Change Management – Setting the scene with senior leaders


Before any organizational change is launched there has to be meetings with executives and senior leaders to ensure alignment around the reason(s) and main principles of the change initiative. Meeting objectives would also typically include getting their support for executing change activities and to help them understand expectations of them as executives and senior leaders during the change period and beyond.

Resource shared – slides in pdf format

The resource I am sharing is a deck of slides in pdf format. These can be used as a basis for creating your messages to senior leaders and executives. There are slides that help explain how change will likely impact the organization and the people plus slides explaining how leaders can help by being role models and also by actively addressing resistance and other signs of low engagement in those around them. I would suggest using this resource as optional examples to help communicate the specific messages that makes sense for the change management initiative that you may be leading and the meeting participants/audience that you will be facing.

Here are the steps I would suggest you follow:

  1. Be clear on the reasons that your change initiative need to be implemented and how the changes will improve on status quo. (Business case or burning platform)
  2. Did you get executive buy-in from one or more sponsors before your presentation? (Highly recommended – in fact, do not proceed until you have it!)
  3. Consider the presentation you will be doing – who will be there? What do they know and what do you need them to know, understand and do once they leave the presentation?
  4. What impact will the planned changes likely have on the employees at your company and how do you think your targeted audience can help and should act/behave given the change process and desired outcomes?
  5. Review the slides in the resource I am sharing and determine if any of them could help you and support the messages that you would like to communicate to the audience that you will be facing.

Of course these slides are not going to substitute the preparation work you need to do before starting a change initiative, but they may be helpful to use as background or to explain some of the specific change management aspects that may be of particular importance to your audience.


Performance Review and Merit Increases

performance and reward processes

Performance management, salary reviews, desired behavior of leaders and employees and reward and recognition mechanisms are all very much connected and very much over-lapping with each other. Making changes to any one of these areas without considering how the other areas will be impacted would be foolish. People will always adjust their behaviors and efforts to ensure the best personal outcome for themselves. It is up to the company to ensure that these interlinking areas are in harmony with each other in order to reward and drive towards desired behavior and outcomes.

The resource I have here ties a specific overall individual performance review score to a specific range of possible merit increases. Management demand to have a fixed and structured approach for this is easily recognized, but it is also true that more than one aspect should be factored into selecting overall increases for employees. Some additional factors could include what is the budget for increases that year? How did the company perform in the last year (overall)? What is the labor market like at that time – are some jobs in high demand and do you risk retention issues if you do NOT ensure good compensation packages that compare well to the local market?

I would caution anyone to consider unintended outcomes when attempting to standardize and establish rigid structures for considering individual performance and linking that in a fixed way to increase percentages. Be careful what you specify and indirectly require from managers and employees. Your intentions may be good: to reward your best performers for their contributions and to ensure those with lesser performance improve or leave the company. You may end up with people for example not sharing information or not collaborating with others if doing so could hurt their own income potential.

One approach to tying the performance review process directly to the merit increase process is attached here. This example does not take into account some of the considerations highlighted above when it comes to selecting the actual increase percentage and I chose to share this resource anyway, because it does happen that HR is asked for a process like the attached on a regular basis and I want to make an example available to you if you find yourself in that situation. I do suggest you consider ways to incorporate the other aspects as outlined above when you finalize your proposal to implement a more structured approach to tie performance management to compensation review.

Performance Review process linked to Merit Increases resource link.

My main advice is to think it through carefully to ensure your good intentions have the best chance of being reinforced by your performance management and salary (or compensation) review processes. And I would also add that you should remain flexible in working with your documented process. Be ready and willing to adjust and update it as you gather input about how successful your process is in driving desired outcomes – results and behavior that you and the executives would like to see in your pool of employees.


Performance Management Process

final perf imp

One of the most fundamental areas where HR has to add value to companies/organizations is to manage and improve the outcomes of the Performance Management Process. HR’s accountability clearly goes beyond the setting and maintenance of  a process to manage individual performance outcomes. The resource I will share here is however mainly focused on the individual aspect of the Performance Management Process – including some links to the salary/compensation review process and the individual development process.

This generic Performance Management Process shows the various basic steps that would need to be followed over a 12 month period to create an annual process. There are references to the link with a salary/compensation review process and also the link with identifying and reviewing individual development needs and progress along achieving improvement goals.

Performance Management Process resource link.

Implementing a process like this would need a change management plan if your organization has never done anything like this before. Even if you have had some form of a performance management process in place, but would now like to expand on it to include some of the elements shown in the attachment, a change management plan would be recommended. Before you start you would of course ensure that the manager/director, who is accountable for the performance management process at your organization, is aligned with your ideas and suggestions and strongly supports the direction you would like to take.

