Scaling Cultural Change that Leads to Action


September 12, 2023

Navigating Cultural Changes

Successfully navigating change is a challenge that every organization and employee will inevitably face. Navigating change presents a wide range of difficulties as well as opportunities for growth and innovation. Whether it’s a rebrand, a reorganization, a merger or acquisition, or integration of new technology – change occurs in many ways and on many levels in the workplace.

Ultimately, change is a personal process, and successful change initiatives address the needs and concerns of individual teams and people. It’s not only individual contributors who need to adapt and intentionally integrate and reflect on implications of changes—it’s leaders too. 

A successful change strategy takes into account how to communicate and mitigate change at all levels of an organization. At the core of successful change is putting people first. Whether it’s change coming from an organizational need, or society as a whole, the people side of change is key to change acceptance. 

Change Acceptance: The Biggest Challenge of Cultural Change

As a default, people tend towards sameness and routine as a method of ‘safeness’ and stability in the workplace. 

In any change initiative, there will be people who immediately buy-in. This group represents the early adopters and promoters of change. Other typical divisions include a large middle section of people who are uncertain about what the change means for them. Inevitably, there will be a group of people who are cautious and resistant to change, whether it’s due to past experience, how the change impacts their role, or uncertainty about how the future of the organization will look. 

To solve for resistance to change, lean into intentionality and the strengths of your people. Without anticipating and understanding the concerns of your people and who may be on the opposite end of change, the change is at risk of failure.

Change Efforts: What Happens When They Fail

When change efforts fail, it’s not just frustrating, it’s costly. Failure to mobilize employees and activate change results in financial and morale losses. 

When it comes to change, one size does not fit all. Once a change plan is solidified, organizations often need to spend considerable time and resources on change consulting and mitigating change rejection.  Organizations spent $2 billion on change management consulting between 2020-2024. 

Despite the large amount of time and money spent on change efforts: 

  • 50% of change efforts fail
  • 70% of failed change efforts are due to employee resistance and unsupportive management behavior.

Core Change Principle: Addressing Employee Mindset

For employees, there are typically three questions that go through their minds. 

  1. “What does this change mean for me?”
  2. “Why is it happening?”
  3. “What will it look like when the change has been made?”

Strategically leveraging leaders and managers as change levers is a key factor in change success. Employees often look to leaders in the organization to be beacons of change, understanding how they should take the change by modeling their behavior. 

Identifying key stakeholders who have influence on employees at the organization and equipping them with the tools to answer these questions is an essential step of change management. 

Clear communication and clearly defining milestones of when, where, and how the change should be appearing is necessary to illustrate what change will look like. Having a plan and defining milestones allows identification of roadblocks and connecting the right people when challenges do occur.  

Addressing employee questions about change isn’t as simple as announcing a change and letting it unfold – it’s a continuous process of intentionality. 

Tip: Champions can help facilitate steps to visualize what an effective change will look like and socialize it with other team members. 

Navigating Change: Things That Don’t Work

Some common pitfalls when it comes to mobilizing an organizational change:  

  1. Statements from Leadership Without Clear Action Steps
  2. Lack of Management Support
  3. Lack of Employee Communication

For example, a single all-hands meeting with no follow-up action of intentional integration may leave employees with questions about how this change should look. Failing to support managers and leaders and recognize them as change beacons can create a culture of frustration and confusion as messaging may become skewed if managers are not cued into how change will impact them and their teams. 

While organizations may not get 100% buy-in for all changes, making sure that managers are connected with the reasoning and messaging behind an ongoing change clarifies change intention. 

How to Navigate Change: Start with People

Create Communication Avenues

  • Having forums at different levels of the company is an essential part of collecting the voices and representation.

  • Intentionality is at the heart of successful change management. Allow employees to verbalize their experiences and anxieties or excitements.Rather than leaving feelings of resistance to change up to guess-work, leaning into intentionally creates a productive feedback loop that turns resistance into productive actions.

  • Making space for the disagreement and uncertainty from people through intentional forums to address change concerns opens the communication channels between employees and leadership. These spaces are a way to share consistent messaging and reasoning. Ongoing communication lets employees process changes in a constructive and honest conversation – forming supportive connections, before, during, and after change. 

Support Managers and Leaders

  • Support managers and leaders by giving them the tools to mitigate change for their teams and communicate large scale impacts. Often, organizations fail to adequately support their managers and leaders in the face of change. 
  • Leaders and managers are a huge lever in accepting organizational change to ensure that the messages are consistent at all levels of the organization and understanding the impact on individual business units and employees. 

Turn Ideas into Action

  • Change is mobilized when employee concerns and challenges are turned into action. 
  • Giving permission for employees to evaluate what skills and avenues they have internally for mitigating change unlocks productive action. Connecting employees with opportunities to lean into support each other and themselves through change
  • Help employees understand what is getting in the way of their success. A conversation allows employees to step back and evaluate what steps they can take to understand and take action towards the road blocks . Empowering employees to take action towards solutions moves the needle on larger organizational goals. 

Case Study: How Ancestry Turned Cultural Change into Action

Ancestry is a DNA technology company that helps connect people with their family history and heritage. They aim to bring families and people together around shared stories, and connections around cultural background and history. 

During the 40 years that Ancestry has existed, the company has undergone constant transformation. They’ve been a private company, a public company, and back to private; they navigated the challenges of changes to work during the height of COVID; and have been undergoing a digital transformation of their company and product for accessibility and cultural relevance across the globe. 

In asking themselves ‘how can we make sure that our product works for everyone?’, they’ve adapted both externally and internally. Agile change requires a shifting mindset and a sound change strategy – with people at the center. 

Ancestry’s Goals in Partnering with Imperative

When Meg Harris, Ancestry’s VP of people,  first joined the organization, she recognized that employees had a strong connection with each other and with the purpose of the organization. 

Amidst new policies that created expanded optionality with where and how they work, the norms of work at Ancestry underwent large scale change. 

Recognizing that connections across teams were challenged without casual run ins between co-workers, and that  “we just don’t see each other as often,” welcoming new people to the company was also a concern. Meg wanted to create opportunity beyond casual connections to support Ancestry’s culture throughout ongoing change. 

Ancestry’s engagement survey revealed that employees across teams had disagreement on the way things should be done – identifying a need to connect employees across functions for collaboration. These insights helped Meg formulate actionable goals to work towards as part of her change strategy. 

  1. Create Personal Connections
  2. Bias for Action
  3. Empower Growth & Collaboration

Imperative conversations offered Ancestry employees a middle-ground space to bring psychological safety forward. Connecting employees across teams allowed them to better understand their own work as well as adjacent teams, humanizing work. Employees felt that they had the permission to step forward and change the way they worked and interfaced in their day to day. This allowed Ancestry to work towards their organizational goals while addressing human needs. 

