Change Management Consultants Shouldering the Load


Here is a short list of things that could be on stakeholder’s minds:

  • Previous change history
  • Layoffs
  • Stagnant careers
  • Leadership changes
  • Performance Management
  • Rules and Regulations
  • Governance
  • Their family
  • Their health
  • Organizational Myths
  • All the invisible “What If’s” (the possible bad ones not the “what is possible’” kind that I like so much)

Yes the list is much longer…

Is there anyone who is willing to listen so they can come to terms with some of the things on this list (talking with a good listener is lubricant for capacity to change). THERE IS!

Change Management Listening

Listening is the most important competency for a change management practitioner.

I have seen a few change management consultants  (usually of the project focused mentality) who fail miserably with this competency (and sully the reputation of those who are empathetic).

We are not psychologists (although I have met a few practitioners who are). We are not therapists. We are not judges. We are not walking grand juries.

That out of the way, we are mediators. We are sounding blocks. We are conduits for information. We are, really, responsible for people’s comfort.

Knowing that we listen.

We do not have to agree (although we rarely signal when we do not). We only disagree as devil’s advocates to help people think things through (a skill within the competency of listening). We know change can be hard when information is missing. If we are good we like to see change happen and people grow and develop (organizations too, but that will happen when the people adapt).

Another list- of the things our listening skills can address:

  • Leadership- leaders HAVE to bounce things off someone, to anticipate, to get better and to avoid big mistakes.
  • Employment issues- every union negotiation with the possibility of change should have a CM listener involved.
  • Internal politics- people will do what they do to get ahead (HR mid level leaders are you listening- you are the most guilty of pushing your own agenda). We can help smooth out, with our ears and actions that follow, missteps from selfish agendas.
  • Fear- I do not like to call this out when it comes to change, but since I have spent a few years listening I know people do get scared. Assuage is one of my favorite words.
  • Lack of confidence- my own favorite form of listening, to reinforce talent, expertise and skill.

This list is much longer too…

Change Management practitioners must shoulder the load. Through the act of listening they can carry a remarkable heavy burden.

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