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A knowledge-sharing forum for business professionals

The Brain Exchange is a unique forum for business professionals to share experiences, discuss concerns and find solutions and inspiration within a confidential and supportive environment.

It’s not just a network or a talking shop – each meeting of the Brain Exchange is professionally facilitated to ensure that discussions are structured and focused on achieving results.

Who is it for?


Brain Exchange members are senior professionals working in a diverse range of roles and sectors. Current members include CEOs, entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners and senior managers.

How does it work?


Meetings of the Brain Exchange are held monthly in London from 18.30 to 20.30. There are ten spaces available at each meeting and places are reserved on a first come first served basis.

At each meeting a member of the group volunteers for the ‘hot seat’. They will outline to the group an idea, a problem or challenge that they are facing – anything that they would like to share with the group. With direction from a professional facilitator, the group spends one hour exploring the issue, giving feedback and making suggestions. The discussion concludes with the person in the ‘hot seat’ summarising their learning from the discussion and determining what actions they will take.

The formal part of the meeting is followed by drinks and networking.

All discussions are strictly confidential.

What are the benefits?


If you’re in the hot seat you are effectively getting an hour’s worth of business coaching. But everyone benefits from being part of the discussion. All participants get:

  • Eight different perspectives on an idea or problem
  • New ideas for your business and new approaches to business problems.
  • The opportunity to step back and reflect on your situation, your business and the future
  • Access to support from fellow professionals in a confidential environment.
  • New networks and business connections
  • The opportunity to learn from others with different skills and areas of expertise

What are people saying about the Brain Exchange?


“It’s like having a ready-made super-professional Advisory Board”

“The meetings are professional and focused – you get real value in less than two hours.”

“For my family-run business it’s a way of tapping into expertise and experience that we don’t have inside the company.”

“I gained a lot from being in the hot seat – I came away with solutions and ideas for re-energising my business.”

“Knowing that other people experience the same problems is so reassuring.”

“It’s like business-coaching but with added benefits!”

How can I join?

Membership of the Brain Exchange is by invitation only. You can be introduced by an existing member or apply direct to the Brain Exchange by contacting Jeanette Purcell at, or simply use the form below:

You should have senior level business experience, be willing to share your experiences and ideas and be a good listener.

How much does it cost?

Information about membership fees is available on

How do I sign up?

Go to


When is it next on?

The Brain Exchange will next be meeting on the following dates.  Go to to register:

  • 13 April 2016
  • 11 May 2016
  • 15 June 2016
  • 13 July 2016

Business courses fail to prepare young people

Vocational business courses in the UK’s schools and colleges have been largely condemned by an Ofsted report published this week (“Economics, business and enterprise education. A summary of inspection evidence April 2007 to March 2010”).   The Report’s criticisms single out those courses which are heavily dependent on  coursework and internally marked assignments.   It also comments on approaches to assessment as being “rather narrow and simplistic”.   Although students are achieving good results, the quality of students’ work and their knowledge and understanding is weak, the report says.  

“In 30 of the 39 schools, learning was limited by a focus on completing written assignments to meet narrowly defined assessment criteria, rather than securely developing broader understanding and skills.” 

As a result, the report adds

“students often had only vague ideas about the economy, interest rates and their impact, recession, inflation, why prices vary and the ownership of companies.”

 (Ofsted June 2011)

On the one hand the report fails to give credit to the many reputable vocational business qualifications that effectively test knowledge, understanding and practical skills to a high standard.   The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), for example, offers qualifications that are relevant to the needs of business and are supported by rigorous assessment requirements.  The AAT’s popularity and growth reflect the qualification’s proven success in helping people to get work, do a good job and progress in their career. 

On the other hand, anyone with experience of the current school system and further education won’t be surprised at Ofsted’s findings.   Business courses which rely on coursework and internally marked assignments are of variable quality.   When struggling with increasing demands on teaching staff,  scarce resources, the pressure to pass more students and a prescriptive regulatory system, colleges will take short cuts and standards will be compromised.      And of course it’s not just business education that suffers.  I remember my son’s remark when he was studying Romeo and Juliet for his GCSE exams.  I asked him what he thought of the play.  ‘Oh we’re not reading the whole play’ he said, ‘we’re only tested on one passage!’.   What a shame that my son and his classmates didn’t get to understand Shakespeare more fully and in a wider context.  How much did they really learn from such a selective approach?  Sadly, this is indicative of the general approach to education at all levels today.   The phrase ‘what gets measured gets done’ springs to mind.

