough.
Leadership is everything
Great leadership defines a great organisation: prioritise recruiting, developing and promoting the best leaders you can. Make them examples of what the organisation values in leadership behaviour – everything else will follow.
Listen and inquire
The greatest, and most underrated skill, is the ability to listen and allow others to be heard. The organisation knows what it is doing and how to make the most of its resources – sometimes it just doesn’t appreciate it. Listen, learn and ask questions to deepen understanding and appreciation of what is going on.

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