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Episode 027: Change Management Essentials for Normal Times and Now

Today’s episode of the AEC Leadership Today podcast features Tammy Jordan, founder and principal of the Leader Consulting Group. We walk through the fundamentals of change management, the risks to both leaders and organizations when change is managed poorly, why change management can be so difficult, and how we can succeed with different types and aspects of change – especially now. 


Change Management Essentials for Normal Times and Now

Organizational change is psychological, not transactional. So why don’t we consult with organizational behavior and relationship experts when we think through and strategize about change and change management? Well, we get to today! If you are a person, work with people, or have people in your organization and if you ever experienced any type of change, this episode is for you. 


“Organizational development, in and of itself, is the study of creating change in organizations and how organizations develop and grow and pivot.”

—Tammy Jordan


In this episode, we discuss:

  • How Tammy got started in organizational development. Originally in HR, she shifted careers when HR was more transactional and less people-oriented than she expected. She then found herself in the non-profit world, facilitating and strategic planning, and realized that’s what she wanted to do.
  • What change management is and how it can impact our organizations. Tammy shares common examples of when change management should be employed that most people will recognize and understand, like high-level leadership changes and the introduction of a new technology – and how these are both similar and different.
  • How change management is executed effectively. It’s ALWAYS related to people, as the “people component” of change takes the most time and effort. Humans are creatures of habit, and disruption of that habit can be difficult for a lot of people. 
  • The differences between ‘change’ and ‘transition’. 
  • Why we need to get buy-in early and seek advocates, as well as why we need to understand the dynamics of informal power and influence. 
  • The benefits of a robust communication strategy and acknowledgement that employees at all levels work through “denial”, “resistance”, “exploration, and “acceptance” phases – and do so at different times… and why middle management of often the key to successful change.  
  • The importance of normalizing resistance. Telling your people, “I want you to push back,” normalizes denial and resistance and helps them work through the stages more effectively.
  • Why you need to explain the “why” behind the change. Your people care more than you think!… and why, if we bring change as leaders, we need to make sure it’s a positive change. 
  • How emotion drives performance and how it’s contagious.
  • Why great practitioners like engineers or nurses don’t always make great managers or leaders, and how they must be better trained.
  • The risks to leaders and leadership teams for not managing change well.  If not managed well, we lose credibility and don’t get taken seriously moving forward.  There are also impacts to morale and efficacy. 
  • The typical pitfalls and hurdles that derail change management and how those can be avoided. 
  • How fear and anxiety is affecting organizations with COVID-19. Although the ‘other side’ of fear is hope, we cannot “silver line” everything and maintain credibility – doing so can produce “toxic positivity”. 
  • Why change during COVID-19 is different and how we need to be helping our employees.  Many people are overwhelmed and in a state of fear. Moving too fast into cognitive thinking and problem solving will not work and will lead to more near-term stress. 
  • Why, especially in light of all that’s happening, now is a great opportunity for leaders and managers to engage and build meaningful relationships with employees that can pay major dividends down the road – and how the opposite can also be true. 

“Change management communication should include: why is the company doing this, and how does this initiative directly impact your role?”

—Tammy Jordan


There are many dynamics that need to be mastered for effective change management. Tammy walks us through what we need to know and how we must act to be most effective. Our conversation is also another great example of the benefit of the dialog format we have here on the podcast as we dive deep into our topic.

About Tammy Jordan

Tammy is an author, speaker, trainer, and consultant in many things HR and Organization Development. As the founder and CEO of Leader Consulting Group, she works with leaders on managing rapid growth, change management initiatives, hiring and promoting the best talent, developing agile and authentic leaders. Since 2011, LCG has been a unique consulting firm believing in hearts and minds working together and that connection and empowerment are paramount to business results and success.

Tammy’s professional career has included positions in healthcare, hospitality, not-for-profit, and consulting. Tammy brings over 20 years of experience to her clients. The majority of her current clients represent the property management, hospitality, and the A/E/C (architecture, engineering, and construction) industries.

Tammy holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology with a concentration in Human Relations and Work from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH and a Masters Degree in Organizational Development and Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tammy has extensive experience in multiple work assessments, is certified in DiSC, and specializes in the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) and The Predictive Index.

She loves to practice creative endeavors as meditative techniques (writing, painting, gardening), doing just about anything with her 2-year-old son, Finn, go for walks with her dog, Lucille, and escape to warm temperatures with her husband, Tom.


Thanks for listening to the AEC Leadership Today Podcast!

I sincerely hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Be sure to check out Tammy Jordan’s contact information and the Leadership Consulting Group website links in the resources section below for more information. If you like what you heard, leave a review on iTunes and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues. Look forward to seeing you in the next episode!  

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About the Host

Peter C. Atherton, P.E. is an AEC industry insider having spent more than 20 years as a successful professional civil engineer, principal, major owner, and member of the board of directors for high-achieving firms.  Pete is now the President and Founder of ActionsProve, LLC, author of Reversing Burnout. How to Immediately Engage Top Talent and Grow! A Blueprint for Professionals and Business Owners, and the creator of the I.M.P.A.C.T. process. Pete works with AEC firms and leaders to grow and advance their success through better strategic planning and implementation, executive coaching, leadership and management development, performance-based employee engagement, and corporate impact design.

Episode 027: Change Management Essentials for Normal Times and Now