It is a shame that the press seizes on reports such as Ofsted’s to bang on about the general ‘dumbing down’ of education.   It’s not all bad and there are many examples of high quality, innovative courses that buck the trend.   But we must allow educators the freedom, flexibility and resources to develop well rounded students who are prepared not just for their exams, but for life.

Download the Ofsted report here:

Ofsted Report June 2011

Business schools are in a competitive market – survival depends on quality

In the last 10 to 20 years the MBA qualification has grown in popularity and has become accessible to a much more diverse market of students from all over the world.

There is a view that the qualification’s remarkable success has in some way damaged the MBA’s status as the premier qualification in business and management. However, it is not growth in itself that threatens the MBA’s reputation, it is the variable quality of the huge numbers of courses on offer.

The MBA comes in for a lot of criticism as a qualification that has become a commodity, has lost its value and is irrelevant to modern business. Unfortunately such criticisms are out of touch with the positive developments that have taken place within the leading business schools in the last five years.

In fact, the MBA has gone through something of a transformation. Good business schools put effort into maintaining strong links with employers. These business schools are offering MBA programmes that are highly relevant , based on the most up to date thinking in business. Courses are practical – offering opportunities for students to try out new skills and knowledge in real business contexts. And the experience that comes from working alongside other students from a range of backgrounds and cultures is unique to the MBA.

However, as the MBA grows so do the number of new business schools that pay little attention to the quality and relevance of their courses. The number of MBA programmes that are not tested for quality and do not have accreditation is a matter of concern for employers and students. Choosing the right MBA course, which is going to bring a real return on your investment, has never been more difficult. Help is required to advise and support potential students when considering their options to ensure that they make the right choice of business school and management programme. At the same time, business schools need support to achieve innovative solutions to programme design and to demonstrate the quality standards that will differentiate their MBA courses from the thousands on offer.

Five steps to choosing the right Executive Coach


For many in business, the start of a new year means setting new goals. These might be strategic or specific to your business. But they could be more personal, connected with your career or professional development. Whatever your goal for the year, you could well be considering working with an Executive Coach to help keep you on track, give you support and to improve your chances of success. Good move! But how do you choose the best coach for you? Here are my top 5 tips to help you ensure you make the best possible investment.

Tip #1

Be clear about what you want to achieve through coaching. Are you able to articulate what you need help with or what outcomes you want to see as a result of your coaching? The more specific you are, the more successful your coaching will be. And, if you have a goal, you can seek out the Executive Coach who has the skills and experience to help you achieve it.

Tip #2

Ask around amongst friends and colleagues to see if they have worked with a coach and if there is someone they can recommend to you. A recommendation from someone you know and trust is always better than a Google search!

Tip #3

Look carefully at the profile of the person you are considering as an Executive Coach. Do they have relevant experience? How much practical experience do they have of business? How likely are they to understand your situation and the issues you are facing? An experienced coach is one thing, an experienced coach who has worked at the coal face is even better!

Tip #4

Look carefully at client testimonials. How recent are they?   Are they specific about how they benefited from coaching and what they particularly valued about their Coach’s approach.

Tip #4

When you think you have found an Executive Coach who fits the bill, ask for a meeting with them before you commit. Successful Executive Coaching depends on being comfortable with your coach and on there being a strong relationship of trust and respect between you. You will only know if the relationship will work by meeting them face-to-face.


Good luck!   If you are considering Executive Coaching you can contact Jeanette Purcell on 07946 385178 or

Three essential questions to kick start 2016



A number of my clients start the new year by setting aside a few hours to do some thinking and planning for the year ahead. While the temptation might be to get stuck into the millions of jobs that need doing after the break, these clients create some space to think about their goals for the year and the critical actions they need to take to achieve these goals. That planning time is definitely time well spent – it will help you to remain focused and to work effectively, avoiding stress and maintaining your work/life balance. To help you with your planning here are three essential questions to ask yourself at the start of the year:

Question 1: What went well last year and what have a learnt?

Before launching yourself into your plan for the year take a moment to reflect on the year just gone. What worked particularly well and why? What didn’t work so well and what lessons have you learnt as a result? Your answer to these questions will inform your planning for the year ahead. Your aim should be to capitalise on what went well (can you do more?) and to know how to avoid the pitfalls that got in the way of progress in the previous year.

Question 2: What are your goals for 2016?

