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Managing Organizational Change: Lou Deepe Talks About His Experience with New Directions

Untitled-1GUESTBLOGGER: Lou Deepe is the Director of Strategic Development at Wildwood Programs, a non-profit agency who’s mission it is to empower and enable children and adults with neurologically based learning disabilities, autism and other developmental disorders to live independent, productive and fulfilling lives.

 

Whenever you commit to participating in a workshop or attending a presentation, you hope that you will come away inspired and with new knowledge that will help you go back to your organization and help yourself and others to do things better, to be better at what you do.

But as we all know, that doesn’t always happen and sometimes you walk away thinking of all the other things you could have accomplished with that time. Occasionally though…it DOES happen and the impact that a particular workshop or presentation has on you and your agency ends up exceeding the hopes you had when you registered.

This happened to me and a few of my colleagues from Wildwood Programs this past summer when we participated in a workshop by New Directions titled “Managing Organizational Change”.  Wildwood Programs is a non-profit agency in the Capital Region that supports individuals with disabilities to live independent and fulfilling lives. Over the past few years, the disabilities field has been in a state of constant change from increasing regulations and policies, fewer resources, and a proposed change in our entire system of supports to a managed care model. Combined with an internal reorganization we were pursuing, we were seeing all of this change have a significant negative impact on our workforce.

The problem was, we didn’t know what to do to better help and prepare our staff for the present and coming changes. We knew there was confusion. We knew our communication strategy was proving ineffective. We knew there was growing resistance to change. But we didn’t know why.

Then we had a full day with Deb Mackin from New Directions in the “Managing Organizational Change” workshop and we got our answers. Through the course of that day, Deb was able to give us insight and tools that helped up to see what an effective change management strategy looks like. We learned about the reasons people respond to change the way they do and how to support people better through those processes. We learned about all of the critical elements that need to be addressed in order to overcome the “resistance” that grows in response to a changing environment. Most importantly, Deb was able to help us see these things in relation to the specific challenges Wildwood was facing as an organization and to see what specific steps we could take to make change a more positive and successful process.

My colleagues and I had many “Aha!” moments during the course of that workshop and came together soon after that day to develop our strategy for better managing change here at Wildwood. Since then we have had several meetings with leadership at all levels of our agency and have a plan to help staff better understand and cope with the present and anticipated changes. We have conducted mini trainings with our leadership utilizing the tools and principles we learned from Deb. These trainings have been very well received and there is a renewed excitement in the agency around the direction we are going in.

 

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