Communicating in Times of Change

So, you are a leader and you think that an email announcing change is adequate as a ground-breaking step from you.

Once the announcement has been made, the bugles have been played, you assume that people will neatly fit into their existing roles and execute what is expected from them. After all change is a constant and every one was told that during the on boarding process. Right?

Not so fast.

In the book, Leading for a Change, the author Ralph Jacobson talks about the importance of defining the roles in times of change.

The leader thinks that people are seeking leadership and the leader feels that they are providing exactly that. However, in reality, people are also seeking how they fit into the puzzle of change and how their roles are aligned towards the end result.

Some of those roles also need to be those that guide the leader and challenge the leader when a wrong step is taken. The leader needs to create that space of openness and safety, so that people can voice their concerns.

When communicating in times of change, a leader needs to clarify roles and responsibilities that help promote a healthy check and balance on the leader’s actions. The comfort zone is vanishing and uncertainty abounds. The leader needs every bit of support and guidance from subordinates during this time.

When people feel comfortable talking to the leader and expressing their opinions, they are more willing to help the leader achieve his goals. After all, change is not a one man job. The effort takes a village.



How to Say No in Writing

A few years ago, I sent some information via email to an acquaintance of mine and asked them if they would be interested in learning more. The reply was just ‘No’.

It is true that the question was asked in a way that the logical answer would be either a yes or a no, but if you are interested in connecting with people through your communication, it is understood that a slightly detailed answer would be more helpful.

A more detailed answer would be especially useful in situations where you need to interact with colleagues and customers.

Unfortunately, many times people don’t realize that a detailed answer is to their benefit not detriment. A terse answer is the beginning of miscommunication.

So, in this case the answer might have been better presented if the writer had said:

‘Thank you for your query. I appreciate you sending us this document; however, please note that at this time we are unable to pursue the matter further. You are welcome to send us the additional information. If the need arises, I will contact you.’

The edited email above says no (at this time), helps retain the connection, and is to the point. The person replying is essentially saying the same thing as the first email but in a softer and more gentler way.

Try positive approaches in your emails. You might be pleased with the results.






How to Reach Customers and Not Break Your Back Doing So

I was at a networking event recently and most of the people responded with the same answer when asked about the number one challenge in their business. They said that marketing these days had become really difficult as there was a lot to do on that front while running a business full-time.

For them networking was a crucial part of the marketing strategy and many had not ventured into the online space with blogging, intellectual capital, and email marketing because of time constraints. They were trying out the older techniques of marketing and not incorporating the new ones because frankly the new methods are a back breaking job.

Unfortunately, in the new marketing age, there is no great way around this modality yet, so if you are running a business or selling a product or service, you do need to start thinking of supplementing your networking efforts with building products or services that will encourage people to try your product. Your blog is the first place where you will start establishing yourself as an expert.

With so much to do while running a business it is easy to just hire a content person and do your blog writing for you in the hope that you will rank way up in searches. Although your ranking might go up, I think you can miss a vital opportunity to really connect with your customers–an issue if you are in your business for the long-term.

In my experience, the customer is looking for value, credibility, and connectivity when visiting your site. They want to see your vision shine through. If the customer does not see those things and just sales pitches, he/she will be disappointed.

There are assets that you can build on top of your blog to assist in your marketing and some of those things can be delegated. Make your marketing easier–not more challenging.

Here is the list that will help establish you more as an authority in your realm and help you be more effective. This is one combination that I have seen that works so I am sharing it here with you. You might need some help in building intellectual assets but the good thing is that you don’t have to keep creating them like you create blog content and the resulting value is high.

  • Blog (very important and you or someone who is well-versed with your business should write it). I have seen once a week work well and be very manageable.
  • Pick one social media outlet where your customers flock to and get good at it. Use Hootesuite or a similar social media sharing platform and schedule your posts.
  • Build intellectual assets over time: whitepapers, case studies, books, and podcasts.
  • Get noticed and pick up speaking engagements. Your professional association might need speakers.
  • Network where your customers are and build an email list.

Although this looks like a long list, it is more focused towards achieving your goal of providing value to the customer.

Your blog helps you promote the thoughts and ideas around your product or service the way you want; selecting one social media outlet helps you focus on building following in one space; creating intellectual assets positions you as a credible authority in your arena; speaking at events will help you enhance your visibility; and sending out marketing emails will enable you to stay connected with your customers.

Most of this work will become second nature and easier as time goes on.

I hope this helps. Remember giving value has to be at the top of your agenda, so if you can adapt these ideas to your work, you might be able to reach your customers with less hassle in the long run.


About the Author: Warda Zaman is an HR/OD Consultant and a Case Study Writer who helps organizations leverage their success. To find out how you can leverage your case studies, please email






Change Perspective with Questions

Very often we are faced with situations where we think the answer is in black and white. We pass statements that resemble decrees e.g. she is difficult or this is impossible. There is to be no further discussion on the topic. The answer is etched in stone. And despite the fact that the answer seems so correct to us, we are upset and unhappy.

Time to change perspective.

In the book Choose Yourself by James Altucher, the author talks about how such black and white determinations make a person unhappy and a real cool way out of such scenarios is to reframe the limiting thought into an expansive question.

So, ‘she is difficult’ will become ‘she is difficult?’ and ‘this is impossible’ will become ‘this is impossible?’

By changing the statement to a question, you open yourself up to a conversation or dialog and you learn to accept things out of your control.

Also by stressing less and accepting other possibilities, you start focusing on more important things and end up achieving more.

Try the questions technique and let me know how it worked for you.


About the Author: Warda Zaman is an HR/OD Consultant and a Case Study Writer who helps organizations leverage their success. To find out how you can leverage your case studies, please email


Giving for Leaders

In the book “Give and Take” by Adam Grant the author discusses the importance of giving vs. taking and says that a giving mindset helps in opening more doors and brings more people to your side than a taking mindset.

If leaders can embrace this paradigm shift, they might be able to see more engagement in their ranks and better employee morale.

Areas where I think this will help leaders are given below:

  • Providing resources proactively to subordinates so they can get things done
  • Spotting potential areas of conflict within department and handling them proactively
  • Giving positive feedback generously and in a timely manner
  • Giving advice/ coaching/ guidance about career paths
  • Giving hope and generating positivity

There are many areas in which leaders can be better givers.

The questions to ask everyday are: What can I give today? and How will I give today?

Leaders and HR Business Partners: Showcase your Best Work

As a leader and/ or HR Business Partner, a considerable part of your job is influencing key stakeholders with respect to important decisions or ideas. The desire on your part is to move people to action. Action, however, is one thing that is hard to come by because many stakeholders are still unsure about your credibility. Can you do what you say you do? How do you to it? What is the usual end result?

A movement in the creative industry is afoot which states that people are moved when you show your work. In fact, author Austin Kleon of “Show Your Work”, says that sharing is about process and if you share the what you do, you can build a following which in the business world can translate to building recognition and credibility.

Kleon says that showing your work is not just for creatives. It can help anyone who wants to be recognized. Therefore, the question for you is “Are you sharing your process?”

If not, then what is stopping you?

If you do not know how to show case your work, fear not. There are many ways to do so, and one of them is through case studies. In fact, in the book HR: The Business Partner, author Barbara Kenton and Jane Yarnall talk about the importance of building case studies for HRBPs, so that they can build their credibility with the people they have to work with.

Businesses are already improving their reputation and following through case studies, why not you?

Think about your future. Build case studies of your work and show the audience your capability. Get noticed. Go out there and influence well.