The results showed that leaning into the human side of change created a successful environment for change:

  1. Create Personal Connections: 97% of employees intended to have an ongoing relationship with their conversation partner
  1. Bias for Action: 82% of employees completed a behavior changing action
  1. Empower Growth & Collaboration: 95% of employees felt their success increase

I think conversations on Imperative are making people like feel good about the organization investing in them and in their success.  And the fact that we had so many people implement and actually execute for specific changes that they were advocating for, I think is fantastic. This is a great tool to help people behave differently, and and people feel like it’s a commitment to them and to their growth in their development

Meg Harris

Activating Change Through Meaningful Conversations

Navigating change at scale doesn’t have to be complex. Learn more about how we can help you navigate change at your organization.

Learn more about how Imperative can help you activate change at your organization.

Activating Change Through Meaningful Conversations: Ancestry Webinar

Emma Powers – (she/her) – Imperative:

Alright! Welcome, everyone. Thanks for being with us today. I’m Emma Powers, head of marketing here at imperative, and we’re so happy to have you join us today. For those new to us, Imperative is an employee engagement platform that accelerates organizational performance and transformation by activating employee impact at scale through the power of meaningful conversation. 

Today. We’re thrilled to have Meg Harris, VP Of People at Ancestry, to share how she formed a clear and actionable plan to activate transformational change at her organization

In our time to day Megan Travis will cover: yhy change is so hard to launch and sustain, ideas for how to get by it among your employees for cultural changes, insights into the results of scaling change initiatives with imperative.

So if you have any questions throughout, please enter them into the QA. And we’ll reserve time at the end to answer them with Megan and Travis. And now I can transfer into introducing our wonderful speakers today.

So we have Meg Harris with us. She’s an experienced Hr. Leader with a background in supporting the people activities needed to drive large-scale growth and transformation.

She has led global teams with a vision of inspiring and empowering a diverse global work force to deliver excellence for clients and communities.

Megan has worked with global teams to design and develop experience centred programs and activities that attract, develop and retain top talent.

And it’s my pleasure to introduce a dear friend of mine, Travis Mears, and this is one of my favorite bios that has ever been written. I wish I could take credit for this, but I didn’t write it myself. So here’s Bio:

What do you get when you cross a former dean of students, a part time, crossfit, coach, culinary connoisseur, and disruptive thinker. Just add 2 tablespoons, surprise, one tablespoon width, a dash, intellect, whisk together, and that’s Travis in his current role. Travis supports global enterprise partners at imperatives as imperative senior director of accounts and customer success before joining Imperative Travis served on the leadership team of North America’s largest Lgbtq and Ally Chamber of Commerce supporting enterprises across Seattle with the development of their belonging initiatives.

You can sum up Travis’s caree in one word: community. He’s dedicated his life to thawing the freeze of injustice, to unleash the boldness in every community. Over the course of his career, he has used his formal training and education, adult development and positive psychology to disrupt systems, establish strong partnerships and to lead organizations away from believing the phrase ‘We’ve always done it this way’ is the right approach.

And now I’ll hand over it to Travis and Meg.

Travis Mears:

Thank you so much, so excited to have this conversation, Meg. Welcome! Thanks so much for jumping in today. 

Meg Harris:

Absolutely. I well, one hearing your bios fantastic! I think we should hear more about you and less about me, but that’s awesome. And so happy to be here, and really excited for the opportunity, and welcome to all. So, thanks, awesome! 

Travis Mears:

Well, and, Meg, this is a full circle moment for you, isn’t it? Because you first heard about imperative from a webinar?

Meg Harris: 

I sure did. So. And this is going back probably 3 years ish and something came up. Honestly, I think it was on Linkedin and it was an invite to a webinar hearing more about connecting people managers together. I believe it was right in the middle of you know the pandemic, and we were grappling, like everybody else, with with connection and opportunities for for building better, and you know, more meaningful relationships across the organization.

And so I attended the webinar. I was immediately interested in the flow from there. So yes, it is full circle moment, so so happy to be here.

Travis Mears:

Meg, and gives us that opportunity to first step into a relationship and then really bring it through and have that through line consistently through the experience. And then ultimately, now we get to do some really cool work together. So I’m super excited for a conversation today, and you know, folks as Emma mentioned, we’re talking about change. And how do you sustain change in organizations? 

And we all know Meg, especially you. This is no small feat, by any means. So before we jump into the conversation today, folks, as Emma mentioned, you know, post those questions in the QA. Let us know what you’re thinking. What are you hoping to walk away with? But to get us going? I do wanna get those brains going, you know it’s 9 am.

I’m here on the West Coast, Meg. I know it’s about noon over in Tennessee, where you are. Hopefully. Folks are awake by this by this point in the day. And so folks attending right now, please post in the chat. What do you hope to learn from today’s session with Meg, as mentioned as Emma mentioned, we’re gonna answer some questions at the end of our time together, but we wanna hear from you first take a moment, make sure you select everyone in the chat and post.

What do you hope to learn from today’s session? We really wanna hear from you. Make this as engaging and as as exciting as possible. Given that change in and of itself is an exciting process. So folks go ahead and post those thoughts in the chat. Now and then we’ll go ahead and start to to jump right into the conversation. 

So folks, as Emma mentioned first and foremost, imperative is an a engagement activation platform. The way that we do this is first and foremost, is humanizing the process of change and really bringing bringing people into the equation. And the way that we activate changes in organizations are through meaningful conversations, because ultimately what we have forgotten in many ways is that we’re social beings. At the end of the end of the day, we process new information. We process new experiences, through social experiences and conversations with our peers. 

And so that is what Megan team have leaned into today, and we’ll talk a little bit more about our work with ancestry specifically, but also give those folks new to imperative a little bit more specifics around how we do the work that we do. So let’s get started. 

And so folks are typing vigorously in the chat, Meg. Right now, folks wanna talk about reassurance and change real life examples of other what other companies are doing, because change is a huge topic, right? I mean the slide that we’ve got up on the screen right now is just an example of a couple of the changes that organizations navigate consistently. And so we’ll talk folks, more specifically about ancestry specific change activities as well as some of the other activities we’re working currently with other partners utilizing imperative. 

And so, Meg, to start us off. You know, navigating cultural change is huge, right? And it’s such a broad topic, and I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear the word change, I sort of have this immediate like, oh, gosh!

A change is coming right? I mean, how does the word change land with you, Meg? Just as as a person?

Meg Harris: 

Yes, no, absolutely. I mean, that’s the first thing I think of is, what does that? What does that mean? What’s it gonna mean for that people work here? What does it mean for the way that we work? What does it mean for me personally? I think you you kind of start sort of most people start here right? What does that mean for me? And then eventually, you know, you start building out the layers of what does that mean for the people sitting around me? What does that mean? 