A good way of thinking about this question is to fast-forward to the end of 2016 and imagine yourself twelve months from now. In an ideal world what will you have achieved? What will you be doing? How will you be feeling?   Now use this picture of yourself to help you articulate your specific goals. There may only be one (e.g. grow my business by 10%), the goal might be personal (e.g. achieve promotion or a new job), and it might be very specific (move into new offices, or take on an assistant).   Once you know your goals you can work out the actions you must take to achieve those goals.

Question 3: What support do I need?

You probably can’t do it all on your own! What about your own self-development? Where will you get your support and motivation from? How will you keep yourself on track when there are so many other distractions that might send you off course? What new skills do you need to improve your effectiveness? A business coach could be the answer here. With a coach you will be able to monitor your progress, talk through issues as they arise, tease out problems and find solutions for them. A good coach will give you direction, help you to develop new skills and provide you with the opportunity to monitor and review your progress on a regular basis – we so rarely do this on our own! Investing in a coach could be the most important investment you make in 2016 – why not give yourself this gift to help kick start your year!

Call Jeanette on 07946 385178 or email her on for details of JPA’s Executive Coaching Programmes.

5 reasons why networking matters

children networking

There are many reasons why you should aim to be an effective networker. It’s good for you, it’s good for your career and it’s good for your business. What’s more, if you approach networking with the right attitude you will enjoy the activity and want to do it more. Here are my top five reasons why you should aim to be a great networker:

Reason #1 – We do business with people we like and trust

It’s popular to believe that buying has become a depersonalised activity and that the hiring of staff is based purely on an objective assessment of a candidate’s skills. But the evidence is that, even today, most transactions in business are about relationships. We do business with people we like and trust. You can achieve a certain amount through marketing and advertising campaigns and it is possible for selling to be a completely anonymous business, but at some stage your customer, client or prospective employer is likely to come face to face with YOU. Their decision to buy or hire will be influenced by a range of factors which, at some level, will almost certainly include how much they like and trust you. Relationships are at the heart of any successful business. And so it is important to invest time in making connections, building relationships and maintaining those connections over time.

Reason #2 – Word of mouth marketing really works

I have been running a business for several years and ALL of my clients have come to me through word of mouth. Now, that’s not unusual for my type of business but all companies, regardless of size or industry, rely to some extent on word-of-mouth marketing.

Surveys into the impact of online marketing show that peer recommendation is the most trusted form or advertising, whereas online search, banner advertising and other ads are among the least trusted (NIELSEN – Global Online Consumer Survey – July 2009). Even with the explosion of online review applications (eg, Yelp, Google, Urbanspoon), research clearly demonstrates that word of mouth—product recommendations made by family, friends, work colleagues, or neighbours —is still the most effective way to win new customers. (The Harris Poll #74, June 3, 2010). At the same time, many people fail to recognise the value of customer referrals and the power of networking as a form of word-of-mouth marketing.

Reason #3 – Being good at your job is not enough

Like it or not life is not a meritocracy. The truth is that your skills, qualities and experience are likely to go unnoticed unless you are prepared to promote yourself. This means seeking opportunities to communicate what you have to offer and your career aspirations. I’m not talking about trotting out a sales pitch to everyone you meet, but I am suggesting that a more proactive approach to advancing your career is required. And this involves building a useful supportive network.

Reason #4 – Well connected people are ‘in the know’

The surest way to pick up on a new opportunity – whether it’s a new client, new job or changes in your market – is to be well connected. How many times have you heard about a job vacancy or a potential new project through a friend or work colleague? The grapevine is a wonderful and powerful communication channel and you should use it. By developing your networks you not only stand a better chance of knowing what’s going on but you are also more likely to be remembered when one of your connections wants something that you offer. Networks are vital as a means of sharing knowledge and information. What’s more, a good networker who enjoys meeting and learning about other people will broaden their outlook and develop a useful body of skills and knowledge, making them an interesting person to know.

Reason #5 – Networks are a valuable source of support

Networking is not just about finding opportunities and advancing your own interests. A good network is one that is based on give and take, trust and respect. There are people in my network who I know I can ask for help when I am thinking through a new idea or dealing with a particularly difficult problem. And they know I will do the same for them in return. If you build your network in the right way, you will find that it can be a valuable source of support and advice.

This is an excerpt from Jeanette Purcell’s “No-Nonsense Networking” – 6 steps to raising your profile.

