Project Management

Shifting Change: Insider Tips from Project Leaders

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Today's world is influenced by change. Project managers and their organizations need to embrace and sometimes drive changes to keep up with the pace in highly competitive environments. In this blog, experienced professionals share their experiences, tips and tools to manage and exploit changes and take advantage of them. The blog is complimentary to the webinar series of the Change Management Community Team and is managed by the same individuals.

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Luisa Cristini
Nic Jain
Ruth Pearce
Abílio Neto
Vitaly Geyman
Walter Vandervelde
Steve Salisbury
John ORourke
Ronald Sharpe
Angela Montgomery
Tony Saldanha
Ryan Gottfredson
Joseph Pusz
Kavitha Gunasekaran
Ross Wirth
Carole Osterweil
Amrapali Amrapali
Barbara Trautlein

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Viewing Posts by Kavitha Gunasekaran

Change fast, Change forward

The world that we are facing today is so rapidly changing that leaders need a whole new range of skill sets, mindset and heartset in order to survive in this ‘Age of Flux’. It is not only required to change rapidly and adapt to the situations at hand but also change for the better being forward looking rather than resting on past laurels or basing decisions on what worked earlier. There exists an incessant need to – Change fast, Change FORWARD!  So how is this possible? Let's look at some strategies.

  1. Ringing in change as the change leader - As a leader look for opportunities where you could influence key changes at the macro-level at the organization so that the environment, people and/or culture are made conducive to changes in the future.
  2. Being  a continuous learner, constantly upgrading and up-skilling are  sure shot ways of staying ahead of the curve
  3. Thought Leadership – Be a frontrunner in getting your views across platforms that will set you apart as a thought leader and subject matter expert and go-to person in the chosen field
  4. Making conscious efforts to be as centered as possible through various centering exercises such as meditation since sometimes the situations could be highly demanding and overwhelming and it needs leaders to respond appropriately as well as being decisive irrespective of their present state of mind or situation
  5. Bring about that internal shift in mindset to embrace change, as tomorrow is never going to be the same as yesterday or even today
  6. Being compassionate to self, team and stakeholders will be a vital aspect of continuous fruitful engagement of all stakeholders
  7. Keeping your true north intact while tiding over challenges so that there are no regrets for one’s actions
  8. Having a clear vision for yourself, your team and your organization and constantly evaluate the standings vis-à-vis unfolding scenarios such as the current work-from-home model adopted by most companies and likely future scenarios

Such an eclectic approach with changes to the skill set, mindset and heartset might possibly be a game-changer and augur well for leaders to Change FAST and Change FORWARD and constantly stay ahead in facing challenges of the 21st century workspace.

Posted by Kavitha Gunasekaran on: October 12, 2020 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Being your authentic self has never been so important – Thriving in the ‘NEW normal’

Today the most widely seen and heard term is ‘the NEW normal’ that is believed to be a very disruptive change, emerging from the Covid-19 crisis. What is this ‘NEW normal’? What relevance has it got to our way of being in general, at the workplace, home-front or at the societal level?

This article is aimed at helping us address key issues that arise in a crisis, including facing the new reality, being our true authentic selves at work and home, leading from our true north (holding important things that really matter), digging deep for the root causes and adapting to the new normal.

A crisis comes when we least expect it. So it helps if we are proactive and start predicting the probable risk scenarios, however far-fetched they maybe. The current situation has undoubtedly taught us important lessons in Risk and Crisis management:

  1. Keeping the road ahead in sight - There is a need to look at the broader implications of the crisis and what you can do and what are the scenarios you can anticipate
  2. Stepping up - We have to appreciate the implications of what's going on, no matter how terrible it is. It could throw out all our plans. Everything could be falling apart but we need to realize that we have to step up to that crisis. 
  3. Understanding the new reality as an outcome of a crisis - It is a new reality we're looking at. And the reality is we don't really fully understand it. But we've got to dive in and do the best we can and understand, who's going to be impacted by this crisis and what role do we and our organization have in helping ourselves as well as our customers and stakeholders sail through this crisis?
  4. Building resilience and bouncing back from tough situations through effective crisis management and leading through crisis

The world today is beginning to embrace the Ubuntu philosophy. It is often translated as "I am because we are," or "humanity towards others," in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity."

According to Michael Onyebuchi Eze, the core of ubuntu can best be summarised as follows:

'A person is a person through other people' strikes an affirmation of one’s humanity through recognition of an ‘other’ in his or her uniqueness and difference. Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am.

