How to deliver change as a less experienced millennial woman

It can be intimidating to enter a new workplace full of experienced individuals who are experts within their field, but this is the nature of the job for a Business Change Manager. I began my career at 17 years old working my first full-time job within Business Improvement in a large Facilities Management company. I often felt that I was out of my depth trying to implement change, particularly in a predominantly male industry. People generally had worked their same daily routine for many years, so naturally, I would often come across resistance to changing their ways of working.

If there is one thing I have learned in my 6 years of working in Change Management, it is to embrace the fact that I am the least experienced person in the room, and I would encourage all other young women to embrace this too.

Why?

When you move into a new team or onto a new project, not only is it an opportunity for you to develop your experience and knowledge, but you also bring a completely different perspective to those who have been around for a long time, and therefore you would naturally have a number of questions that haven’t previously been thought of. The great thing about being the least experienced person in the room is that you have the freedom to ask these questions (no matter how silly you think they may be!) without being judged for not already knowing the answer. You rely on feedback from the experts, which enables you to be able to begin building relationships. The minute you begin to engage with the experts – asking for their opinions, their gripes, their suggestions for improvement, you begin taking them on the journey of change. This is one of the most important factors for successfully delivering change – they begin to understand the need for change and can contribute towards the solution. Being young works in your favour here too because it is less intimidating for teams when you ask them “why” they do something a certain way and offer up suggestions for alternative ways of working.

If somebody walked into a new organisation and told the existing members of the team that they needed to start working in a new way – essentially forcing the change upon them without the initial engagement and feedback sessions – teams may be much less receptive and accepting of the change. There is an extremely high chance that when that individual leaves, the remaining team will fall back into old practice. So believe it or not, although you may feel at a disadvantage being the least experienced person, this very often can work in your favour when delivering change.

One of the other factors that has given me the confidence to deliver change in mature and well-established workplaces is the support from my boss, our Company Director. She is confident and experienced in delivering change. She faced the same challenges so has been able to share some of her experiences. She has been a great leader for me to be able to bounce ideas off of, feedback concerns or challenges, and always empowers and supports me to have the confidence to challenge the status quo.

So my top tips for successfully delivering change are
  • Embrace your inexperience!
  • Ask the silly questions and confidently question the status quo
  • Speak to the experts – take them on the journey of change right from the get-go
  • Empower & support your fellow female colleagues

Olivia Chalmers, Business Change Manager

Olivia Chalmers

Olivia Chalmers is a 23-year-old Business Change Manager. She specialises in process improvement and Change Management. Olivia is passionate about working with teams to find and implement solutions to their business problems and delivering improvements that have a positive impact on their day-to-day role.

Related suggested reading: Do you dread having difficult conversations at work?

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