No-Nonsense Networking:
Six Steps to Raising Your Profile

A free eBook by Jeanette Purcell

Through thirty years of experience in business and academia and countless conversations with great networkers, I have observed that surprisingly few people network effectively. Yet good networking skills are essential if you want to get on in business and have a fulfilling career.

This is why I wrote this book. 22 pages full of practical tips and ideas on how to build long-lasting successful business relationships. It is for anyone who wants to grow their business, extend their business networks or raise their profile within their profession or working environment. If you are looking for a job or preparing for promotion, this book is also for you.

In No-Nonsense Networking, I take you through a practical approach to building a successful network in six easy steps:

1. Developing the right attitude.

You need to approach networking in a positive frame of mind. We debunk some of the myths about networking and deal with the common issues that hold people back from being enthusiastic and confident networkers.

2. Preparing your pitch.

With the right attitude and a clear idea of what you want to achieve from your networking you are ready to write your ‘pitch’. We look at how to tell your story and present your skills in a concise, positive and memorable way.

3. Managing your existing networks.

It’s not only about making new connections but also about managing your existing contacts. How well are you managing and tapping into your existing networks?

4. Preparing to network.

Successful face-to-face networking begins with thorough preparation. We will cover the preparation required for every networking situation.

5. Networking events.

From social gatherings to business meetings we look at how to manage networking situations, make the right connections and get results.

6. Building and maintaining the relationship.

Truly successful networks require maintenance. We consider the follow up required to convert a new connection into a productive business relationship and how to sustain and grow your networks over the long term.

Each step is explained in comprehensive detail, with achievable exercises at the end of every section. After reading this book, you will be better equipped to network confidently, successfully and intelligently.

Download for free

You can download this eBook for free from any of the following sources (click on the icons to open in a new window).

jpa_ebook_download_ibooks jpa_ebook_download_kindle jpa_ebook_download_pdf

Download for free from Amazon Kindle Store, iBooks or as a PDF

About the author

Jeanette Purcell is the founder and Managing Director of Jeanette Purcell Associates, specialists in leadership development and change management. She is a leadership specialist, providing coaching, lecturing and consultancy services in all aspects of leadership development and organisational change. Her focus is on giving leaders and their organisations practical solutions that have a measurable impact on performance.

Jeanette is a Visiting Lecturer at Cass Business School and has over 30 years practical experience in management and business leadership. Until establishing her own business, Jeanette was Chief Executive of the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the global accreditation agency and network for MBA students and graduates. In this role she succeeded in raising the profile of the MBA as the premier qualification for business leaders and developed a range of services and support for MBA graduates throughout the world.

Jeanette is an accomplished international public speaker. She presents and writes on issues relating to leadership, business development and business education and has been instrumental in the delivery of Cass Leadership programmes in Dubai. Current corporate clients include Pfizer International where Jeanette delivers ‘networking skills’ training to high potential female managers.

In 2013 Jeanette founded the Brain Exchange, an exclusive forum for business professionals to exchange advice, knowledge and support in a confidential and professional environment. The Brain Exchange meets monthly in London and is achieving growing recognition as a high quality business network.

Top 3 tips for improving your time management skills

white rabbit

While working with a team of sales managers recently I asked them what part of their jobs they found most difficult.  The answer came back loud and clear – ‘time management!’  These guys (yes, they were all men) were working long hours and were expected to meet challenging sales targets.  Some of them were responsible for managing other people and all of them had various additional duties such as managing budgets, running meetings, attending exhibitions etc.  It struck me that, no matter how experienced we are, or how familiar we are with the basic principles of good time management, we tend to forget everything we have been taught when the going gets tough.  We go into fire-fighting mode, we abandon our plans, we stop communicating with others and we neglect our own well-being.  Even the most experienced business leaders need regular reminders to encourage them to plan well, manage themselves and prioritise effectively.  Here are my three top tips for ensuring that, even when under pressure, your time is managed wisely and effectively.

Time management tip #1 – Plan!

Most people don’t plan well, and yet good planning is at the heart of effective time management.  Start with your overall goal – maybe your goal for the year.  Is it to grow your business? Launch a new product? Enter a new market?  Goals give you something to commit to and they will guide your decision-making.  Make sure your goal is SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed.   The key question to ask yourself is what will your world look like in a year’s time when you have achieved your goal?  How many new customers will you have? What level of financial improvement will you see?  These outcomes will be the measures of your success and progress towards these measures should be regularly monitored.