For, you know there’s there’s so many unknowns that come with it. And that that reassurance that you know we don’t know everything. But here’s what we do know. And here’s what it does mean for you

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative: 

And I think I know we’ll talk a little bit more specifically about that. Helping people work through. It is a big thing that I think of, I wanna think about change. How are we gonna help people get there? And I love that, Meg, because ultimately change is a personal process, right? And I think oftentimes we forget, as the leaders of the organization, that we are also navigating that change at the same time. Right? 

And I think you have folks that we also work with and support sort of look to to the leaders in the organization as the beacons of change. They’ve got it, they they feel super confident they’re fully embracing this when in all actuality, we also are are people at the end of the day. Yes, we still may have a certain role in the organization, but but we’re navigating that change as well and make.

I know ancestry’s gone through a lot of changes recently, but I will say, from imperative standpoint, about 95% of our current partners have gone through some sort of a change in the past 8 months. 95, which is a pretty amazing moment. And and so to start us off Meg, I’d love to have you share with us a little bit about what are some of the things that ancestry is navigating right now from a change perspective?

Meg Harris: 

Yeah, absolutely. And what’s interesting, too, about changes like there’s so many. There’s such a vast array of small changes that and and massive changes like we see workers and acquisitions here. And you know, a rebranding like these are really big, momentous things. But there’s some really small changes that happen that can have a really deep and sustained impact on how a group or a population of the company is is navigating, or how they’re working, how they’re operating and so yes, it’s sort of all of those things, but terms of ancestry specifically to your question. 

So as an organization, this is our fortieth year. So we’ve been around a while. We’re not a new company. We’ve been a public company, a private company. We’re back at private again. So we’re PE backed as an organization and the organization has undergone a ton of digital transformation product transformation, accessibility transformation. Over a number of years. 

And one of the kind of really key changes that we’re in the moment navigating is, you know, how can we make sure that our product works for everyone. So you know, if your ancestors were a family history DNA technology company. We help connect people with their family history and and their and their their heritage, their roots. Try to bring families and people together around their shared stories, and connections around their cultural background and history. 

So I mean what a cool, like product to be part of and admission and experience. And you know, so we but as an organization. You know, we there’s a lot of records that are out there for Western descendants. So people coming from Western Europe who have come over and navigated over to America. We have fewer kind of comparative records and and experiences for people who don’t come from that background. 

So we have been really working hard as an organization on being culturally relevant and having a culturally relevant product for people across a wide range of backgrounds, racial, ethnic, even age on gender, etc. And being more inclusive as as an organization and more adaptive and agile to the the world around us, and what people are looking for. 

And so one of our biggest shifts has been around, how can we be one more more nimble? So how do we shift our mindset towards more of an action orientation? To how do we make sure we have a great representation within our own organization to make great decisions about what people, from a variety of different backgrounds would want to see in our product, and in our services and in our support, and in the way we engage and talk about who we are as an organization and that requires, you know, mindset shift. It requires the way that we act kind of shifts. And so those just a couple of examples. Very recent history. Yeah, just a couple of changes going on.

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative: 

And undoubtedly, as you’re navigating that right, folks are taking that in based on their own lived experience in the organizations right? And and thinking about well, how does what does this actually mean for me? And so we’ll talk a little bit more of the human side of things. But you know, one of the things I wanna name for the folks attending today is, you know, as organizations are navigating change. I think we’re often forgetting that, you know, they’re assuming best intent, right from a change perspective, that folks are gonna really lean into this. And at the same time we have to really think about. You know. How is the change impacting our employees to continue help helping them ground in the organization and understand where the organization is going? 

I know in my experience, Meg, working with all of our partners across the globe. You know a lot of folks have navigated a lot of workforce reductions over the past several months, because I mean, we we’ve all watched the news these days, and there’s not so not amazing news, if I may say these days. And when we think about, you know, a change like a workforce reduction, we forget that there there is a process of grieving, a loss in that. And then what happens is, fear is started, it is inserted into our experience because folks can’t help but ask themselves, Well, am I next right? And so when we think about these changes. I think we often we don’t often enough think about what’s the emotional impact that changes are are having on our employees. 

And so, Meg, I mean, I’m sure that you’ve experienced this yourself is that the biggest problem when we think about a change in an organization is change acceptance because we’re forgetting about the fact that human behavior plays a large role in this. And as human beings as people, as social beings. 

Our first instinct when a change pops up is to defend against it, and that’s either  privately or publicly right. And the fact is is that we choose safe or sameness as a form of safety and sameness comes in a similar experience in an organization. 

And so, Meg, I’m just curious as you as you’ve navigated your career through Hr. Undoubtedly you have led hundreds of change initiatives. I mean, how has this lack of change acceptance shown up for you over the course of your career?

Meg Harris: 

Yeah, absolutely and I think it’s great that that you’re calling this out. Because, you know, in any kind of change initiative, you’re gonna have some people who are immediate buyers. These are people who maybe this is immediately impactful in a positive way for them. Maybe they’re getting a promotion because of this change. Or maybe they’re expanding their remit. Or maybe this has been their idea in the first place, and they’re excited, that they’re, you know, that the organization is taking something in a direction that they’re excited about. So you’re gonna have a group that are kind of your immediate sort of buyers. You’re gonna have a group that’s kind of in the middle, and they may skew a little bit more towards like. Seems like a good idea. But I’m not sure yet, or you know, some folks who are kind of like seems like not a great idea. But I’m willing to listen to here a little bit more.

And then inevitably, there’s gonna be a group of people for whom maybe they’ve seen this happen before. The pendulum swings a lot at companies. It certainly has. Everywhere. I’ve worked where a lot of different things have been tried before. They didn’t work the first time it’s coming back around again. Now we’re going to rework. Think we tried that 10 years ago? Like, are we sure? 

And you’re gonna get people who did through experience don’t like the change. And those that say, I just don’t think that it’s a good idea. Or have like concrete examples where they’ve seen it not work before or you know, just really like things the way that they were in the first place. And so in my experience, shifting as many people in the middle towards being buyers is a great place to put most of your effort, and that doesn’t mean that you ignore anybody who is not a buyer at all. Of course, like, we need to focus effort there also.

But the momentum that you can get from the kind of sticky middle, I think is really significant, and brings a lot more people with you. And so in my experience, like just seeing those wide range of reactions. Really, having ahead of time, like a good plan for the folks who are already buyers, and how you can activate that population. Really trying to anticipate and understand what are some of the biggest concerns and who might be, you know, on the opposite end of acceptance like who might be having a hard time. Why might they be having a hard time trying to anticipate some of those things ahead of time. So you can build that into your communications and into your kind of strategy for activating the buyers. I think, is a really could be a really effective use of time, and and ultimately, and we’ll talk, I think, a little bit more about this and but I think managers are a huge lever for change initiatives, and so really focusing on upscaling that population, making sure they have all the right information that they need and activating as many of them as humanly possible.

You know, to to really make sure that the messages coming from the very top down through the middle top down to the middle, you know, are all really consistent. And it can be real activator also. 