The benefits of having a documented process for Performance Management (like the shared resource) are:

  • It is easy for HR to ensure new employees, current employees, new supervisors and existing managers understand the process and their role in the process.
  • It is a way to help stakeholders understand and then prepare for the input and activities that need to be completed in order to support the process.
  • Linked to a balanced score card, this process can make it clear to individuals/departments how they collectively and as individuals support the attainment of larger organizational performance goals.
  • Knowing that there are check-in moments or feedback and discussion moments around performance expectations, progress and development needs and activities can be a strong way to reinforce employee engagement as many employees tend to consider other employment options when they feel that their development and career progression goals are not being met by their current employer.

This list is not exhaustive. For more information about benefits see links like Benefits of performance management or Importance of Performance Management


Difficult Decisions

Making decisions is a key part of any leader or manager’s day. Most new leaders find this somewhat intimidating. There is the fear of making the wrong decision, the fear of not having enough time to make the decision, the fear of not having enough information to make the decision and the list goes on.

When it comes to commercial and operational decisions most of the time the difficulty in decision-making lies in the correct trade-off within the benefits triangle (shown to the left). Competing Benefit decisions If you can get the article/outcome within the time-frame that you would like and with the right quality that you would like to have, there may be a high cost trade-off. Similarly you can find yourself having a low cost at the right quality, but you may have to wait longer to receive the outcome or article. Understanding the trade-off as shown in the graphic above may make it easier to decide which of the three are non-negotiable and where a compromise may be appropriate.

Another challenging area for decision-making can be competing values. Imagine you value employee development (as a leader or manager) and you also value productivity. Choosing to develop your employees typically means you have to take them away from their daily activities to attend a development or learning event. This implies they are not able to produce the results you need during that time. This kind of choice often comes at the last minute. Imagine you had planned for Employee A to attend, but at the last moment he or she is out sick or otherwise unable to attend and HR asks you to nominate a substitute and thereby presents you with a decision-making dilemma.

Competing Values Decisions

The graphic shown the the left illustrates some competing value trade-off decisions that you may be called upon to consider as a leader or manager.  If you have already completed a review of your own values as a leader (Determining your own Values template) you may have the advantage of using that as a framework for decision-making.  You would also need to look at the values that the company represent to make sure your trade-off options also include that perspective. Finally when you do make a decision, be sure to explain your reasoning and make the values you are honoring clear to the impacted employee(s) or colleagues.

Leaders and managers also often fall into the trap of trying to use only one decision-making style and they neglect to consider the other options open to them. There is a time and a place for every type of decision-making style. Sometimes it may be appropriate to make autocratic decisions – this can be useful when the impact is limited, the need is immediate and the risk low of encountering resistance during implementation. Decision Making StylesAt other times a more collaborative and inclusive decision-making process may be appropriate – such as when there are many stakeholders, people need to change their behaviors or work methods, time is on your side etc. Selecting only one decision-making style as a leader can make decisions difficult since you may find you experience a lot of resistance from others to implement your decisions especially if you favor autocratic decision-making most of the time.

The main job of a leader and a manager is to make decisions and choices in order to move projects and initiatives forward, deal with risks and unplanned barriers to success and achieve the goals and objectives for the group/team or company. Many new leaders and managers need to learn how to make decisions and these models and pointers shared here may be helpful as new skills and confidence in decision-making is being learned.

Remember to add Decision-making to your personal development plan if this is particularly tough for you to do as a leader/manager! 🙂

Determining own Values TEMPLATE


Before you can select goals and objective for your life and your career, you need to know what you value above all else in your life. You could not even select priorities for your time or how to use your efforts and energy best if you did not have clarity on what your values are. This is also true for leaders, managers and others who like to plan for the successes they intend to achieve.

Values drive how you spend your time and how you make choices and decisions for activities and events that are important to you. Your values are especially helpful with choosing between two options – events to attend, how to prioritize activities, which actions to take next etc. When it comes to decision-making: select options that mostly align with your values and refrain from choosing options that are not aligned or even opposites to your values.

This template can help you define your own values; it contains a list of statements to guide you on your quest. Instructions on how to use the template can be found at the top of the worksheet. First you read through the statements and then put a Y for yes in the first column to indicate those statements which most appeal to you on an internal value scale. (It seems or feels right to you; knowing yourself and what you find important in life). The next step is to look at only the ones you have selected with a Y – put a score between 1 and 10 next to the selected items using the column to the right of each statements to indicate how important that selected statement (representing a value) is to you. The highest scores indicate your highest values. Rephrase or clarify any of the value statements so that you can be 100% sure to remember it correctly a few days or weeks down the line when you review the list of your top values.


