While on vacation, my husband and I tried stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). Standing up on a board that is about 30” wide and floating on water sounded like it was easy. As we rented the boards, we envisioned ourselves standing up and paddling around the bay in a matter of minutes. Let’s just say, we laughed a lot as we spent more time in the water than on the SUP itself.  Anticipation and reality were two different things.

We anticipate when it comes to our work, often our passion, too. The mobility industry is buzzing about the future due to changes on the horizon: Brexit, new laws, civil unrest…These changes are anticipated to limit the availability of talent and may even restrict the type of transfers or assignments that are available. Because some of these changes can occur rapidly (new immigration regulations, travel restrictions), mobility departments have to be prepared to pivot quickly. Other changes, such as those associated with the UK’s divorce from the European Union, arguably allow for more time to anticipate and to make strategic decisions. The effects of Brexit are already being felt, but companies are working to mitigate the impact through careful program and policy assessments.  

So how can you make sure you spend more time standing up on that paddle board and less time in the choppy water of Mobility Bay? Here are my 5 tips for successful change management in your employee mobility program:

The right board – In SUPping, the board can make a difference. Make sure it is not cracked, and is the right size for your comfort. The same applies to the mobility program. Ensure that your program has a solid foundation today. Policies should be current and up to date so that you are not playing catch-up when changes are needed.

Be mindful – SUPping requires focus and concentration. If your mind starts to wander, you will fall off! Keep your mobility program focused on its intent.        

Stand – Standing on a SUP requires steadiness – you can’t jump to your feet and expect to stay stable. Mobility programs are similar: staying clear-headed in the face of change assists with informed decision-making. Sometimes immediate action is needed, such as in cases of civil unrest, but a careful and strategic “stand” will be more effective, and likely compliant, than changes made in the heat of the moment.  

Paddle –In SUPping, paddling steps include the reach (how far the paddle goes out), the catch (where and when the paddle hits the water), power (the strength of the stroke) and recovery (return for another stroke). An incorrect paddling technique lands you right in the water. When reacting to changes in the mobility program, careful paddling techniques also apply: the reach (determine needed changes), the catch (when will changes become effective), power (assess the effectiveness) and recovery (adjustments that may be needed).

Turn – Here comes the tricky part. Turning a SUP requires stepping back and slowing down. Before making any changes in the mobility program’s direction, step back and assess the potential impact on the program, your employees and your internal stakeholders. Ensure any changes will continue to meet current and future company goals.  

We know change is coming within the mobility industry, but we don’t know if anticipation and reality will align.  A careful and considered approach to those coming changes can keep you on your feet on the Mobility SUP. By the way, my husband and I signed up for SUPping lessons on Lake Michigan. My ultimate goal is to be able to do yoga on a SUP. Downward dog anyone?

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