Michelle Teunis with Lena Ross; Brain Friendly Change 

Lena (00:49):

Hi everybody, and welcome and thank you for joining our podcast, conversations of Agile Change. I’m Lena Ross from the Agile Change Leadership Institute, and I’m so excited that Michelle Teunis is joining me today. For many of you, Michelle May need no introduction at all, especially if you’ve seen her hashtag Brains on Change posts on LinkedIn. But I’m still going to tell you a little bit about Michelle before we dive in further. So for the past 25 years, Michelle has been a trusted change advisor to some of the world’s most iconic brands across digital banking, media, airlines, education and resources. And her mission is to bridge that gap between what science knows and what business does, especially in those areas of neuroscience behavior and successful change realization. So Michelle is a certified practitioner in Change project management and Agile and specializes in applied organizational neuroscience, and she brings this unique blend of extensive hands-on experience with these cutting edge insights.

Lena (02:02):

So Michelle, a really big welcome and hello to you. I’ve seen examples of your passion on brain-friendly change, so we’re excited today that we are going to chat, dive in, find out a little bit more so our listeners can learn from your expertise. So can I kick off with the first question?

Michelle (02:19):

Yeah, go for it, Lena. And look, thanks so much for having me as well, being a CLI alumni and a fan of your and Jen’s thought leadership for what seems to have been eons. It’s great to chat today, so really look forward to diving in. 

Lena (02:35):

Yeah, you’ve been a great supporter. Thank you. Well, what we’re keen to know to kick off, Michelle, is how did the universe conspire to get you to do this amazing work and research into brain friendly change? 

Michelle (02:46):

Yeah, sure. Great question, Lena. Well, I’ve always considered myself a people person who’s really passionate about helping people and teams learn, adapt, and grow and having worked in change for so long now in almost every type of change and different organizations from the traditional to the more agile, no matter how people centric and organization, program, HR or sponsor would purport the org or transformation to be, I noticed that whilst things generally started out with the best of intentions with change, there’s always that sort of erring and sliding back into what I call industrial revolution style ways of working. And not always, but it’s something that I noticed cropped up a lot in my career. So what that means is that top drown, Drake driven, cost driven approaches where people centricity is the first thing that fell by the wayside. And look, we realistically work in that economically driven work, but it was clear that that way of working was more an installation on time, on budget way of working, and it didn’t always lead to what I call change realization.

Michelle (03:58):

So that means the benefits of both the technical aspects and the people dependent portion of change. So your ownership capability, adoption, sustainability and scalability in a way where people also sustained motivation and took on new habits and behaviors. I guess you could call that habitual change. So fast forward to the more recent years, as you know, there’s been a rise of integrating human-centered design with change, which certainly made a difference though I still felt that a lot of practices were surface level and more around facilitation techniques rather than designing for how we fundamentally tick in mind.

Michelle (04:41):

But also from me personally, I realized that I didn’t know how we fundamentally tick and I didn’t know what resistance really meant, aside from mine and others’ opinions on it. And goal-directed behavior and self-regulation was something that I hadn’t even mastered myself. So in being passionate about cracking that code, so to speak, I wanted to look more under the iceberg. And it was actually a quote, and this is really interesting that I heard from someone who’s not actually a neuroscientist, he’s a cognitive computer scientist and prolific AI researcher. His name’s Dr. Marvin Minsky, he’s from MIT. And he said, the mind is what the brain does. So if we want to understand the mind at work, we should look at how to apply research from neuroscience. In the organizational context, many organizations are broken doing the same old, same old, so it’s time to reimagine the future.

Michelle (05:43):

I Lena felt that was so powerful, especially coming from someone whose bread and butter is in ai. So this is where I found the missing piece, how our brains fundamentally process and respond to change and having change and training practices backed by an understanding of our fundamental neurobiology, which was my aha moment, Lena. 

Michelle (06:05):

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s interesting how you said picking up on a couple of things that you said there that I think will resonate with most people is understanding more about how we tick sometimes even when we think we know ourselves so well, we don’t until we unpack that and then understand why we responded in a certain way or we may have resisted something where another change, we totally embraced it and it really uncovers those insights for us. You mentioned goal-directed behavior. Just for the listeners, can you just dive into that a little bit more and explain that one?

