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Sally Henderson: How to successfully manage change in 2020

Sally Henderson  is NDA’s monthly columnist discussing the pressures of leadership in our industry. Sally is an Executive Change Mentor with over twenty years’ experience.

Change. It’s the only constant we have — and it’s getting faster, more demanding and requires senior leaders to develop new muscles. Not just to survive, but to thrive.  

Change has to start with change. It sounds obvious but I find so many people are wary of change. But by breaking it down into bitesize chunks, change can be less daunting, more manageable — even enjoyable.  

Here are my top 3 tips to get 2020 whipped into shape and achieve your growth ambitions to be more successful and happier at work and in life:

Get CLEAR on what you want to achieve by this time next year:

  1. Make it visual by creating a vision board that shows your life 12 months from now. Who is in it? What have you achieved that you don’t have now? How have you grown as a person? What adventures have you had? What learning have you gained? You get the idea!
  2. Write it down and be clear on who, what, why and how that change will be made. Get journaling to express your thoughts and tap into your subconscious. With a delicious drink or something nice to eat to fuel you, start letting your ideas leap from your mind and come to life on the page. I’m a fan of handwriting over typing for this exercise as it creates a stronger connection with your thoughts.
  3. Get active to get thinking clearer. Rather than staring at a screen or blank sheet of paper, get outside. Talk to another person who is a positive influence or to yourself via recording your thoughts. By walking and talking you are using movement to move your mind, making it easier to get clarity on your goals.

Get CONFIDENT. If you imagine clarity is your vehicle to reaching goals and achieving successful change, confidence is the fuel to keep the engine running and momentum in flow. To grow your confidence, to create your year of excellence, apply these steps:

  1. Write down 5 adjectives to show how you currently feel about your year ahead and then choose another 5 to describe how you’ll feel once you have achieved those goals. 
  2. Put a percentage weighting next to each word (to give a total of 100% for each list of 5) to show how much of this feeling is present compared to the others.
  3. Now compare both lists to see how close (or far) you are from how you currently feel about your year ahead to how you will feel once those goals and dreams have been realised. 


You’ve got your vehicle — the ‘why’ you want to make change through your clarity — and   you’ve got the fuel to go in the engine to give you the required energy and healthy emotion to drive change. Now you need your roadmap – the best route to follow and the kit to take with you so you can actively commit to achieving your dreams and goals and avoid procrastination or missing out because you failed to act. Here are the 4 simple steps to help you commit to making successful, lasting change:

  1. Write a list of the key things you need to STOP doing to make your change happen brilliantly
  2. Now write a list of the key things you need to START doing to make your change happen brilliantly
  3. Next is to write a list of the key things you will commit to doing LESS of to bring about your goals and dreams
  4. Finally, write a list of the key things you will commit to doing MORE of to make your goals and dreams take shape.

January can be a pretty tough time for senior leaders – reconnecting with your team, stakeholders and clients after the holiday, but it’s also a great opportunity to reconnect with your own ambitions – and finding the space and time to get it down on paper is a valuable start. Good luck and let me know how you get on!