From Now to Next How Change Management Creates Business Success

From Now to Next: How Change Management Creates Business Success

In Uncategorized by Roger Lewis

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As a leader, if there is one change management challenge that is never easy to navigate, it is a layoff. It is a complex and emotional experience and can be difficult for your employees and the organisation. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of the best way to navigate this uncertain time because you want to do right by your employees while also ensuring the future success of your organisation.

The best leaders, those who are seasoned and evolved, adopt an instinctual set of attributes. They are compassionate, human-first and service-driven.

We all navigate multiple life domains: work, family, health, spirituality, community. Each one altered on a spectrum of small and manageable to traumatic and disruptive. Anytime there is a disruption to one domain, it impacts the other four in some way. As a leader, if you say you are supportive of your people, you should view them through more than just the work lens—only one life domain.

In this article, I’ll share my framework for managing employees and layoffs with compassion, transparency and optimism. Whether you’re facing a layoff for the first time or are a seasoned leader, this guide will provide you with a roadmap for navigating this change and emerging stronger on the other side.

What to do when layoffs (downsizing) happen.

No doubt that when layoffs occur, they often result in significant changes to the organisation’s structure, operations and culture. As a result, change management in this context is about proactively addressing and mitigating these changes, ensuring the organisation can continue to function effectively and supporting affected employees through this difficult time.

I understand that change management during layoffs can be a complex, trying and emotional process, but it is essential for you as a leader to approach it with compassion, transparency and optimism. It’s essential to identify not just who is impacted but how they are impacted.

What leaders are expected to do during this transition.

Being the head is not easy. As a leader, you are expected to do and have a lot of things—one of which is creating a sense of belonging. (I have previously spoken about the importance of belonging on an episode of my podcast.) This means you must lead by example to motivate everyone to work and build stronger human connections.

Other leadership expectations include:

Being Human-First

Being human-first means putting the needs and well-being of your employees at the forefront during change management, such as layoffs. As a leader, this means being transparent, honest and compassionate and taking steps to minimise this change’s negative impact on your employees. This approach can not only show your employees that you care but also help maintain productivity and build trust, leading to a more positive outcome for everyone involved.

Having Compassion And Grace

As a leader, it’s crucial to understand the impact of layoffs on your team members and practice compassion and grace during this transition.

A compassionate leader genuinely cares for their team and empathises with their emotions and struggles. They show understanding and support while being optimistic about the future. To practice compassion, actively listen to your team members, acknowledge their concerns and provide resources to help them cope with the changes.

A graceful leader handles difficult situations with poise and dignity and can easily adapt to unexpected events. During downsizing, things may not always go as planned, but a graceful leader recognises that this is a challenging time for everyone. They work with their teams through this transition with patience and understanding, knowing that layoffs can be a heavy burden on their employees.

By practicing compassion and grace, you can create a supportive environment for your teams during this transition and help them stay optimistic about the future.

Having Clarity And Transparency

As leaders, it’s important to have clarity about the situation at hand. This not only helps you make informed decisions, but it also helps your team understand what’s going on. During layoffs or downsizing, it’s critical to be transparent with your team and to keep them informed about what’s happening. This builds trust and creates a sense of security.

Transparency is also important because it helps to reduce rumors and speculation. When people are uncertain, they tend to fill in the gaps with their own assumptions, which can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress. By being transparent, you provide your team with accurate information and reduce the risk of misinformation.

Having Grit And Gratitude

As leaders, one of the keys to successfully navigating change management through layoffs is to tap into the power of grit and gratitude.

Grit refers to the resilience, determination and perseverance to keep pushing forward, even in the face of adversity. As leaders, it’s important to model this behaviour and encourage your team members to tap into their inner grit. By doing so, they are more likely to be able to handle the challenges of change management and keep moving forward with a positive attitude.

Gratitude is a powerful tool in activating grit. Instead of focusing solely on the negatives, it’s important to acknowledge and appreciate the opportunities that lie ahead. This doesn’t mean being happy about layoffs but recognising and appreciating the chance to start fresh and build something even better.

Encourage your team members to adopt an attitude of gratitude as they navigate this transition. This can help boost their resilience and keep their focus on the future.


Layoffs are never easy. They are personal and impact each individual in different ways. As leaders, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do in these situations. However, acknowledging that it is a difficult time and approaching it with compassion and empathy as your guiding values are the first steps towards “Getting to Next.”

By being human-first and focusing on your intentions to support and guide your teams through this transition, you are building transformative leadership skills your employees can rely on.

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