Inspired Leadership

Re-abilitating the Work Environment after Change

Are you trying to get your team more effective and focused? Are you wanting to get the “mojo back” with your team at work despite all the changes?

It is likely that the last few months have been a bit of a blur for you with the amount of change that, as individuals and companies, you have had to embrace – a worldwide pandemic, working from home, lockdown, homeschooling children, and social distancing! A lot for you to deal with! And I need to share – the next 3 months will be the same! You need to define your “new normal” and find a new way of working.

What do I mean when I say that Re-Abilitating is needed? Let’s start with the meaning of rehabilitation. Rehabilitating is an action where you focus on restoring something back to being #GREAT. Re-Abilitating is thus focussing on the solutions that will enable the #GREAT to be experienced in the workplace.

You cannot restore it to the way it was because the chance of that being relevant is now rather slim. Your clients, customers, and employees have more than likely changed in some way or another. And so, have you.

Right now, there is an overwhelming feeling of tiredness and anxiety. Anxiety about going back (or not going back) to work at an office. Weariness about the future. Being a leader in your company, your focus is likely pulled to the processes and systems that enable continued production, efficiency, and results. However, you may forget the most important component – the people. You may have forgotten to keep it human.

Keeping it human does not mean that you don’t need to have tough conversations or make tough decisions. It just means that you need to focus on doing it in a way that will empower individuals to move forward with dignity and respect.

To Re-Abilitate the workplace focus on:

  1. Create a safe and secure environment for your team, clients, and suppliers
  2. Support your team, clients, and suppliers to reduce the distress that they may be feeling
  3. Pull it all together to ensure that there is an improvement in performance.


How do you do that? We use the acronym ACES to help you align your actions.

The A-C-E-S of Re-Abiliating are:

  1. Acknowledge where you are always. As a leader, be open, authentic, and transparent about what you are certain about and what there is no certainty about – do not be afraid of saying you do not know!
  2. Create Focus. Create a picture of what the new #GREAT will look like with the information available right now. Allow the teams to get involved in creating the picture of the new #GREAT.
  3. Engage with the affected people. Allow people to voice their opinions and insights while creating solutions. This includes your team members, suppliers, and clients. Once the focus is clear, then let the team take accountability for implementing it with your support!
  4. Solutions at every turn. It is key that when you are tempted to listen to the drama and the problems, that you make a conscious decision to ask ourselves and your teammates – what can you learn from the problem you are facing? How can you turn this into a solution?


A-C-E-S in Action

I am working with a client in the ICT industry. Over the last 3 months, this company has embraced the opportunity to review their whole business operating model and structure as we entered lockdown. Wow, you may say! Was it the ideal time – I do not believe there will ever be the right time if you want all conditions to be perfect for change. What you do have control over is creating the right internal conditions for the change.

My client focussed on the tangible outputs:

  • A target operating model
  • Team presentations were done to present the structures and reporting lines
  • Individuals conversations were held with all individuals where they were told what their job was and what needed to be done
  • Performance conversations were held because the half-year reviews were due
  • Role profiles were drafted and saved onto a shared drive

It sounds like all the right things were done! What has been missing was the human element. People are what makes service organizations #GREAT and they are needed to ensure that the changes are truly implemented and embraced.

My client defaulted to the outputs and deliverables to start with. Now, with some support, they have shifted to focus on the human elements of change:

  1. Connect

One-on-one conversations (not meetings) where the manager listened to understand. The agenda comprised of 3 questions:

  • What impact did you have in the last 3 months?
  • What impact do you want to have in the next 3 – 6 months?
  • What are your development objectives for yourself, your team, and other teams in the next year?

2.     Clarify

Ensure there is a common and clear understanding of where we are going as a team. Explore and repeat the facts, listen to and demystify the opinions and guesses. With this approach, you settle the uncertainty and reduce distress.

3.     Consistency

Consistency builds trust. Make sure that no matter what, team and individual promises are kept, regular conversations are held. Increase your focus during these conversations by silencing cell phones & muting computer notifications or other distractions. Your attention is highly valued.

 The benefit my client has experienced in the last 3 months include:

  • Greater focus on customer experience (internal and external customers)
  • Increased accountability
  • Increase in trust within the team.

 #GREAT Reading

If you are looking for some #GREAT reading on how to create that work environment that everyone wants to work in you need to add, Multipliers – How the best leaders make everyone smarter by Liz Wiseman, to your reading list.

About the Author

Time to reflect is a core element of #GREAT – I would like to challenge you to go back and reflect on how you can apply the A-C-E-S of re-Abilitating in your business! Please drop me an e-mail,, if you would like any guidance on applying these in your business.

For me information about #GREAT and Think Eunoia please head over to and subscribe to our newsletter.

Debbie Venables is an experienced Human Resources and Organisational Development leader. She started Think Eunoia to be able to have a positive impact on the lives of her clients that are going through change and want to thrive through and after the change.   This means that you get a professional who is committed to enabling individuals and teams to achieve their personal best which results in bottom-line results for your organization.

Debbie has more than 20 years’ global experience in Coaching, Change Management, Leadership Development, Talent Management, and Human Resources Management. She has worked across Financial Services, Healthcare, ICT and Mining, and Engineering Sectors.

What differentiates Debbie from others is her ability to understand and articulate the core issues of an environment and support the implementation of the right solution for a sustainable change!

Debbie has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Psychology and is an International Coaching Federation Certified Coach.

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