When I was growing up, all I wanted was to be a Doctor. But when I got rejected from every single University I applied for, I had to change track fast. First I took up Chemistry, but it turned out I wasn’t a natural Chemist, so I pivoted again into money, banking and finance.
All this hopping around is somehow seen as a negative, but every single wrong turn, mistake, temp job, random contract or project you’ve worked on will tell you something about what you’re really here to do.
For me, as soon as I let go of medicine, I realised what I actually wanted to do was fix companies - not broken bones. Looking back over my career, everything I’ve done has been about change.
So if you feel hemmed in by your job title and what you’re technically employed to do is vastly different than what you actually do, like me, you could be a Change Maker. We are here to make things better, not just for a healthier bottom line, but for healthier and happier people, too.
Why does this matter? Because when you know more about how to maximise your natural Change Maker skills, you get on a fast-track to a more influential, senior position and become so much more employable.
After Uni, I found myself working as an office manager in a recruitment company where I ended up fixing all sorts of things that had nothing to do with my job description.
I designed new systems that solved problems and fixed processes that people didn’t even see were broken.
I helped create a better flow in the office environment so that everyone there could work more easily.
I didn’t know it then, but what really excited me about what I was doing was called change management.
I worked in procurement for years before I realised what I’d been doing was all change management.
My first big project came up when the hotel chain, Post House, was bought by Holiday Inn. My job was to integrate ninety-three Post House hotels in the UK into the Holiday Inn brand.
In theory this was procurement, but in practice it was change management. Far from being about a change of branding and repainting rooms, this project was really about learning about how both companies operated, and creating a new work culture that was different for everyone.
In my experience, a lot of project managers are Change Makers. You could even be an office manager, or someone working on a project but not managing it, who has brilliant ideas about what’s really important on the project - and be perfect for a change management role.
In my procurement and purchasing manager role at Holiday Inn, I learned a valuable lesson about creating a culture of respect from the Kensington hotel’s chief housekeeper.
She had brilliant instincts when it came to efficiency and came to me because of a problem with the hotel’s outsourced laundry service. She knew there was a saving to be had by taking the waste out of this particular system. I decided to build a solution by creating a system to track what was coming in and going out. Once we knew it worked, we rolled it out across the entire hotel chain.
By cutting down waste in the supply chain, together we saved the company £1m annually. We didn’t do it by sacking people, but by cutting out waste within a system that wasn’t delivering what it was meant to.
I worked for two different NHS trusts in the UK on how to contract for and run commercial aspects of big construction change - and every single element was business change.
Before I had even heard the change management term, ‘customer journey mapping’, I was doing it. I worked on how we could help people through their health journey in hospital in a way that was natural for them.
A lot of operations people do this kind of process re-engineering all the time. They’ll go through and change the order of doing things for the best possible customer experience.
This is change management at its best and it’s particularly important now as we go into a recession where businesses need to create aligned and effortless experiences for their customers.
If you see yourself in this and you suspect you could be a highly influential Change Maker in business, this is an amazing time to pivot into change management. My Change Maker Academy will give you the missing pieces to add a hugely valuable skill to your portfolio. The deadline to apply is approaching fast, so don’t miss out and join the first cohort of Change Makers now.
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