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5 mins w/ Alessandra Wulf

Interviewed on 05 February 2019

Share the wealth...

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your change management experience.

Alessandra Wulf, Change Consultant. For about a decade I've been working within organisations to drive positive shifts in New Ways of Working (Agile, Human Centred Design, Lean, Matrixed Decision Making), Offshoring, Acquisitions, Re-Org Designs, Capability uplifts and Culture Shifts.

I started with a Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management) and made it my intention to gain exposure across all fields of business to round out my understanding of the relationship between disciplines. Starting my career in Facilitation and Project Management gave me the discipline for execution and passion for connecting and fostering collaboration amongst groups which have served as a helpful foundation in Change.

I am constantly thirsty for research, insights and self-development, and on my quest for this completed a Master Yoga and Meditation qualification to deepen my understanding of myself so that I could better serve others. I'm now completing an Executive Masters in Consulting and Coaching for Change at Oxford University, Said Business School, and HEC Paris. The program enables me to join an international cohort of 26 participants, and together we push ourselves into vulnerable states to build critical thinking as Change Agents. I feel truly grateful to be working with an amazing calibre of fellows on this program as we decipher the complexities and ambiguity of change problems and am very excited for the future where I can continue to serve Industry with these skills refined. 

 

How did you come to perform in a Change Management related role? What attracted you?

I knew since I was a child that I wanted to help people and thought that meant Medicine, so committed my studies and summer schools to science. Though, after some time, I saw that western medicine wouldn't allow me to target the catalyst for a lot of ill health in society, and saw that organisational psychology had a big role to play in health, happiness and an ethical society. So, I maneuverer my way into Change, hoping that one day, and over time, I could target the crucks of many health and happiness issues in society, which can often stem or be exacerbated by the workplace. What's attractive to me in this field is the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world and mitigate what can often be significant trauma for people. I'm proud to be working in this field, which is only reinforced every time I see others smile around me throughout a change journey.

 

Why is good Change Management so critical to the way businesses perform today?

Let's say that 'good' change management has two parts; 1- effective change management, and 2- ethical change management, and bypass the obvious that good change management gives good ROI. The impact of 'bad' change management spreads further than just program objectives. It stretches to the happiness, health, engagement and level of connectedness we share as people in society, and in the quality of life we foster amongst employees, partners, customers, the public, and their families and communities.

If Change Management drives human change absorption, we need to be careful that we are guiding people to absorb the progressive and positive elements associated with change and holding the filter to limit furthering anxiety, fatigue, loneliness (recently researched as a higher health risk than smoking), trauma, health and safety risk in our communities. Good change management is critical to ensure we positively contribute to a greater good in the lives of people we touch. The discipline needed then is to constantly critique and remain active in our thinking, not becoming complacent with a method, a tool or a process, so that we can, with complete focus and intention, drive the change to its deserved end.

 

What makes a great Change Management practitioner?

Above all, I think a great awareness of oneself as an instrument of change. Which means that we need to hold a true intention to self-development, observation, self-moderation and commitment to the practices that keep these in action; presence, mindfulness, reflection. And a slight weirdness too. You can't be too similar the organisations you work with/for, or else you run the risk of being absorbed into them, after which you can't influence and are no good to anyone. We need to always remember that whilst we are present with everyone else in the organisation, our agenda sits in the future, and as an instrument of change we are constantly analysing the best and most effective way to get there by enabling and activating those around us.

 

What is your idea of a great change management challenge?

Something that is messy, complex, ambiguous, ethically challenging and never been approached before, what Keith Grint would call a "Wicked" problem. The richness in meaningful change, for me, comes into play when linear methodologies do not apply and only the meeting of minds on a foundation of trust and respect, iteratively co-create something which makes a positive impact on the dilemmas of our global health; population, environment, economic stability. What I find truly fascinating is finding out what is a right or wrong change. I'm still exploring this space and take a lot of lead from Foucault who explores power and truth as coming from 'everywhere' rather than a single authority. I think this is important for us to know as we deliver the 'right' change.