Michelle (06:41):

Yeah, sure. Well, when we think about organizational change, at the end of the day, it is around achieving goals and working towards goals. And I think that when we think about goals, we probably all heard about the smart goal framework and all of those kinds of things. And again, they’re great frameworks, but they’re very surface level and for me, they never really work. So goal directed behavior is again, more about looking under the surface, lifting the lid or looking under the iceberg to see what actually drives from a neurological perspective goal-directed behavior, because it’s much more than smart goals, it’s around motivation and habits and all that kind of stuff. To be honest with you, I understood smart goals and how to write goals down and all that kind of stuff, but I didn’t understand the fundamentals of how we worked internally in relation to motivation and habit and James clear style stuff.

Lena (07:38):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nice, nice. So you’ve done a lot of study in the area of applied neuroscience specifically. What’s kept you interested in this area? I know you’re a continuous learner, you’re so curious and you keep going back and doing more and more and there’s always great stuff coming out. Yeah, absolutely. What keeps you ticking? 

Michelle (08:01):

Yeah, sure. Well, as I still work in change as well, we’d all know that one of the biggest challenges orgs encounter is how to thrive when faced with that constant disruptive change that we have. And as you mentioned in the intro, we know there’s that gap between what science knows and what business does. And that point alone has pretty much kept me interested. But neuroscience, it’s really like a fascinating puzzle leaner. So the more pieces I uncover, the better I understand myself, myself, others, how we navigate change.

Michelle (08:34):

And it isn’t just theory, it’s been a real game changer. So a few things that I learned early on in my neuroscience journey showed how important continued learning in this field is. Not only is it the research, it’s quite a new field, which I’ll go into in a moment, but the research is continually coming out as quite new and emerging, but it’s around how it applies to both real life context and the context of the social dynamic that is work because work is social in nature. So a really interesting study that’s come out of David Rock’s camp, Lena noted that one’s mindset greatly contributes to the threat they feel when they’re confronted by change. And when people are in a threat state, the prefrontal cortex or our executive functioning is down. So that’s not an ideal state for logic decision-making, retention, all of those things related to change.

Michelle (09:33):

So the more I can learn about neuroscience and how we can create approach states, and that is people engaging and approaching change based on that fact alone keeps me inspired. But also in today’s world, so many things are going on in the world inside and outside of work. Economic pressures more of a focus on productivity, it’s a lot. Now with that not only comes general stress, but it can also bring in something called allostatic load, which is like a, it’s a toll that chronic stress takes on your brain and body over time, which can actually rewire one’s brain. So you can say that maybe in this current world where you dealing with a different set of brains at work that could be more likely to err into that threat state, which is obviously difficult from a change perspective from all aspects. But also it’s not just around that, it’s around psychosocial hazards that we have around at the moment where change is one of the top psychosocial hazards.

Michelle (10:43):

And a really interesting fact about our change is that studies under an FMRI, which is like it’s a special type of A MRI scan that measures brain activity by detecting blood flow to keep that really it actually our brains light up in the same area when we experience pleasure or if we win the lottery, get a windfall of money when we are actually in an approach state at work. So when we feel in a reward state at work. But the opposite is actually also true. So the same areas of our brain light up when we experience social pain as to when we experience physical pain and social pain is negative experiences at work and through change and all that sort of jazz. So I think all of those aspects alone from both the wellbeing side, but also the bottom line side keep me super interested in delving deeper into neuroscience.

Lena (11:42):

Yeah, it sounds like as long as there’s humans around, this is always going to be an interesting field, isn’t it? 

Michelle (11:49):

And I think that’s the point. We are working with humans in a social context. So whether we like it or not, this is how the wild and wonderful way that our brains work. 

Lena (12:04):

I remember you mentioned Earth MRI and which is the magnetic resin. I call it neuroimaging technology too, but I remember when I first started exploring this area too, Michelle, a neuroscientist, described FMRI as a way of eavesdropping on our brains. And I thought that was a really cool way to describe, now we could find out all this stuff. We didn’t have the technology to do this only even 20 years ago even. We didn’t even have that sophistication in that technology. So you’ve said a lot of things about making change brain friendly, but if we were, let’s now explain it because we’re talking about brain-friendly change and this is what you and I and Jen get very excited about.

