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2020: How is your change management performing during these times?

Sep 07, 2020
By: Erica Dornfeld
Financial Institutions

Managing change in 2020 has been difficult, stressful and exhausting. 

On a personal level, routines no longer exist. I can count on one hand how many times I have sat down at a restaurant to eat since March.

The decision to do so involved many questions. Do they have outdoor seating? Are their tables socially distanced? Do they have readily available hand sanitizer? Will the servers be wearing masks? Did I remember bug spray, since mosquitos love me? Am I willing to be in close proximity to the person I’m supposed to be meeting? Where has the person I’m meeting traveled to in the past 14 days?  Have they knowingly or otherwise been in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

Running to the grocery store because I forgot one item no longer feels like a necessity. Did I remember my mask? Do I have hand sanitizer in my car? Can I make this recipe without the missing ingredient? What does Google tell me is a substitute ingredient, and do I have it? How long will it take if I place an order online for it to be ready?

Professionally, the shift of moving to primarily remote work has changed my world of interactions. Does the client prefer email or phone calls? Will the client want me on site or off site? What protocols do they have to protect me if I am on site? Will our phone call be simply a phone call, or will it be a video call? Am I going to look like I just rolled out of bed if it is a video call? How do I let my clients know I am there for them when they cannot handle one more phone call or email for the day?

You are not alone in the chaos of handling change this year. The approach I have used throughout my career that has been my focus through these uncertain times has been to “control my control-ables.” 

For me, controlling my control-ables is achieved through list making. I’m a habitual list maker when it comes to feeling overwhelmed. Identifying what all is on my list of things to do and prioritizing them by due date, whether professional or personal, creates a sense of calm for me. I remind myself that it is my responsibility to make decisions for myself, to take initiative with clients to understand what they want and to reflect on decisions made to assess whether it was the appropriate decision. Everyone’s situation and perspective will not be the same, but it is safe to say we are all trying to manage change in these times as best as we can.

Change at your organization has been inevitable in 2020. A critical component of managing change in your organization is through your change management process. The fast-paced changes of both regulatory guidance and overall financial institution changes in 2020 amidst COVID-19 have created more questions than answers in some instances. As a result of these rapid changes, your change management processes might have taken the back seat in an attempt to keep up.

Perhaps you didn’t address all the questions or concerns that came up with making an organizational change; the appropriate business lines might not have been involved in decisions; ultimately, you might have realized the decision made was not the right decision for the organization, while it appeared appropriate at the time.

In a time when it feels like we have no control, you can control the change management process in your organization. The benefits of taking a “pause” to implement changes with the proper controls far outweighs the consequences of trying to skip a few steps in the change management process. We are here to help if you realize your change management program needs an overhaul or the chaos of the year has left your feeling overwhelmed. Check out our articles on managing disruption during COVID-19 or explore change management services, including change readiness assessments, communication planning and resistance management.


Erica Dornfeld
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