Major learnings in overcoming the anxiety barrier and ensuring our emotional well-being when we carry on with our daily activities, stepping out of homes - with masks & with social distancing include:

1. Facing the reality of the 'new' normal and acceptance of the same seems to be the first step.

2. Boosting the morale of all stakeholders in our life, be it personal or professional, is a challenge, however connecting to each one of them on a personal level through genuine enquiries about their well-being and about their near & dear, their families seems to break that anxiety barrier in others.

3. Expressing one's own vulnerability in this scenario seems relatable to everyone

4. Sharing own experiences wherein one had been able to successfully take the mind-off the situation by immersing in absorbing activities be it learning, hobbies etc which resulted in a boost to one's emotional well being

5. Being grateful for the most important things in life - health and relationships

6. Choosing more transformational and/or relational social interactions over transactional ones.

 The above could serve as an inspiration for self and our efforts in enabling all our stakeholders to overcome anxiety and  face the world in a new light.

In short, predicting the NEW normal by co-creating it seems to be the mantra of surviving this crisis. And finally, let’s remember to live by ‘Ubuntu’ – I am because we are!

Posted by Kavitha Gunasekaran on: August 30, 2020 12:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

The 21st century workspace – Embracing changing dynamics like never before

The 21st century has redefined several aspects of our lives – both personal and professional. On the professional front, the exponential technological growth and disruptions have completely changed the business landscape. Not only has it changed the way businesses are held these days, but also the place in which the business itself takes place – the Workplace.

The change has pervaded all facets of today’s workplace including its very own structure. Slowly disappearing from the landscape are the exclusive buildings for companies and corner offices for senior executives, welcoming the culture of co-working shared office spaces, mostly with different start ups sharing the same office space. The top co-working companies like Regus, We Work, Knotel are driving the creation of ecosystems that bring together different organizations and startups and create increased opportunities for mentoring, collaboration and entrepreneurial innovation.

The workplace today is very dynamic influenced by the volatility of the business landscape. In these testing times, businesses are making their best attempts to not only sustain their market visibility, but also thrive in uncertain waters. The biggest concern facing companies today is a disengaged workforce. The need to be proactive as well as competitive has also led to new-age businesses coming up, that have re-defined the rules of business and the workspace.

What businesses are facing today, is a workforce comprising of employees spanning across three generations – Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z. The dynamics of such a diverse workforce is definitely the most important thing to be factored in, while taking measures to improve productivity and scaling up of businesses. Given the distinct times from which the people have started their careers, given their priorities from loyalty towards the organization to work-life balance to craving instant recognition, a well thought out HR strategy is required to be adopted as well as project managers are to be sensitized in order to engage all of the personnel equally without leaving out any of them. A one size fits all approach will never succeed in identifying high-performing individuals or potential leaders to lead new projects or take up higher roles. This fallacy is true for our education system as well as for any type of performance evaluation for that matter.

How to combat the changing dynamics of the workplace of the 21st century:

  1. Choosing the right structure of workspace - Companies need to choose the workspace most suited for its business, as today space is a major resource constraint and optimization is the key. It is observed that, generally, organisations into manufacturing, companies  concerned over their IP and customer confidentiality and competitors, prefer to have exclusive spaces, while new-age services firms and start-ups, prefer co-working spaces to optimize space, utilize the co-creative ecosystem, among other benefits
  2. Effective engagement of a 3-generational workforce – Retaining the right talent and creating the most effective teams with the right mix of team players, are top HR goals for any organization today. A top-down approach emphasizing diverse teams, comprising of team members across generations enables combining experience with energy, maintaining the need for balance, giving impetus to diversification with innovation, thereby boosting employee involvement. This will downplay the conflicts due to the age differences, while building on to the strengths of these groups.
  3. Developing emotionally-intelligent project managers – Emotional intelligence is fast becoming the topmost skill that is defining a manager’s employability. It makes them more sensitive to the needs of the team members, resolve interpersonal conflicts, achieve seamless communication, build and nurture highly productive teams
  4. Upskilling and extensive training of human resources are fast becoming the pre-requisites in order to meet the challenges of the market complexities and understand the technological advancements for imbibing them and furthering business prospects

Hence, all organizations, including the traditional hierarchical organizations that still continue to carry out business as earlier, have the pressing need to analyse their policies concerning the workspace, the workforce, upskilling and empowering managers and have a relook to update themselves to changing times.

Posted by Kavitha Gunasekaran on: November 12, 2019 09:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

"I don't like work - no man does - but I like what is in the work - the chance to find yourself."

- Joseph Conrad



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