Lena (12:56):

But how do you define brain-friendly change in simple terms for our listeners? 

Michelle (13:00):

Yes, sure, sure. So it’s simply around designing for our fundamental human nature in a nutshell. Okay, nice. Yeah, and look, it goes beyond any kind of fancy facilitation technique we have out there. It’s a philosophy of intentional design. So I call it human-centric change by design. It’s a mouthful, but if you say it a few times, you get it. So it’s built on an understanding of how our brains naturally process change, interact socially, and learn, which is a big thing. So think of it as working with the grain not against it. And yeah, some reasons as to why it matters is our brains are wired for certain things. So minimizing threat, maximizing reward, conserving energy and social survival, even though we’re not in the cave men days, different context, we still social survivalists from an evolutionary perspective, but change design can trigger these fundamental drives in how you design change because it can actually push people towards a proactive approach state again.

Michelle (14:13):

So that’s engaging with the change or a defensive avoid state, which can come up in many different factors, whether that be avert or covert. But the good news is with the right knowledge and tools, we can intentionally design change initiatives to resonate with our neurology, and it can be applied to whether it be agile large transformations because it is around the how of change management from a human perspective. And by understanding our brains a little bit more, we can create change experiences that are not just efficient, but also effective and sustainable. So yeah, the ultimate goal is brain-friendly design for approach states in a nutshell. 

Lena (14:58):

Yeah. Okay. So that sounds like there’s a lot of advantages for change practitioners in getting better at this. And you mentioned a term earlier. Sorry, go on. Go on. No, no, no, you go. You mentioned a term earlier that I really liked and I had not heard before. So I was wondering if you could unpack that one for us. And I think I know what it means, but let’s go into it. You said change realization? 

Michelle (15:27):

Yes, yes. So with that, when we are implementing change, so it’s installation virtualization. So installation is around on time, on budget, meeting your KPIs. And when I say installation, I’m not just talking about technical change, but we’ll use that as an example. You install the software, you install the tool, you launch the new product. So that’s installation realization is about how you are realizing the benefits through what we’re talking about here is specifically the people dependent portion of the change. So the new habits people take on the motivation, they retain around the change, the ongoing sustainability and continual improvement of change through and with our people. So it’s realizing the benefits on the project side, but also on the people dependent portion side as well, so that they can create more adaptable and agile people in organizations. So that’s really the difference between your installation, your realization of change. 

Lena (16:32):

Yeah, it’d be nice if that language was more common in organizations because the focus is always on benefits realizations. And then as you mentioned very early, I think in my first question, how the focus in a lot of organizations is still the business driven economical measures and things like that about a project being successful. 

Michelle (16:53):

Yeah, it is. But just on that note, you’ve actually brought up a really a light bulb in my mind. Thank you for that, Lena. I think just on that, when you think about the installation and realization, just going back to that really quickly, we’ve probably noticed in change a lot of do-overs as in having to redo programs a year later, two years later. I think that’s a real difference between that installation and realization of change. But just going that one level deeper, it is around not just implementing that change, but getting back to the adaptability and agility of people and organizations because we live in a world where there’s constant change.

Michelle (17:36):

So we have the ability to help with that through how we design for change as well, even if we’re only chipping away a little bit. And that’s really important because there’s a focus now through more of ESG and also how the world’s moving on both human sustainability, so that’s wellbeing, psychological health and safety at work, but also organizational sustainability and how organizations can be adaptive. So that all absolutely links in. 

Lena (18:06):

Yeah, I like that term, neuro adaptive. Yeah, nice term. So I know you’ve done a lot of work in large organizations in this space as well. So are you able to talk us through an example or of a couple of examples when you’ve used Brain-friendly techniques? You don’t have to mention organizations, just real life examples would be great though. 


Yeah, sure. So yeah, the real magic happens when you put that theory into practice.

Michelle (18:36):

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So look, I was really lucky through the debts of my study that I was working with an organization where I did get to do a lot of test and learn, and it probably was the best organization to test and learn in because it was, you probably know about Keegan and Lay’s immunity to change. There was certainly a lot of those there because it was a highly institutionalized organization known for its top down approach and really strong ingroup and outgroup dynamics, fantastic organization, but this is just the way that they work. And it also had that really strong leadership self image. So there was a lot of resistance and fear when it come to change initiatives. So I could really, not literally, because I’m not a walking talking FMRI, but I could really see people’s brains working on the fly. So they were embarking on a significant change remediation, so a lot of their programs were being remediated and a part of my job was to go in and help them.

