Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: Turn and face the strange

My current experiences with implementing new workflows and expectations

Has 2019 been a whirlwind for anyone else? No? Just me? Can’t be just me, guys!

Since becoming a part of the leadership team at Sprout Social, I’ve had no shortage of tasks to be done.

For those of you, I don’t know, my name is Jenn. 👋🏽 I’m the Manager of Scale Customer Success at Sprout Social, and I’m a first time People Leader. In addition to being tasked to lead a team of 8, I’m currently in the midst of building out a redefined strategy for the longstanding Scale book of business at Sprout Social.

As part of building out this team with a renewed focus, I find myself re-evaluating long-standing processes and rules of engagement every day, multiple times a day.

So when I synced with Joe and the rest of the CCSP founders on April’s topic: Process Changes & Improvements, I was all too happy to contribute my thoughts and learn from others’ experiences as well. (Thanks, Scott Berry- your article was true 🔥)

What I’ve found in my role (which is focused primarily on building a new team on the old one’s ashes) is that in order to drive forth the changes our team needs to see, we need the buy-in of all the internal stakeholders who can help to enable us. We also realize that as long as we are making every decision with our customersbest interests in mind, we cannot go wrong.

When we thought about re-evaluating our focuses and creating new workflows over our existing ones, we realized that we couldn’t begin just by simply backing out of the spaces where we used to be – that wouldn’t be fair to our customers, the team, or our colleagues.

Instead, the approach the Scale leadership team has taken is a transparent one. We’ve spent a lot of time meeting internally across multiple departments to share with the vision we have for the Scale org, and what we found when we started opening up those conversations was that we had a lot of people standing behind us to support our vision. They’d received the message we’d been working so hard to make sure was communicated: this change isn’t being made to benefit us. It’s being made to benefit our customers. The heaviest lift was over, right? Wrong!

Next came getting the buy-in from our actual team. It’s one thing to pitch larger themes of change to the people who will indirectly help to support. It’s another to get the buy-in of the people who are in the role.

Being a first-time people leader, I wanted to remain sensitive to the fact that everyone processes the news of change differently. The approach I tried here was the same – transparency and honesty about what we had figured out by then and where we’d need their willingness to be a little flexible with us while we ironed out fine details.

Luckily, I was blessed to lead a team that naturally leans into change and trusts us to make the best decisions for our customers, our business, and our people.

The biggest takeaway from my first experience (while in a leadership role) with navigating components of change management was this: stay true to the overall objective, be honest with my people (in and out of role) and communicate our intentions with clarity and integrity.

Is there a one size fits all recipe for navigating change? Of course there’s not. Mistakes will be made along the way and you’ll find yourself questioning your every move.

This month, we encourage you to thread below or tweet to us on Twitter and share your experiences with navigating change in the workplace. We’d love to know how you all are out there driving forth the changes that need to occur.

Cheers, mates! See you next month.

Jenn Arevalo is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. She is currently a Manager of Customer Success with Sprout Social.


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