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Why gamechangers focus on people when delivering change

Marlowe Director Annette Andresen shares her choice of business gamechanger and tells us why gamechangers focus on people when delivering change.

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Annette Andresen

Raising the bar – the gamechangers that make a difference


When I was asked to join a BBC panel discussion about gamechangers I spent time looking back at the people who have influenced me over the years, and those people whose work has meant that I, as a woman, can step into a senior leadership role. I also sought someone who has led in a way that we at Marlowe see as being conducive to change i.e. someone who chooses an engagement and people-focused approach backed up by visible role-modelling.


After much reflection, I named Dame Inga Beale – the first female CEO of Lloyds of London. Not only did she turn Lloyds from a paper-based company to a digital one (no mean feat!) she is also a huge pioneer for D&I.  She passionately believes in inclusivity and demonstrates why diversity is so incredibly important for a business to thrive, especially given that she was the first woman and bisexual personal to be named on the Outstanding and FT Leading LGBT Executive Power List – a testament to her influence on the diversity conversation.


She’s demonstrated that you can get to the top in a very (dare I say) toxic masculine environment by leading in a way that I would like to lead – with openness and by bringing her personal values to work, role modelling the behaviours she wanted to see.  


Focusing on people – that’s what gamechangers do


In the world of change many gamechangers have fundamentally changed their and their organisation’s ways of working in recent decades. Whether it’s moving to agile, lean ways of working, customer-centricity or exciting new technology it’s imperative that leaders need their people to embrace the change to make it a success.


What lies beneath is less the technology or process that has been a game changer, but it’s how leaders support employees through any change that makes the difference between adding value to the organisation and ‘emperor’s new clothes’. There’s also increasing research into the neuroscience of change – this now proves what we’ve known for years – some people will react to change with excitement, but many with fear and increased stress.


The role of change leaders is to consider how people are brought on the journey so the organisation can achieve the outcomes, and value, that they need. It’s vital that companies have the emotional engagement of their employees, regardless of what the change is.


GenAI – a technological gamechanger?


As I was thinking about the ‘human’ gamechangers it also led me to think about the other game changing advancements that are happening right now and the topic of the moment: the rapid evolvement of GenAI.


Whether you love or hate the premise of it there’s little doubt that it can make the workplace a far more productive, interesting and intellectually challenging place. However, it’s fair to say that many employees are feeling uncertain about it and are wondering what will happen to their job if some of the tasks are removed – we often hear:

  • If my role is no longer based on volume of tasks, how will my performance be evaluated?

  • How do I transition to becoming more creative, or customer-centred, or entrepreneurial?

  • Will I need to learn new skills?

  • Will I lose my job?

  • As a leader, how do I transition to managing people based on different criteria?

In my view, AI could result in more time to engage with people and give them the opportunity to develop their skills and career to adapt to the change. While technological advancements are huge, in my view they don’t compare to the human mind. The benefits of bringing our humanity to bear at work could be huge; but we need to work with people to get there. And doing that will be the next gamechanger.


About Marlowe

At Marlowe we partner with organisations to deliver large scale, complex transformation and change. We deliver business change solutions, change capability, assurance, training, leadership effectiveness and cultural change.

Our focus is on your people to ensure your change is delivered practically, successfully and sustainably. Please contact us if you would like to know more about delivering exceptional business change.

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