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative: 

Yeah, no, to your point. I mean cultivating those champions are is the the the biggest resource that you have in the organization, right? Because those are the folks that can really help you lead the charge of bringing that change forward, and from that peer perspective share with them some positives creating an environment that they feel a little bit safer in to be able to really lean in to that process of the change that you’re navigating. You know our attendees always love when we bring forward some statistics. So we’re, gonna you know, sort of sterilize it a little bit from from the stats perspective.

But what we know to be true is that 70% of change efforts across organizations fail due to your point of employee resistance. Right? Those folks on the under other end of the Change Curve sort of not willing to step forward. But the other piece is around unsupportive management behavior. And I think, you know, based on my experience, we often make the assumption right? And it it’s a positive assumption. Managers are in leader roles for a reason, but we often forget that that leaders and managers have been promoted because they’ve been really great individual contributors, and to your point may have not been up skilled in a way to support initiatives like this to help bring their teams along the journey.

And so Meg, I’m curious, as you have seen, change efforts in your career what’s been some of the things that you all have done to bring leaders onto the train of the change. That some may have not been, you know, super excited about initially.

Meg Harris: 

Yeah, one of the things that we’ve done that, I think, has been really successful is making space for the disagree and commit population. So where getting managers together, every quarter getting our vps together every month. Getting our directors and above together. You know, as the group. You know, on a regular basis gives us forums. 

That whether there’s been a change or not, is space where people can express concerns share how their teams are feeling, express, what’s getting in their way or in their teams way from activating or from getting things done? And having that set up ahead of time like before. There’s a big change and initiative means that there’s already connections that have been established. There’s already a great forum in which, you know, constructive dialogue has taken place that has felt safe. For people, because you know, we expect people to come and say, like, actually, I don’t think this is gonna work for my team, and here’s why. 

And so having that sort of a lot of at different levels of the company, having those forums where people can say I don’t agree with this where I’m concerned about this, and they have all of our senior leaders come to every single one. You know everyone from our CEO. You know, through our entire C suite they show up to every single one. And they’re there to answer those questions and to to be the face of whatever you know. Announcement is being made, or whatever transition is taking place. And we we follow those up with specific like talking points, for each population slides that they can share with their teams. You know, without being overly prescriptive, but by by having some shared messaging and having had already the space to be able to say, I’m concerned about this, or I’m I’m worried about this or you know. We then ask for their commitment to share information. You know, fluidly with their team and to really take forward the conversation in a constructive and productive way with our team members. 

And so we’ve found that successful and that has moved the needle. I would say, we’re currently with any change initiatives talking about shape shifts and business strategy priorities. You know, a change in brand positioning. You know, all of those types of things we’ve been able to you know, to really shift mindsets at the most senior levels. And down through the org.

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative: 

Yeah, the word that comes to mind as you’re describing all of these amazing strategies you’ve put in place is intentional. It sounds like you have been very intentional to create a stepped process that not only acknowledges that a change is happening, but gives your team the space necessary to verbalize sort of what’s going on for them in the moment. And I would imagine in these forums folks have been able to say, you know, I’m concerned about sort of my team in this process, And here’s why. 

But also from a human perspective. I’m concerned because of XY, and Z, right V into your earlier point. Some changes can be really positive for some employees. I don’t wanna sort of make the blanket statement that all changes bad by any means. It’s not. Changes are very, very exciting, and if we know in life the one thing that’s constant, it is change right. 

But the intentionality that you and your team have put behind it is the most critical aspect of this, and I think oftentimes what we have heard and have experienced with some of our partners previously. In this, in sort of the lack of bit of phrase, the horror stories is that there’s been a change announced. 

And then that’s it. Right? There’s there’s no opportunity for us, as human beings to to so socialize and process that. And that’s where that level of resistance comes in, because if we don’t close the loop, we’re sort of like guessing right?

Meg Harris: 

Yes, absolutely. And and I think, too, you know, we can’t. Also, as leaders, we shouldn’t expect ourselves to anticipate absolutely every reaction that we’re going to get. And so we have to be able to rely on managers and people farther down on the organization to surface. You know, concerns that they have but also, once they’ve leveraged that channel. Then our expectation is, you know you can share this feedback. Here’s some changes. We’re going to make off the back of it that now our expectation is for you to go to your team and say, I know that this you know, this change feels hard because of XY or Z. You know I’ve been able to share some concerns that I have. Those have been resolved. Let’s talk about how we’re gonna implement this together as a team. 

And so really like leaning in as hard as we can with our managers, with our leaders. To make sure that they feel that they have the tools they need, because nothing is worse than when  you have a a change initiative and you don’t done a tons of tons of communication. And then somebody sits down with their team and says, Well, this is a pile of garbage. You know, because what this is like not gonna be bought in like at all. Literally everyone who works for them and talks to them. And so you know, I think we we see that and recognize that. And I think it’s just super important that managers understand. We expect for them not to not have an opinion. 

We want to know. Like, if something that we’re doing is landing for your team or for you personally, in a certain way, you should share that by all means. But then we also need managers to take seriously their responsibility to support their team, bring them forward, and continue to make sure they’re leveraging the appropriate channels for expressing how they’re feeling and how things are impacting them. And that they understand what those are and help connect the dots for them. 

So yeah, it’s kind of a shared responsibility. That would also say, for any of the Hr. Professionals who might be on the call like that this is a true partnership with our corporate communications and our broader leadership team. None of this is being driven exclusively by HR or by our team. 

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative: 

It’s definitely a shared mandate, and that’s a great relationship and kind of trio of teams to work together.

Being able to have, you know, data and and an understanding of the populations that you may be concerned about right? So that you can triage those pieces and those folks sort of in develop strategies to help them move along the change process in a bit of a different way, right? Because I think one of the other pieces is that we often get caught in the trap of a one-size fits all model, and that’s just not the case right to your point. 

There may be some managers who rightfully so say, Oh, gosh! I think this is a pile of garbage, to use your words, and they may need some extra TLC. To help Nick get them into sort of that supportive posture, so that they can really communicate to their team in a way that helps bring everyone together.

And the and the other piecemeal that I love that you talked about was the the importance of expectation, setting, and accountability. And we’ll talk a little bit more about those pieces. But you know, I think as we go with any good behavior change, there’s a level of accountability associated with that hidden, Meg. You know one of the things as we talk about the change process. Right?

I think all organizations are very familiar, and we couldn’t help but talk about the almighty dollar, because that’s how the world works these days. Unfortunately enough. And you know, the fact is, folks, that organization spend about 2 billion dollars, 2 billion dollars from 2020 to 2024 on organizational change management, consulting alone 1.4 billion of that was wasted.

I mean, Meg, you and your team have some pretty amazing initiatives going on to support would be more accessible to masses across the globe. I mean, these wasted dollars undoubtedly would have a big impact on the work you’re trying to do. Right?

