Leading Change in times of Crisis

One aspect of leadership during the Corona crisis is constant: change. As leaders we don’t only need to manage change, but we need to lead change: anticipate change and lead with intention, strategy and sound communication. But with many aspects of our personal and business lives being impacted by things that are out of control almost on a daily or weekly basis we feel like we keep on playing catch up.

I work with clients in the travel and hospitality industries. The constant change of health advice, lockdown changes, closures, international travel warnings and opening and closing of borders puts huge pressure on leadership teams and employees. I have been coaching a regional leadership team in the aviation industry to help them lead their people remotely through these times. They face change daily and need to be nimble and agile. When we are under pressure, sound structures and simple processes are helpful to stay on track and pave the way to put the right measures in place. I taught the team how to use the ADKAR (by Prosci) model to lead change consistently and with agility.

Leading change is a process. ADKAR helps leaders go build stages of change and communicate effectively with our team members and stakeholders. Change happens at an individual level and helps you to facilitate change. ADKAR focusses on allowing you to come up with activities that will drive individual change and achieve organisational goals. ADKAR provides clear goals and outcomes for change management activities. ADKAR explained:


Awareness of the need for change

This is the WHY of the change, the business reason and a goal for early communication. Especially in times of crisis where we can’t anticipate change as we usually do, it’s important to have the finger on the pulse, create awareness quickly and communicate with transparency explaining the WHY. Your communication channels are important here. How fast can you react and inform?


Desire to make the change happen

This is about personal decisions, the ‘What’s in it for me (WIFIIM)?’. You want people to engage and participate in change, so you have to gauge the desire to change and also anticipate resistance. This is your opportunity to get buy-in.


Knowledge about how to change

This is about the ‘HOW’ to. This stage is about more than information. Here we demonstrate the skills and start with training and coaching new skills and processes.


Ability to change

This stage is all about implementation. It goes further than simply knowing how to. We want to enable people to implement the skills and processes into their daily work and business. It’s about realisation and we have to ensure they have the resources and ongoing training, feedback and coaching.


Reinforcement to retain the change

This last stage is all about sustaining the change, making it stick. It’s about creating habits, adapt our measurements and agree on what success looks like.

So how does it work? How do I use this framework? Go through all the stages from A to R and list the level of each stage for your ‘change’, e.g.: for Awareness: list the reasons you believe the change is necessary. Then review the reasons and rate the degree to which your people are aware of them (you can even rate them). Then put practical steps into place of how to increase the Awareness. Do this for all steps in a linear way and highlight where you still have work to do with your teams and create smart goals and a plan for each stage.

Once you have worked through ADKAR with your people you want to hear the following from them:

A – ‘I understand why….’
D – ‘I have decided to….’
K – ‘I know how to…’
A – ‘I am able to…’
R – ‘I will continue to…’

Email me on info@intactteams.com for change management workshops

Jessica Schubert

Jessica Schubert is a Leadership Expert, Executive Coach, Facilitator, Author and Speaker. She is obsessed with helping people realise their potential and unlock their inner genius.

Born in Cologne, Germany, Jessica has travelled the world and has spent more than 20 years leading cross-cultural teams in competitive markets throughout Europe and the Asia Pacific. As she worked with and coached her own diverse, cross-cultural teams, she came to realise that learning about yourself and developing interpersonal skills is the most powerful tool to lead and influence people around you.

In 2013 she launched Intact Teams, where she and her team have worked with thousands of leaders in organisations worldwide, delivering custom-designed leadership programs and workshops. These interactive and engaging programs are offered both virtually and in-person, helping leaders and their teams succeed in a complex and ever-changing business environment.

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Jessica Schubert