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March 1, 2019

Author: Venugopal Chepur

Make every employee a change enabler

A few years ago, I read this profound saying

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men and women to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This advice made me think how boat building isn’t actually about the hull, mast, or oars, but rather about a way to enjoy a shared appreciation for the sea and sailing. This is certainly a more invigorating, creative, and non-myopic approach to ascend employees to a higher level of engagement.

Employers worldwide want their employees to be fully engaged in building the business, face and outplay disruptions while continuing to create great customer value. In other words, engage and enjoy the boat building and rides, while maneuvering through turbulent waters and gales!

During the years of my work helping businesses to transform, I have interacted with hundreds of professionals who were skilled in their respective fields and functions, yet struggled to understand, engage and evolve to create value, both to themselves and their employers. Most remained limited to their specific ‘jobs’ – and seldom were prepared for transformation or change … they were gathering woods, nuts, and bolts, carefully following instructions to build the boat!

Why does this happen?
It happens because most employers focus their Learning & Development (L&D) programs on traditional ‘skill development’ that results in employees being more transactional and routinized, at the cost of being less self-reliant and self-directed. With such learning, it’s no surprise that employees revert to tool-bound routine work to get the prescribed output driven by performance benchmarks. They often hold back from the big picture and the opportunity to connect the trends and changing dimensions of value with their own work. They also tend to miss the joy of exploring creativity and being futuristic!

Rethink the approach to human capital development. Organizations will need to let their workforce to evolve from a routinized mindset to a resourceful and adaptable mindset; understand business and technology compulsions, market trends, and the readiness the company will need in the medium and long term. This is more so imperative to survive,near-constant disruptions and technology impact today. Prepare employees with Learnability, Learning Agility, and Change Awareness.


preparedness afforded by foundational knowledge to understand changing business and technology environments and to be trainable.


knowledge of why organizations change, re-org, how to cope with transitions and support change and transformation


readiness to acquire new knowledge and skills, adapt and reinvent at work in the face of changes, challenges, and disruptions

But to do so, employers must go beyond usual prescribed skill development and controls. That means every employee must be imparted to help evolve to adapt and engage with changing business challenges and stay motivated with a sense of leadership. At, we have developed ChangeAhead™ – an employee-enablement online L&D course to address this need.

This quick and easy animated self-paced learning helps employees prepare to:
• Engage and lead change and business transformational endeavors
• Participate in problem-solving and value creation
• Cope with transitions in the face of reorganizations and disruptions

Please explore ChangeAhead™ at … 
Visit … foundations for winning!

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