Meg Harris: 

Yeah, absolutely and I think that’s one of the things that’s really important. And I understand why a lot of people look out in order to you know, get support validation, perhaps, on ideas that you have internally you know, want an external perspective on somebody or an organization that may have been able to work with a lot of different companies before. So all of those things are fairly understandable. And I would say, you know, each company and sort of professional situation is somewhat unique. 

But I also think you know, looking in before you look out is really important, like, what skills do we have internally? You know? What capabilities do we have to be able to assess, to lead a project to lead an impact review, to locate, you know, feedback lead focus groups. Internally, you know, there, there are a lot of I know everybody is stretched, and we are too right. Everybody is wearing multiple hats these days, and and that, and that is certainly tough. But but there’s also, you know, there’s a lot to be gained from the internal perspectives of people who have worked in different places and have different kind of collation of experiences and understanding that before you make the decision about kind of spending money outside of the company, I think, is just a good balance to take. Understand what all the options are. 

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative:

Now, Meg, I love that perspective. It’s under 1,400. Yeah, I mean that’s not a not a small pool of people by any means, and undoubtedly you have a variety of different folks with a level of experience that could support those change efforts. We just have to be willing to sort of open our apertures up a little bit to say one. Yes, Mike, to your point we are. We’re all wearing multiple hats right now, and that’s first and fore and foremost, critically important.

But at the same time, what the opportunities for folks internally to be able to say, Yeah, I have this level of expertise. So let me lean into support the organization, because that perspective they bring is so unique, and really gives them an opportunity to grow and develop. And for, you know, ancestry, for example, to really invest in their employees.

I know a lot of times when I’ve talked with our partners, you know they have been working with external folks to support them with variety of change initiatives in those pieces, and I have to tell you it makes me personally sad when folks have said Gosh! We’ve been it working with these folks for about a year and a half, you know, they drafted this amazing report, and now it’s become shelf art.

We haven’t done anything with it. They’ve told us what’s wrong, but we haven’t necessarily activated on it. Right?

And so that’s really what we’re talking about today, Meg, is, how do we support you all with actually activating the changes that you’re trying to implement at ancestry. And so, Meg, let’s talk a little bit more about our work together over the past. Gosh, I think it’s been about a year, Meg. That we’ve been working together, which I mean time is just flying these days. I can’t believe it’s the middle of August at this point.

And so, Meg, I’d love to talk a little bit about, you know the goals for our partnership and for our work together. And so if you wanna just start off. You know, you have shared with us that the importance of of working with imperative in the in the goals we’re aligning to are one around humanizing the work. So creating personal connections with your team, creating a bias for action which I know folks are, gonna be super curious about, and then empowering collaboration and growth. And so share with us: why are these 3 things so important ancestry? But also, how did you come up with this strategy and these goals?

Meg Harris: 

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been at ancestry about 18 months. So I joined about 18 months ago. I lead all of our talent and business partner, Hr. Business partner teams, and so like talent, acquisition, talent, performance management engagement and also our Hr business partner team.

And when I when I first got there, I mean and and and this is a great team right there. There’s a lot of really inspired people who work at ancestry. They care very deeply about the mission of the company. They’re usually personal users of the family history, the portal that we have the the site to to build your family map and and many of you use the the DNA technology as well.

And so when you have a group like that, you know, we score really highly, and things like purpose and ‘my work is meaningful to me’. And people tend to really like the people who work there. This is a really nice group of people who are smart and talented, and there’s a lot of like fantastic building blocks there. Which is awesome. 

After and during the pandemic, the company, of course, like everybody else, went remote, and we really haven’t come back very much. So we have a location flexible policy. Which means that pretty much everyone, there’s some exceptions of course, But pretty much everyone has some optionality around when and where they work. But most a lot of our team members are still around headquarter location in Utah and sort of San Francisco over in Dublin and London. But even those folks who are close by don’t often come in. 

So we have a handful of hybrid folks we have, you know, a big group who rarely come in or sometimes come in, and then we’ve got, you know, an increasing number of very remote people, including me in Nashville and Tennessee and so like that kind of the creating personal connections really stemmed from saying,

Look, we have great purpose. You know we care a lot about the company. But we just don’t see each other as often. And what does that mean for how work is getting done? How we are connecting as an organization? How we’re connecting the dots between different business areas. How is that showing up for people who are new to the company? We had a lot of new folks, especially in 2021 and 2022, you know, how is that showing up for them? It means they’re not meeting as many people. There’s not as many random interactions. And we wanted to help build connections for people that weren’t just super casual, but actually had a little bit more meaning behind them, and we thought that might help people feel more committed and really more connected to our purpose as an organization.

The second thing that I heard when I joined just from a business perspective. And I think it’s super important to be really connected to the business strategy just from a people perspective. I think that’s just incredibly important, no matter what we’re working on, to be connected to the business. 

And I heard a lot about just historically, the company has been quite hierarchical. So and that has changed. We have a new CEO. We have a lot of new folks in and around the leadership team. And we just also have some folks, even those who have been around for a while, who are ready for some changes in that space. And like a desire to see more ground up action. So less waiting for somebody to say, yes, it’s okay, or you know. I’ve decided we’re gonna do this and more of people at different levels of the organization saying, I had this idea. Here’s how I would run it and I it’s already aligned to what I know supposed to be working on. I’m just gonna go ahead and do that and and really checking in rather than asking for approval more frequently. 

So that sort of bias for action, of just getting things done, not needing you know, a ton of escalation or approval? And building our confidence and muscles and organization and doing I think, is a big part of it. 

And then the last piece. I mentioned that the company, you know, has some great foundations. And we’ve been really a successful and profitable organization for a very long time. But we’d love to see our revenue growth go from like, you know, here to like here, right? Like all companies, we wanna see a massive increase and boost to our growth story as an organization. And that just requires a different way of working. And those personal connections that bias for action, like all of that, really helps contribute to more work getting done and more collaborative way. And in a way that really impacts our bottom line. And so they sort of all like kind of come together. And just an interesting anecdote. 

I noticed in the very first survey, like employee survey, that my team ran after I started. That, you know, people speaking really fondly about their manager about this team. So, like, you know, they really like the people they work with. But then, when it got to cross or collaboration. It was kind of like, my team is wonderful, but it’s like that team over there. Supposed to be doing. And I was like, well, but if everybody thinks the other teams aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing like, where’s the log jam happening? And so trying to like break through a little bit of that also. You know that that growth story needs everybody working together. 

So that’s kind of the long we did connection around this. 

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative:

No, Megan, I love that because ultimately what I hear in this as well sort of tucked underneath is one that that creating those personal connections. First and foremost is a couple of things. One, it supports with the cultivation of psychological safety in the environment, so that folks feel comfortable and safe taking those risks, having that bias for action. Right?

