Cool change: from painful to positive

Grant-Symons-BetterChange_web BetterChangeBetterChange offers consulting, training, facilitation and coaching services around any kind of change, from large-scale restructures to personal professional development.

Clients can access online resources to further hone their skills in communication, building trust, effecting change and marketing and sales.

Bernie White (right) and Grant Symons (left) established the company four years ago, with the goal of turning change into a humane, proactive and positive process, Bernie says.

“We see a lot of change happening in organisations, and it’s change being done to people.  We’re more encouraging of people to design their own future rather than wait for it to happen to them.”

Change is often seen as a once-in-a-while thing, but the pace of life today demands constant evolution, he says.

“People need to think about what needs to change every day. You can’t afford to wait until the gap between where you are and where the world has moved on to is so large that you have to resort to a major event – like a restructure.”

Restructures – often a knee-jerk reaction to external forces for change – can have a devastating effect on an organisation, Grant says.

The process often takes so long, it’s almost out-of-date by the time it’s done. And if it’s rushed people are confused as to what their new roles are.  “In those instances, it destroys capability. And people lose trust in the organisation.”

Trust is key in facilitating change, and BetterChange offers specialist training on building both personal and organisational trust, Grant says.

“In our networked world, trust is a critical enabler. It builds confidence in relationships, and speeds up communication and the flow of information. We’re giving people the skills to build trust across their system, or within their team, or in themselves.”

The BetterChange approach is winning over clients, which include large government departments as well as private sector businesses.

One major government department has been a client for about seven years, using BetterChange to help it meet the changing demands placed on it, Bernie says.

“We have done everything from understanding what sort of change they were having to respond to, through to addressing how they design a better future.  As part of that we worked with an 80-person team to totally redesign their capability within the organisation.

“The chief information officer described our process as ‘effortless change’. He couldn’t believe it and he did not realise he had such great capability already within the organisation.”

Bernie and Grant are seeking to create a “global network of practice around change” and are in discussions with independent consultants in Australia, who could employ the BetterChange approach there.

The firm, which has four Wellington-based consultants, is also in talks with two consultants in Auckland.

Moore Stephens Markhams director Bruce Stormer is invaluable as a sounding board for business strategy, Bernie says. The pair meet with Bruce regularly to identify ways to grow and the next steps to keep them moving forward.

“The thing we really like about Bruce is the advice and encouragement we get. He’s totally on our side and he gets what we’re trying to do. We feel he takes a special interest in the business and we love testing our ideas against his thinking.”

Bruce has also put the firm onto Xero, giving greater oversight of the business’ financials, a backstop that’s appreciated as BetterChange focuses on the future.

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