When you have described your overall goal work out what specific steps you must take to achieve your goal.  Make these steps as specific and practical as possible and put them in a time-frame.  For instance, “Hire a PA by end January” or “Design new page for website by April”.  Work out who you need to involve in these activities and communicate your intentions to them.

Write your plan down and keep the document as a key point of reference to monitor progress.  Some people are reluctant to write an action plan but if it is written well, and if you keep it under review and update it, it will help to keep you focussed.

Time management tip #2 – Prioritise

President Eisenhower said ‘Most things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent’.  If you have set your goals and written your action plan you should have a clear idea of what is important.  However, stuff always gets in the way of the best laid plans, demanding your time and attention and distracting you from essential tasks.  In these situations you need to be ruthless about prioritising, by identifying what you must do and what you can ignore or leave for another time.  Ask yourself:

  • Is this really urgent?  If it absolutely must be done this week, without fail, then go ahead and get it done.  If it can wait for a week allocate some time to get it done – put it in your planner or diary and then move on – it’s dealt with, don’t think about it anymore.
  • Is it really important?  What are the consequences of not getting this done?  If they are truly serious then the task is important and you should do it now or allocate a time to get it done.

Urgent tasks which are not important are often imposed on you by someone else with their own  priorities  – meetings, phone calls  and emails come into this category.   In such cases you need to decide how important the activity, or the relationship with the person driving it, is to you.  If you conclude that it is not so important then consider whether the task can be delegated to someone else.

Tasks which are not urgent but important  are the ones that should be given time and attention.  Such tasks might involve planning, preparation, getting some exercise, relationship-building.  All these activities will help you to get control over your time.  If you don’t plan for these activities and build them into your schedule they will at best become urgent at a later date, or at worst result in a crisis or failure.

Time management tip #3 – Delegate

Even if you work on your own or in an isolated role there are always opportunities to delegate.  If it is managed properly delegation can bring so many rewards – more time for you to spend on important stuff, greater efficiencies and staff who are motivated by acquiring new skills.  If you are doing things that other people could be doing just as well then you are not using your time effectively.

Here are the basic steps to take when delegating:

  • Make a list of tasks that could be delegated.
  • Consider who could possibly do the job – this might be someone who has the potential to develop or someone who has some free time (if you’re self-employed you could consider outsourcing)
  • Be prepared to brief the person thoroughly.  Explain to them exactly why you are delegating the task and put the task in context so that the person understands the big picture and the overall objective.
  • Set the parameters.  How much authority do they have?  When would you like them to report back or check in with you? What are the timescales?
  • Monitor.  This doesn’t mean interfering or constantly checking and correcting.  Just keep an eye on progress – you can set up regular review meetings depending on the size and nature of the task.

Delegation gives you more time but we often shy away from it as we think it’s easier simply to do it ourselves.  But if you are prepared to invest time in briefing others who have the skills or the motivation to help you the payback is significant.  However, don’t use delegation as a means of dumping all the unpleasant jobs that you don’t want to do – you won’t get the support you need if that’s your attitude!

Effective time management requires a lot of discipline, a high awareness of those things that waste your time and some persistence.  You have to be motivated to achieve your goals, but if you start with a good plan, know the difference between urgent and important, and delegate wherever you can you will achieve your goals more quickly – without burnout!

The buzz about the Brain Exchange


One cold January day back in 2013 I was chatting to a business colleague about the joys of self employment after years of working for large organisations. 

“But do you know what I don’t like about running my own business?” I said.  “It’s that there is no one to talk to when I need to make a big decision or when I am thinking through a new idea or problem. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get access to some peer group support once a month, where we can do some ‘thinking aloud’ with other business people?” 

As we talked, it became clear that my complaint was quite common among people who were either self-employed or running small enterprises.  And we realised that, although there are many business groups and networks in existence, none of them addressed this particular problem.  And that is how the Brain Exchange started.    

Today the Brain Exchange is a regular fixture in Central London attended by growing numbers of people from different walks of life and backgrounds.  Here’s how it works….

What is the Brain Exchange?

The Brain Exchange is a unique forum for business professionals to share experiences, exchange knowledge and find inspiration within a confidential and supportive environment.  It’s not just a network or a talking shop – each meeting of the Brain Exchange is professionally facilitated to ensure that discussions are structured and focused on achieving results.

Who is it for?

Brain Exchange members are senior professionals working in a diverse range of roles and sectors.  Current members include CEOs, entrepreneurs, social enterprises, freelancers, small business owners and senior managers.