Because when you come from a hierarchical organization, there’s there’s that old school fear of sort of to utilize the phrase, getting a wrist slapped, right, versus just stepping forward to in service of being a little bit more innovative, so that the organization’s bottom line can really increase, because at the end of the day we all have growth goals, and we want to be growing as much as we possibly can.

But the other piece, Meg, that I hear in this is supporting folks with breaking down the silos between the different functions, because at the end of the day, I mean we just as I shared with you before we started. We just did an a webinar last a couple of 3 weeks ago about busting silos and organizations, because there’s these, you know, sort of images we have of. Oh, gosh! The marketing team over there didn’t pull their weight on this initiative, right? 

So in and of itself, what I hear is really sort of the cordier strategy is is really bringing in some human elements to it. And you’ve done that because you’ve listened right? You did your surveys. You’ve gotten the understanding around sort of what engagement looks like currently in ancestry and highlighting the bright spots which is super important, but also saying, Okay, we’re going to take a moment, step back a little bit and give our folks the permission necessary to step forward in these ways. 

So I love that, and we’ll get in, Meg, to a little bit of the audience that we worked with specifically, and some of the cool metrics that we’ve seen so far. But as you’ve gone through these changes, Meg, I think it’s just helpful to bring us back to the human element, because folks know imperative well, because we’re always in the business of humanizing work. And you know, when we think about a change and bringing changes forward. Right, Meg.

I can only imagine when you first started talking with the team about having that bias for action the wheels and the gear started turning right. And so these are the 3 questions we know folks ask themselves when a change is coming: 

What does the change mean change? Mean for me? Why is it happening, and what will it look like when the change has been made?

Meg, how did this show up for your team when you first started having some conversations about building those additional connections, breaking those silos down and and creating that space for for folks to have that bias for action.

Meg Harris: 

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think this is always relevant. Whether this is there’s small change that’s happening. A medium size, or even a larger change. And I think what we tried to address upfront is when what does this change mean to me? Is not shying away from that question for anyone at any level of the organization, and trying not to make assumptions that just because somebody was more senior or perhaps have been involved in some of the conversations already that they wouldn’t know and understand the answer to that. 

It’s very hard for people to be able to take care of everybody else, if you know, if you haven’t been able to kind of help them understand what it means for them first. And so some of those you know, defining that and the impact of it for you know, from the top down, I think, is really helpful and important. 

And then the the why is it happening. This is a question that I would just expect to have to answer a lot and not just one time, and not just from one person but and that’s why I think it’s so important to really activate. You know, identifying all of your kind of key stakeholders that have an influence or an impact on other team members. To be able to make sure that they can answer that question. Not just you as the most senior leader or not just use the Hr person. But really that there’s like a group of people who can answer that question.And who can speak to it fluently? I mean, that’s the other thing is, you know, if you get somebody up there who has like a script, and they have to be like and then the first bullet point tells me I should right. I mean, people will see. They’ll notice that. 

And so the importance of bringing it back to that human element of you know where you have to say it often enough, and reaching enough people so that it starts to feel you know, a lot more fluid and not just you know something that they’re reading off of a script? And then what will it look like when the changes been made? I mean, I think that. You know, that’s a reinforcement that you can tell people upfront. But then they do. At some point they have to see that actually happening. And I think having a leadership team that’s nimble enough to say, Hey, I’m not seeing the change that we said was, gonna happen like, when when is that coming? What’s getting in our way like? Why, why are we not seeing that?

I think being like a really agile leadership team and saying, You know, having some milestones and some expectations in place, for, like what we should be seeing, that’s different. When and how are we gonna know? That it’s different. And then, if you’re not being able to like really step in and make sure that you understand why?

And just to give you an example. You know we have, this was a business idea, didn’t come from the Hr team, but I think it’s a fantastic idea. You know, in addition to saying, you know, we think some of these changes and some of these mindset shifts will result in us working more fluidly and working faster. You know, let’s pick on like the marketing team. You know, they they discovered that actually, there were some things getting in their way. And so they have, like a blockers list that’s looked at by our most senior leader, in in the marketing organization. And it’s people at all levels of marketing or can put in like, Hey, this is this is a problem I can’t get past. Whether it’s a stakeholder problem or systems problem or a you know, process problem and then they put the right people around it to solve that problem so that person can be unstuck and and move forward what they need. And so some of those things like, you know, helping the change along. Not just like hoping that what happens after you talk about it? There’s like some really specific things that you know, leaders sometimes have to dig in and really unblock for their teams.

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative:

It’s so so true, Meg, and ultimately, you know, as you were talking, and it’s so funny. I’m an educator by training Meg. I spent about 12 years and higher education, both domestically and internationally. And as I’m thinking this through similarly, to like the college student experience right? 

Many of us can relate to that sort of stepping onto campus that first day of freshman year. And you’re going through orientation right? Talk about a change in our lives, and I feel like that’s a moment that many of us really will never forget. But then you have those sort of orientation leaders walking you through that process. And that’s as I as as you’re talking, that’s sort of what I’m thinking about is sort of that experience where you’ve got these folks who are truly bought into the change. They’re super excited about it, and they’re helping you take steps to walk through this. To help you visualize, what’s the end going to look like for you and I. 

And I love that piece, because at the end of the day for our employees we have to paint for them what good looks like right? Because we have to help them see sort of, you know to your earlier point what are the behaviors we’re going to notice? Right? What are we going to hear our employees talking about? A little bit more? 

And what are folks going to be saying as a part of this change process, and one of the things that you know I love what you just said about the fact that it’s continuous right? This is never going to stop. We have to really can engage and challenge ourselves to say. This is not us flipping the light switch to say, yes, this change have has happened right? You and your team did not say we’re gonna put out there a bias for action, and then tomorrow it’s going to be that it’s actually a continuous reinforcement. And that’s where a lot of folks get stuck right is that continuous reinforcement and that accountability to keep that change going.

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative: 

And you know some of the things, Meg, that I think is helpful for folks to understand, or what are some of the things that don’t work right? I mean, you and the ancestry team have been super thoughtful. 

Clearly, folks are really engaged in these change processes. Some of the things that we have seen, you know from just heard from partners. Right? I mean, part of my role is sort of working with these folks, and just also hearing for them. What’s going on day to day is, as we think about the changes that are going on in organizations, and some of the things that I have heard, and I’d be just be curious to hear your thoughts on these is, you know, sort of make my skin crawl at, you know, just to to be to a little bit dramatic about it. When an organization is going through change, say we had an All hands meeting, and this change was announced. And now we’re just expected to go and do the change, right, and all hands meeting in the moment does not help.

I mean it reminds me of what you know. We started early at imperative around the concept of purpose at work In 2016 was really the year where CEO stood up on stage and said, We have a company purpose, and this is what it is. And then folks left those meeting rooms in person with question marks above their head to because they didn’t understand. What does that mean for me? 

Right to our earlier point, the lack of management support, and and the the critical impact that managers play. And and I think to these days we’re relying so much on our managers and our leaders right now. And so thinking about how we support them in a fundamentally unique way is gonna be critically important. But then make to your earlier point, the employee communication and the importance of that, and so make. 

