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Futurpreneur Canada Director Shares her Four-step Solution for Change Management

No matter the cause of change in the workplace, getting employees on the same page can make or break a successful transition. Paulina Cameron, CPA, CA and director of Futurpreneur Canada, shares her four-step solution for a successful transition

No matter the cause of change in the workplace, getting employees on the same page can make or break a successful transition

This is something Paulina Cameron, CPA, CA, knows better than most. Now the director of Futurpreneur Canada, a national non-profit organization that provides financing and mentoring to aspiring business owners aged 18-39, she’s helping to launch thousands of Canadian businesses through mentoring and financing.

Through her training as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Cameron has acquired the tools and insights necessary to navigate change. She says that having a clear idea of why the change is happening and what the priorities of the company are is essential, especially when working with young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

Cameron recognizes that in addition to making sure the company employs people with flexible skill sets, there are four steps that companies can take to empower their staff and give them the skills to help manage change.


Pre-change: Training for flexible skill sets

Fast rates of change can be confusing for staff, and certain skill sets become critical to ensuring success during transitional periods. Cameron says Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs) can play a key role in helping businesses manage change.

“One of the facets of the CPA program is equipping its leaders with the ability to be agile and responsive to arising needs, and to comprehend seemingly disparate data and information to provide meaningful information and solutions,” says Cameron. 

“During periods of change and transition, the pace of change is rapid,” she adds, “and, as such, these skill sets are critical for staff to feel knowledgeable and equipped with the right tools to succeed in such environments.”


Step 1: Communicating the “why” of change

“To buy into change, staff need to understand what is wrong with or missing from the current state, have a vision for the future, and know how the proposed changes will bring the organization closer to that future vision,” says Cameron.

Specially trained staff are an essential part of this process. “They can utilize their skills of cross-department data analysis and strategic perspective to showcase this information in a way that will be understood by employees and will be rooted in real data,” she explains.

When all staff members are brought into the conversation, they feel more connected to the transition and are more likely to buy into it.


Step 2: Setting priorities during change

Step two involves providing staff with a clear understanding of the priorities of the change process, and providing training for those things.

“Leadership in this phase looks like having a deep understanding of the core business operations and metrics for success, and aligning change processes and training around them,” advises Cameron. “Training is critical to change management success. However, for it to be effective, it needs to be implemented in a logical and meaningful way that aligns with overall business objectives.”

For example, if a key business objective is growth, then training needs to focus on building up leadership qualities for staff so they can step up to the next level.


Step 3: Building a support network

Challenges can arise during transitions, which can bring new opportunities for leadership — as well as conflict. Employers should focus on providing morale-building training that will help to form a cohesive and cooperative team.

“Training around conflict management, teamwork and interpersonal skills is critical for employees to feel like they can navigate those obstacles in a productive and supportive way,” notes Cameron.

Equipping employees with the tools to be able to communicate in an empathetic manner can help different departments work together to make changes in a positive environment.


Step 4: Assigning ownership and control

Staff want to feel like they have some influence over the process and can control its impact. Otherwise, feelings of resentment or insecurity can surface that might cause issues within the company.

“CPA training is critical here, as high-level strategic business understanding allows individuals to see how all of the dots are connected,” says Cameron. “This empowers them to be proactive agents of change themselves.”

Showing staff the bigger picture can enable them to see how they fit into the changes; it empowers them to plan how they can shape their department and ultimately, move the whole company toward a seamless transition.