Talking with...Melanie Franklin: Revisited

At the beginning of this year, we had a discussion with Melanie Franklin, Founder of the Continuous Change Community and a Chartered Management Consultant, as part of our ‘Talking with…’ series. During this insightful episode, Melanie shared her predictions and discussed potential change trends for 2022, including data collection, change being a psychological process and making teams leaner through the combining of roles.

Looking back, it’s not an understatement to say that 2022 has been a challenging year for many. Factors such as the energy crisis and financial instability have certainly played their part in creating an unsteady business landscape, and businesses are still getting to grips with hybrid working and the post-pandemic world. But just how has all this impacted change this year, and will businesses need to reconsider their approach to change for the year ahead?

As the year draws to a close, we have caught up with Melanie once again. In this episode of ‘Talking with…’, Deltra’s Retail Practice Lead, Emma Fowler talks to Melanie about some of the unforeseen challenges of 2022 as well as reflecting on which of her trend predictions came into fruition. It’s a conversation that will be highly beneficial for change leaders wanting some insights for 2023.

Listen to the podcast episode below or keep scrolling to read a summary of Melanie’s most crucial insights and advice for 2023.

If you’d like to listen to our previous episode of ‘Talking with…Melanie Franklin’ or want to read a summary of Melanie’s 2022 change predictions, you can do so by clicking here.

Neuroscience within change is still in its infancy

The interest and demand for neuroscience within change has undoubtedly grown over the past 12 months, with Melanie often being questioned about the topic during her Continuous Change Community networking events. However, while some headway has been made, Melanie explains that organisations are still a long way off when it comes to neuroscience implementation.

Having neuroscience as part of the change process can enable organisations to understand their team’s reactions to situations, how they process information and how they make decisions. However, it seems that people are eager to see the evidence behind neuroscience and want to gain a deeper understanding before taking the plunge.

Moving forward, organisations should consider developing a greater understanding of neuroscience within change and also different approaches for developing empathetic and trusting relationships to the different people and personalities within their team.

Data measuring underutilised

In our previous talk with Melanie, she explained how one of the biggest challenges faced by change managers is that they don’t always collect data to measure the success of change. Once again, the appetite and interest in data collection is there, but it’s something that Melanie considers to be underutilised and more behind than it should be.

Due to this current lack of data collection to measure success, change professionals aren’t showing their true value because they aren’t able to provide hard evidence. This could potentially exclude those who are more data-driven from understanding how effective change is managed and implemented, which in turn could isolate them from being included in crucial projects. This is something that change professionals should be looking at rectifying as we move into 2023.

The main reason for this lack of data collection and analysis, is that there appears to be increasing confusion over where this data can be found and what is going to be most relevant for them to look at.

To get past this, Melanie encourages businesses to deconstruct what their team’s newfound confidence looks like after a change has occurred. She used the example that, once a person has been through a successful change, they are often more confident, reassured and psychologically safe. As a result, they are then more willing to accept new change or processes and will often go further in the lifecycle of what they are trying. According to Melanie, this deconstruction of confidence will make it far clearer to see what factors there are to potentially measure in terms of success.

Redefining change management

The term change management has become over-generalised in recent times and is often used to describe any number of skills and job titles. This has led to businesses being too broad when writing job descriptions and overlooking the type of change professionals they need for their change projects. On the other hand, change professionals also find that they often misunderstand how much involvement they are required to have and the goals they are trying to reach for their client.

To overcome this umbrella term of change management, Melanie suggests that this is the prime opportunity for change professionals to start building the confidence to have more specific and detailed conversations with their clients about what is expected of them and how that can help them achieve their objectives.

On the other hand, clients should be listening to change professionals and updating their understanding of what change management is today by looking beyond their job descriptions and lists of duties. Instead, the focus should be switched to the capabilities of the person in front of them. This in turn should foster more agility and transparency throughout the change itself.

What should we be focusing on in 2023?

With 2023 just a couple of weeks away, Melanie thinks that business’ biggest focus should be on what she calls ‘brains and data.’ In a world that has such a high volume of change, often more than many businesses can cope with, these two factors are the ones that will make the most difference.

But more than anything, Melanie recommends that in 2023, organisations take a more direct approach when it comes to talking about change. In our current climate, we don’t have the luxury of time to simply talk around the subject or avoid challenging conversations. So, whether you’re in the early stages or months into a change, always ensure that your communication is to the point and transparent.

We’d like to thank Melanie for joining us on ‘Talking with…’ once again to share her assessment of her trend predictions for 2022 and the year ahead. To find out more about Melanie Franklin and her insights into change management, you can connect with her on Linkedin here

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Helen Ives

14th December

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