  • Feel free to add more statements or words at the bottom of the list if you think of values that are not shown. I find that these lists are good at helping one start-up the process and then your own ideas and words start to pop-up which then enables you to complete the process without using the listed guiding statements.
  • Once you have your list of top 5 values, check that against how you spend your time and ask yourself if your choices reflect your values or not. If they do, great. If they do not, what will you change to ensure you spend your time in a way that reflects your values better?
  • Look at those who are close to you next. Are you surrounded by people who share your values or do they have different values? If their values are aligned with yours, great. If their values are not aligned with yours, what will you do to ensure that you are able to live up to your own values?
  • Your job and the company you work for/the office environment – do you feel that your values are compatible with the environment and what the company is trying to achieve? Are people (employees and customers) being treated in a way that you feel is aligned with your values? I am not suggesting that you resign tomorrow if there is a disconnect between your values and status quo. Instead I would like to pose a question… what can you do to positively impact how things are being done right now? And what do you think are the best steps to take if you do not see any improvement over time or a better alignment with your values?

It is not easy to hold yourself accountable in this way; knowing what your values are and being honest with yourself about how well your life choices align with your values.  It is possible that some people will get upset with you when you consciously start making different choices with your time and the things you are interested in or willing to do. The benefit of making decisions with your values in mind is that you will be able to take a more direct line to accomplishing your goals.  This will impact time management, prioritizing preferences and cutting out those items that distract you from achieving the goals and objectives that you have set for yourself.

Determining own Values TEMPLATE

Analyse your use of time Template

Gandalf “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ( J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring)

How you choose to spend your time is a good indicator of the activities and people who are most important to you in your life. It shows your priorities clearly. How well do your daily activities reflect your priorities?

Personal Development. It is possible that you have considered taking an evening class to improve on your education or skills levels, but you are not sure how you will find time for attending that class given your busy life.  Taking a closer look at how you spend the time that you do have may help you see opportunities for changing your weekly or daily schedule in order to make time to address your own development needs.

Leaders and managers have many priorities to manage and often feel there not enough hours in every day to accomplish the business objectives they have set for themselves and their teams. Taking a close look at how you spend every day and every week my yield some interesting insights. You may discover areas where you could refocus yourself or delegate activities to free up more time to maximize your own productivity in more important areas.

Performance feedback could be indicating that your supervisor/manager feels you are not using your time at the office in a productive way. This template can also help you discover where he or she may be right and whether you are actually using your time optimally to achieve the performance goals that you and your boss have agreed upon.

The tool I am sharing helps you to take stock of what you are doing with all of the time that you have available to you. I once discovered that 30% of my time was at my own discretion and I created a mantra for myself “make the 30% count.” Whenever I caught myself involved in an activity which I had labeled as of low value to me given my own goals and values, I would just remind myself of the mantra and shift my focus to a higher value activity.

Analyze your use of time template

Should you need more development in how to be more effective at work, I suggest you look for a class on time management tools. These classes typically focus on how to get better at email management, how to better plan your day to do the right type of activities at the right time of the day (energy management) and also how to get better at keeping track of your highest priorities and making sure that you are working on the right items at various check-in moments with yourself during the day.

I hope your efforts to take a closer look at how you spend your time has given you the awareness of how much time you have available to spend at your own discretion. Are you using your time wisely? Are you doing things that will get you closer to the goals you have for your life?

I found one has to repeat these quick checks on a regular basis – maybe every 6 months – to make sure you are still on the path you had set for yourself when it comes to being in charge of the time you have.

Planning Effective Meetings Template


One of the most frustrating elements of many managers’ calendars are meetings. If you ask people they typically feel there are too many people present, the meetings take too long, some individuals talk too much, many people are off-topic and unprepared plus there are no or few decisions made which leads to a general feeling that there is no clear agreed path forward. This tool I am sharing helps a chairperson to prepare for a meeting and communicate the specific objectives of the meeting and also for every agenda item.

Some of the meeting maladies mentioned above can be cured simply by creating and distributing an agenda before having a meeting. This tool goes further though – it also helps to create clarity around each agenda item’s purpose in informing participants or driving specific decisions to move a project or initiatives forward.

Planning Effective Meetings Template

The tool already contains an example to illustrate its use. Just replace the agenda items shown with your own meeting agenda items and then complete each column as demonstrated to clarify the person responsible for the agenda item, the purpose of each item, the allocated time and the expected outcome for each of the agenda items.  Do share the objectives, time available and expected outcomes with those who are assigned to each agenda item – it helps him or her be prepared to guide the conversation and discussion accordingly.

Even with an agenda and a well-planned meeting there may be times when things need to change as it becomes clear that an issue requires to be solved right-away.  Give yourself the leeway to abandon the agenda for a particular meeting to deal with such an important issue or set another meeting right after the planned meeting to address the issue. To continue with a planned meeting simply because it was planned makes no sense if everyone in the room knows that an important issue is not being addressed and there is no plan to address it urgently. Their minds would be on the other issue and you would most likely not have the level of participation you need to successfully go through your planned meeting.