I’m just curious, like where have you seen sort of these things show up, and just personally in your career. But also, what would you say out of these 3 like, what’s the most critical one to land?

Meg Harris: 

Yeah. I do think they’re all important. I mean, I think, the one that I’ve seen the most has been the middle one, the lack of management support. And I think for a lot of changes, you’re probably never gonna get 100 buy in, and on something that’s really significant, right, I mean, there’s always going to be a group of people who don’t love it.

But you know where you have a group of managers who are really bought into the company’s success, and who are really motivated and activated by the idea of delivering for customers. Or you know, like making sure that this is a great place to work, or whatever their motivation is. Intrinsically and kind of otherwise motivated managers who want the company to be successful and who want great outcomes for their team members and for their customers. They are gonna be able to get behind typically most changes as long as they’re directionally, you know, moving the needle in organization. 

And so, really seeing them as a critical stakeholder group, because most people connect most with the people that they trust, and not many people at large companies have relationships with senior leaders at the company. They may know who they are. They might like what they say. Sometimes they might, you know, read their Bios. They might interact with them on occasion, but they really interact an awful lot with their manager, and maybe even with one level up from their immediate manager. 

And so that population, I think, just has such an outsized impact on the experience that people working for them have at the organization. And people are much more willing to buy into change or new technology or new process, a new system, a new merger, whatever, however big or small it is when the person that they work directly for is telling them. Look, it’s not without challenges. But here’s how we’re gonna make it work. And I wanna hear from you. And I wanna know how you’re feeling about it.

And so that that activation of that management, I think, is super important. Because they could help with the lack of employee communication. They can help define. What does it mean for you? And that trusted relationship, I think, is super important. 

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative:

Yeah, absolutely. And also, Meg, thanks for leaning into my trick question. I mean to your point right? There’s not one that has a greater level of importance. They’re all critical in your strategy, and you know, folks, I think it’s really important to know that people one strategy may not fit all.  One may fit one person, but it might not fit these other folks over here. Right?

So we really have to think very dynamically versus very narrowing when we think about the strategy to really bring forward changes. And so I wanna take, Meg, into a little bit of a commercial breakup to give folks a little bit more perspective about our work together here at imperative, and folks just to help you ground those new folks to the conversation about who imperative is, you know, the way that we activate change and have supported Megan, her team, with really leaning into this.

These are 5 pillars of what we do with the imperative platform. First and foremost, self-awareness is critical in the process, and so everybody completes a purpose profile as their gateway to imperative. We need to understand self, to your earlier point, sort of putting our own oxygen mask on before we can take care of other people. So that’s the first step in the process. We then pair folks together with folks across the organization to have conversations. And our platform does that utilizing our AI technology. And then they’re led through a very intentional process of reciprocity and responsiveness, so that they can start to build trust hroughout the course of the experience. 

And that there’s an equitable level of sharing through a variety of different questions that are grounded and appreciative inquiry, really focusing on the positives of things that are going on in an organization to help bring forward a level an action that feels most important to them, as well as bringing forward the support of the person they’re having some conversations with, to hold them accountable to completing that action.

And so imperatives process is really grounded in sort of 3 different buckets from a change perspective. First of all, the planning process like getting folks an understanding of sort of what’s going on and bringing that level of awareness to those first steps of the process. We then want to start to activate those changes by creating desire make to to your earlier point, so to creating that excitement and those level of champions in an organization to help shepherd that change forward. 

And then folks where a lot and I would say a lot of organizations fall flat, is that reinforcement piece, and so make to your point, bringing forward that bias to action and giving folks permission to lean into actions that are most important to them in the moment.

And the way we do that folks is on the imperative platform where folks are paired across the organization to have conversations that last about 45 min to an hour, and the platform leads them back and forth through our model of reciprocity and responsiveness. And the best part is that there’s no preparation necessary on the employees part. And so the platform leads them through really intentional questions that we can either work on work with you all to customize specific to your organization, or we’ve got a library of content that you can lean into support to support your organization with engaging in a change that’s most meaningful to you.

And throughout the conversation. Each person is taking notes for their partner, capturing really critical “aha! moments” throughout the experience, so that folks can go back and reflect on the conversations that they’ve had, because we know changes a continuous process. And we’ve got to give folks the ability to continue to really lean in and understand. What does this change mean for me? And how can I really visualize myself at the end of that change? So when things are done, I can really lean in and help the organization. Continue to be successful.

Meg, to your earlier comment, and really help the organization raise up, increase that bottom line. And so, Meg, this slide is about you and the team here around some of the statistics we have seen, and so I’d love to just hear, Meg. Why, as you were thinking about the goals early on, why did you and the team choose to lean into imperative?

Meg Harris: 

Yeah, absolutely. So you know, when we thought about the kind of mindset shift that we needed around, you know, personal accountability drive for action. You know, taking responsibility for building connections across the company, but also being recipient of that. So sort of you know, building some of those connective that some of that connected tissue across the organization.

You know, making sure that we’re collaborating with other people. And that’s not just everybody else’s problem to solve for but that we each have. There was a lot of like accountability and sort of personal action attached to how we were trying to activate. Our kind of population in this space.

And one of the things that I really liked about imperative and the peer coaching relationships were one: it does kind of connect you with somebody who’s not in your reporting line, and not in your team. And in our case we actually had them be cross, functional. So you know, we have somebody in marketing who’s product partner with somebody in products, somebody, Ted, who’s part of somebody in Hr, to really drive some of those connections to help build an understanding of what other people across the company were struggling with, and were challenged by as as managers, as leaders. 

And what we found and heard was that people were saying, Oh, we have like the same challenges, I mean, there’s some nuance right, of course, but generally speaking, and so what I’m sharing and I’m hearing, I reflect it back. And we’re solving this together. 

And you know we’ve seen, and you can see at the top like that, 97% have an intend to have an ongoing relationship. Most of those people did not know each other before. And some of them, one of them, said I have a new lifelong friend. You know, in my, in my connection that I’ve made, and what we’ve seen is that when they’re talking about, ‘Oh, my imperative! You know my peer coach?’

They’re talking about that is like a like I had somebody tell me, ‘Oh, my gosh! I heard this great like podcast. The other day, and I can’t wait to share it with my peer coach, because I think she’s really gonna benefit from it,’ and and so I found that people it was like a thing that people talked about that they connected around that they felt good about, and that they felt like they had an accountability to show up for the other person, and that was really important to me. 

And one of the things that I really liked about imperative is that this, like matching it, does not work unless both people show up and contribute in the same way, and you can see it in the results when somebody is like not really doing their bit and it’s really clear where those relationships are working and where they’re not. So I appreciated that about it.

