Rachel Davies

Rachel Davies: Coaching Teams Through Change

Posted in Workshop


When you come to an event like The Big DO, you’re sure to pick up new ideas that you want to try out when you get back to work. However, when it comes persuading your team to try the idea out, you may feel like you hit a brick wall. Resistance is very common in organisations large and small. As an agile coach, I’ve learned that forcing adoption of new practice results in minimal compliance. Teams who don’t want to try a new approach, often fall back to old ways of doing things. Come to this interactive workshop to get some tips for getting to the heart of resistance. Lean how to dissolve barriers to adopting new working practices. We’ll be doing some practical exercises in this workshop to generate ideas that can get your team moving in the right direction.



It’s a common story that people become frustrated at work because they can’t change things, or no one will buy into their new idea and improvement. One of the first revelations of Rachel Davies’s workshop was that this initial rejection of an idea for change is no bad thing as often people aren’t ready to implement the change. Slowing down the way you approach change is no bad thing as it can lead to lasting and effective changes.


We then did an exercise trying to understand why organizational change can sometimes fail. One of the main reasons boiled down to resistance from individuals due to fear or other factors. Creating an empathy map for specific individuals or team members can be an insightful way to try to understand their thinking and why it is they may not want to work accept your proposed changes with open arms.
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We then took some time to discuss the other barriers to change and the elements that can help facilitate change in a positive way (management approval, clear evidence of the benefits, a clear plan delivered in easy to understand language).

It also became clear that to deliver change you have to be trusted. Rachel referenced David H. Maister’s ‘The Trusted Advisor’ which gave an equation for Trust:


T = (c+r+i)/s

Trust = (Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy)/ Self Orientation


While there is no way of proving the validity of this equation, it was a really interesting talking point and led to much discussion.


We then took a well-earned break as the post-lunch fatigue swept in. However, after some light refreshment we were back discussing ways of implementing change effectively. I liked the theory of ‘championing skeptics’. If you can get the people who are most against your change to come around to accepting your ideas as being worthwhile, then you have done your job well.


Finally we broke out into more of  a Q&A session where we looked at ways of making changes stick, through establishing routines, using visual cues and ensuring that responsibility for maintaining and delivering the change gets shared as widely as possible but using methods that are simple to understand and easy to update and augment. Rachel gave an example from her own workplace of a Teddy bear that represented  recruitment based duties. This teddy got passed round the office on a pre-defined rota and made it clear who had responsibility for this area in the coming week.  The routine itself became easier as each week, each holder of ‘Ted’ adding information to the wiki as to what the Ted duties entailed and how to perform them. This then allowed even more junior employees to take on the responsibility effectively as there was now a clear and easy to understand body of knowledge.


There was a lot of really interesting discussion in Rachel’s session and we all left knowing that the next time we wanted to bring around change, we would be able to do it with clearer thinking and in a far more effective manner.