Some successful chairpersons make use of meeting “agreements” or “ground rules” to further improve the quality of the meeting. Some have items such as “each speaker gets a maximum of 1 minute to make his or her point” and “we debate issues and we respect the opinions of others.”

To know if your meetings are getting better – get feedback from your meeting participants. Take a few minutes at the end of the meeting to ask what went well and what could be better in future – exactly how. Reviewing the feedback when you plan the next meeting can help you to be mindful of further improvements that can be included going forward.

I hope this tool helps you plan your next meeting and move closer to having productive meetings which helps you progress your project or initiative as you had hoped.

Delegation Tracking Sheet Template

Effective managers know how to optimize the value provided by their departments and groups by effectively delegating tasks to their direct reports in a way that also continuously increases the skills and competencies of their direct reports.  I am sure I was not the first new supervisor who had a hard time tracking who was doing which delegated task at a given moment. The template I am sharing is a great way to keep track of not only who is working on which delegated task, but also what was the overall purpose of the delegated task.

Try to match the task or activity/project you need to delegate to the right person in your team given their current skills and competencies and also matched to current development needs each of them have.  The template is based on a list of categories to consider: (see second tab in template for the definitions shown below)

Show me
(Teaching and coaching the person by demonstrating what needs to be done and then give him or her a task that is similar for them to repeat what you have shown him/her)
Coach me
(Similar to show me, but in this case it is just a verbal discussion on how this kind of task can best be approached)
Tell me
(Tasks that the person can do already. So all you need to do is tell the person what needs to be done/ accomplished)
Check me
(Delegation which shows readiness for more challenges. Review what the person did to make sure it complies with expectations. In this case you may not need to be so specific on what the expected outcome will be since you will review a person’s contribution as they have devised it independently)
Connect me
(Person may already have the needed competencies and understanding, but may lack contacts of those who can help and support and should be involved in completing the task/project)
Prepare me
(Tasks that will develop the person in a specific area in order to become promotion-ready or able to take on future stretch-assignments)
Motivate me
(Person has successfully completed a task and recognition is due. Mention the success at a meeting or group gathering – more informally)

Delegation Tracking Worksheet Template

Use the drop down list in column B to select the category that applies to that task/project and the person that you are delegating to.  You can create more lines for delegated tasks by just inserting a line between the existing lines.

Reasons why this list can be very useful:

  • Keeping this list up to date and referring to it in a regular basis will help you remember when to check in on someone working on a delegated task or project.
  • You keep track of the reasons why you gave a specific task to someone – from a developmental perspective. This means you know how much support and coaching may be needed while the person is working on this task.
  • Avoid giving the same task to more than one person. There is nothing more demotivating than finding out another colleague is working on the exact same project as you are after you have already spent several hours doing research and talking to people about the project in order to deliver a great result.
  • You can do more and accomplish more as a manager when you don’t have to rely on your memory alone to remember who is working on which tasks and projects for you.

Succession Plan Template


It is always wise to think about who could lead your team, head up the location you are at or take on higher levels of leadership in future. It is called Succession planning. People retire, people vacate roles, new roles are created during reorganizations and restructuring efforts. All of these eventualities may create the need for someone else to take over in a leadership role and the question becomes… do you have anyone available internally who is promotion-ready?

This is the reason why it is important to keep a track of the key roles you have in your organization and also keep an eye on those who could potentially fill the role should it unexpectedly become vacant. The template starts with the key roles in the first column. Then you have to reflect on the chances that the role could become vacant. Retirement is a reasonably predictable event – even though it is true that several people do not wish to retire once they reach the legally set retirement age.

When you start considering those who could potentially step into a leadership role in future be sure you follow up afterwards to ensure that all those indicated as potential successors have a development plan and that their development needs are clearly understood and being worked on.

It is not the idea that you should be able to fill every single leadership role from within. It is good to bring in “new blood” and new leaders into the organization. It helps you grow the company in terms of capability, introduces new (desirable) mindsets and helps you fill those succession plan gaps.

Succession Plan Template

Many larger companies may be using an HR system which could include modules for leadership development and tracking succession planning. If you do not have access to such a system, this template may come in handy.


  • Review the plan at least once a year with the manager for the location/region that you are responsible for. The two of you should agree on the contents of the plan.
  • Be careful – this plan is just about looking ahead for planning purposes, but you do not want details of this plan leaking out creating expectations or demotivating anyone who is not on your list of potential successors. So put confidentiality first!
  • Remember it is a plan, which is a good start. But plans can change over time. Sometimes leaders are “late bloomers” and only start showing the motivation and ability to take on higher leadership roles later in their careers. Be sure to review all of the people in your employee pool when you review the plan.
  • Do follow up for each potential successor:  ensure that development plans exist that document developmental needs relating to the roles you would like to consider an individual for in future.