The second thing that I really liked about imperative is you know, just the commitment to behavioral change. So to me, if somebody says like I did my peer coaching, it was super cool. I really liked it. It was so nice. What a great offering like that’s not quite enough for for what we’re trying to do. I want people to be able to say, like, I change my behavior. I showed up in a different way. I changed the way I was running my team meetings. I like we wanna see action off the back of people’s conversations. It’s great that it’s nice. It’s like we want that, too. But, like what we might is to see behavioral change. And the fact that we had so many people implement and actually execute against that those kind of some of those specific changes that they were advocating for I think is fantastic.

And the last thing is, you know, I think it’s making people like feel good about the organization investing in them and in their success. You know, we’ve had a lot of people who have said we haven’t seen this here before. We haven’t done something like this. This is a great tool to help me behave differently, and and people feel like it’s a commitment to them and to their growth in their development. And it’s not sitting in a classroom. It’s, you know, correcting, connecting around something super meaningful to them.

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative: 

Yeah, that’s a staying change in organizations. Behaviors have to shift. So I just, I so appreciate our work together because you all have seen, not just in the numbers, but in the human behavior, that your team is exhibiting, and they’re willing to share that with you, Meg. I think that’s really important, because the audience that we’ve been working with you on our senior leaders in your organization. Right? So not just the individual contributors, right? These are folks that are supporting business units with running. And are the folks that others are looking to for guidance as the organization navigates these changes.

Meg Harris: 

Yeah, that’s that’s right. And I think one of the most important questions that we have been asking for over a year and ancestry, and that we that, I think, is included in a lot of these peer conversations is like, what’s getting in your way of success, like what and whether success is like a task which you had to do, that you haven’t done yet, or something much bigger. 

Picture around a strategy or delivery for a customer.. What’s getting in your way and being able to kind of really say, let me take a step back and really think about that, it’s this. And it’s this. And it’s this. And like, okay, now, let’s solution around those specifically. Because a lot of times it’s not like really big stuff. It’s oftentimes smaller things. It’s like, you know, that contract had to be written and rewritten 6 times, and I couldn’t get it done, and I really needed that to get done, and it slowed me down. So like, how do we fix that like at the root cause? 

And I think I really like the focus that imperative gives people on focusing on solutions that will make them move the needle forward even in incremental or small ways, towards a bigger goal.

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative: 

Yeah, no, I love that, Meg. The fact is, folks, when we think about business goals that the ancestry team has, and to Meg’s point, we’ve really been able to to support them with increasing the achievement of their team through the successive of achieving these goals and activating on the changes. And so that’s the other piece: how do we continuously sustain that activation so that Meg’s team, your team continuously show up in different ways and make to your point sort of identify what those little things that are sort of just sticking out that they need support on from another peer that could be supportive, but also helping them sort of understand that others are having similar challenges to them across the organization, and they’re not that they’re not alone at the end of the day.

And, Meg, we talked a little bit about this. But folks some exciting things from the imperative team coming down the line here in the next couple of months, you know, one of the big biggest pieces of feedback we’ve heard from our partners is we want to know sort of what’s going on from that change perspective a little bit more granularly. 

We want to know some more specifics about our team, how they’re navigating various changes. And so some of the things you can start to expect from team imperative is our metrics portal that Meg and team have access to, as well as all of our other customers is going to be customized to support those change initiatives. 

So, being able to understand our folks having change conversations with their managers, how many folks are supportive of the change, being able to have some custom metrics that matter to you most in the organization. So that’s coming down the pipe for us from from a product perspective here in the next couple of months, and that bias for action. 

We’ve heard folks loud and clear to say we wanna know some very specific organizational actions that folks are taking. And so our platform is going to be even more customizable than it already is. And so we’re just super excited to bring that Meg to you and your team to really help you all build that story so that you can continue to share the success of the changes going on in your organization

So to sort of wrap it all up, Meg, because, yeah, Emma’s there with the hook ready to pull me off the stage, you know. Ultimately, at the end of the day, folks, we want to think about activating and supporting change leaders at scale. We need to think about, how do we bring these efforts forward from that broader brushstroke approach to all employees to support, creating that awareness and desire for the change, getting people excited for that process and collecting the real-time feedback. 

So that you know, changes are happening. And they’re happening consistently across your organization. So folks, thanks again for being with us, Emma, I’m gonna turn it over to you to bring us home with a couple of questions, because I have seen the chat, and it is lively. Yes, there is some great discussion, and so I think to kind of bring together some themes from some of the questions and comments we got. 

I have a question for you, Meg, which is, if you could time travel back to the very beginning, when you launch your change initiative what tips would you give yourself if you’re Michael J. Fox, what would you tell yourself? That you’ve learned through all this?

Meg Harris:

Yes, so one was I definitely discovered over time, and probably not soon enough how important the cross functional relationships were to making this a success. So I think I felt a sense of burden of like I have to, you know, do this whole thing. And actually, there were a lot of people across the organization who were ready to to support who had their own area of expertise for those communications or you know other things. You know, strat strategic planning, project management, that could have helped at the very beginning. Make sure that our plan was like airtight and and kind of making sure we had all the right people upfront.

I think I would go back and advise to, you know, have a personal board of directors, or some sort of Advisory Council, or a group. You know, to get some ideas bounced off of you know, right at the right, at the very start rather than realizing, after doing a lot of intense, you know, thinking, and that this was an org wide effort and I needed to bring everybody in.

Emma Powers – (she/her) – Imperative:

That is amazing. So on that I’ll try to squeeze in one last question. Is, was there anything that really surprised you throughout the change process that you weren’t expecting?

Meg Harris: 

I would say how I think when I talked about this quite a lot today, but how important the managers were, and the leaders. I think I underestimated that in the beginning largely because I think I was seeing some of the changes we wanted to make is very like driven by senior leadership. When actually, there were a lot of people at different levels of the organization who wanted this change to happen, and who wanted to engage with it more fully.

And I think you know, we realized over time how important some of those other populations were and activating them. But I so it surprised me how important that was. I think I just had a vision of the the importance of senior leadership. Who are very important and they they shouldn’t go away. You know they’re super important. But the strength of that management population and leaders, at kind of a layer two below C suite, I think, just really can’t be underestimated, and it caught me a little bit by surprise, but good learning, for sure.

Emma Powers – (she/her) – Imperative:

Great! Alright! Well, that’s all the time we have for questions. So Travis, back to you.

Travis Mears (He/Him/His) – Imperative: 

Thank you so much, Meg, thank you for such a great conversation today. It’s been fantastic to just talk with you, give folks your perspective and let them hear from someone who is on the ground doing the hard work. And so it sounds like the team at ancestry is just rocking and rolling with your support and your leadership. So thank you again for spending some time with us today and for partnering with imperative. We’re just super excited to continue our work together.

Meg Harris: 

Great me, too. Thank you all. So much. Good luck, with all your change efforts out there, and looking forward to staying connected. And thanks again. I really appreciate it. Glad to be partnered together.

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