How does it work?

Meetings of the Brain Exchange are held monthly in London from 18.30 to 20.30.  There are eight spaces available at each meeting and places are reserved on a first come first served basis. 

With direction from a professional facilitator, the group spends one hour exploring an issue presented by a group member who volunteers for the ‘hot seat’.  The discussion follows an agreed structure to encourage full participation and the consideration of all view points.  The final part of the discussion is focused on drawing conclusions from the discussion and identifying possible actions.   The formal part of the meeting is followed by drinks and networking.

All discussions are strictly confidential so that members can be completely and honest about the problems that keep them awake at night. 

What are the benefits?

If you’re in the ‘hot seat’ you benefit from what is in effect an hour of business coaching.  But everyone benefits from being part of the discussion.  All participants get:

  • Eight different perspectives on an idea or problem
  • New ideas for your business and new approaches to business problems. 
  • The opportunity to step back and reflect on your situation, your business and the future
  • Access to support from fellow professionals in a confidential environment.
  • New networks  and business connections
  • The opportunity to learn from others with different skills, knowledge and areas of expertise

What are people saying about the Brain Exchange?

“It’s like having a ready-made super-professional Advisory Board”

“The meetings are professional and focused – you get real value in less than two hours.”

“For my family-run business it’s a way of tapping into expertise and experience that we don’t have inside the company.”

I gained a lot from being in the hot seat – I came away with solutions and ideas for re-energising my business.”

 “Knowing that other people experience the same problems is so reassuring.”

 “It’s like business-coaching but with added benefits!”

How can I join?

Membership of the Brain Exchange is by invitation only.  You can be introduced by an existing member or apply direct to the Brain Exchange by contacting Jeanette Purcell.  You should ideally have senior level business experience, be willing to share your experiences and ideas and be a good listener.

What’s the buzz?  It’s the Brain Exchange.

For more information see

Why people resist change


When managing change in business the focus is so often on monitoring time, money and process. It’s true that good project management skills are essential to successful change management, but we also need to lead people through the process and this involves understanding how human beings react to change.

The behaviour of my friend’s three year old daughter, Anna, illustrates the point. My friend was moving out of London to a bigger house in the country. She had told her daughter about the move but Anna had not reacted well and was refusing to enter into any discussions about her new life in the country. My friend explained to me that, every morning on the walk to Anna’s nursery in London, they passed a primary school. In the playground of this school were three bright yellow swings. “That’s the school I want to go to so that I can play on those swings” Anna had said. Her interest in swings seemed to be at the heart of her resistance to moving. Realising this, my friend checked out the primary school that her daughter would be attending in the country. Not only did this school have swings in the playground but also a climbing frame and a sandpit! She took Anna to see the school and the three year old was immediately converted. As the day of the move grows closer they have been visiting the new school as often as they can to maintain Anna’s enthusiasm. My friend’s daughter is now looking forward to her new life in the country – everyone is happy!

Although this story appears to be far removed from the complexities of the workplace, it does demonstrate some of the most fundamental principles of effectively managing and leading people through change.

1. Clearly articulate the benefits of change to your team. “We are moving and it’s going to be great” is not good enough. Human beings are naturally resistant to change and will not co-operate unless they understand and feel excited by the end goal.

2. Don’t assume that your enthusiasm for change is going to be shared by others. When talking about the new future think about what will motivate different people to support the project. Anna didn’t share her mother’s excitement about the new house, but she could become very enthusiastic about new swings! Similarly, in an ICT change programme for example, your Board of Directors might be turned on by the prospect of a good looking new website whereas, for your Finance team, the prospect of more streamlined processes for invoicing is more likely to motivate them to support change. Amend your change message for different audiences, find out what life looks like from their perspective, and highlight the benefits that will appeal directly to them.

3. Try to make your vision of the new future as clear and tangible as possible. My friend didn’t just talk to Anna about the new school, she took her there so that Anna could see for herself. Can you make the benefits of change come alive for your team?

4. Remind your team of the long term vision and the benefits of change at regular intervals. When the going gets tough and the end seems a long way off it is easy to lose sight of the overall goal. Keep that goal at the front of people’s minds to maintain their morale and motivation.

When dealing with adults it is useful to remember that some of the most childish instincts are at the heart of resistance to change. If you understand and deal with these instincts you have a much better chance of leading a motivated, supportive team through the change process.

Join the JPA Master Class “Managing change without the pain” on 20 May 2014 

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