Bringing Your Authentic Character to Change

A few months ago, I drove to work puzzling out how to approach an important meeting. I’d set my intention for the day as making a success of this meeting but now I had to decide what success looked like.  Given the nature of the participants and the current state of our change project, it could go a number of ways!

As I waited at the lights, I built on my original intention by adding that success would mean the right outcome for the business – no matter how bruised people felt, or what changes to the plan we would have to make. I took a deep breath: that result felt good – what didn’t feel good was how I was going to have to approach the meeting in order to achieve it.

I knew that I was going to have to share some hard truths with my client. Truths that the steering group would find it hard to acknowledge; truths that might irreparably damage my relationship with this client; and truths that might even mean they would dispense with my services.  But nervous as I was about this, I knew it had to be done, not only for the health of the project but also for the sake of my professional pride.  If I was honest, I knew I had ducked an opportunity to tackle this a week ago. But the conversation had been informal, at the end of a busy day and I wasn’t prepared. Now I was realising how much harder it would be to confront these issues today and cursing that I had listened to the excuses that my inner demon had proffered.

Today’s meeting was going to take courage and resolve to get to the right outcome.  I mentally reviewed a couple of different approaches but in the end came to the conclusion that a straightforward approach focusing on the facts would be best.  I looked at that last sentence, written on my notepad. Not as simple as it looked.

The facts:

The individual running the programme is the protégée of the CEO and had been personally chosen by him to lead this programme.

This individual,