Michelle (19:36):

But leadership were worried that that non-traditional approach was likely to encounter a significant pushback. But lucky for me, well, not lucky for me, not lucky for anyone, nothing else had worked to push a particular program forward for about 18 months technically or people wide. So the first thing that I went in and done was think about and also coach the leaders as well on how we could foster approach states. So I explained to them what an approach state was, what an avoid state was. And we actually at first up use a really simple tool that I’m sure a lot of people would know was to consider five key social domains because again, work is a social context outlined in the scarf model. So as a group, we actually went through how what we are doing and how we’re approaching things, create avoid states. I like to call it avoid rather than threat because it is around approaching or avoiding change just to make it really simple from status, how can we acknowledge the value and expertise at individuals at all levels, your certainty, how you’re providing that clear information around that defined scope while remaining flexible autonomy, a big one, particularly in a highly ingrained organization with the way they do things around here, how can people contribute to ideas?

Michelle (20:55):

I was from external, how could we up that relatedness and also fairness and transparency and decision making was huge. So we started with scarf, and then we also went into, we actually designed a sort of a scarf plan and all the leaders worked towards that and continued to add towards it. So we really set the foundation for designing for an approach state. I also touched on designing for change and also how leadership would work considering some of the brain’s key organizing principles. So around that, it’s an energy conserving organ. So this was already a highly cognitively overloaded workforce. So it was important for everyone to keep things simple, not take up too much of people’s times, and also use current routines that were already there knowing that our brains are a prediction organ. So it’s kind of like a crystal ball within our heads, and we predict on what’s going to happen next based on past experiences, which is really important to know in organizational change.

Michelle (22:00):

It might not be based on the here and now, particularly when people are in a, I know I’m using thread game, but so with that, we provided space to test and learn and help people create new mental models based on new experiences. Another thing that we did, our brains a social organ. So we did some training on biases, the pros columns and how to mitigate them within a group setting. And also did leader training on the strength and importance of strong social norms, as well as some case studies from how other similar organizations did things as well. So social proof. Now, there were a lot of strategies and action from that. So engagement workshops, co-design sessions, a little bit of education with leaders on our behavioral system. So we went into a little bit more than neuroscience into behavioral science as well. But with that, one of the outcomes, Lena, was this particular part of the business was a huge part of the business by the way, and they’d never, ever worked with, and I’ll go into human-centered design as well, human-centered design principles, and they’ve never participated in co-design before.

Michelle (23:19):

The outcome was is that the business actually successfully helped the program and the general manager redesign the strategy and way forward, not just of change, but actually what was going to happen in this particular business year. That’s an amazing outcome, and that business still uses that to this day. So look, not everything was perfect. It was definitely challenging, but I hope that gives a little bit of an insight into just some of the things that you can use to create, I’d say they’re called nudges, right? Because it’s giving people information and then setting up things in a way by kind of even choice architecture to move in a particular direction whilst helping her people towards that approach or reward state. 

Lena (24:12):

Yeah, interesting. So that’s great because a strategy that’s been realigned with the brain in mind, which is fantastic. So now I’m a change practitioner and I’m planning to navigate resistance. This is a question, Dr. Jen did some research on change manager pain points recently at ACL I, and one of the big ones is lack of leadership support and understanding, which you’ve actually addressed that really with the leadership approach and how we can use brain friendly tips and approaches, like you said, to create that approach state. And I’ll come back to that to leadership support, but now I’m the change practitioner with my other pain point, which is that R word resistance. Now I have views on resistance because my view is, it’s just one of many responses, but what is one thing that a change practitioner could do today or tomorrow to help them with this resistance thing that taps into the insights we have from brain friendly change, do you think?

Michelle (25:36):

Yeah, no, absolutely. Fantastic question. And just to touch on what you are saying, what resistance is, I mean it can have, resistance is a label. I think that when we think of how our brains work, and particularly with all of our key organizing principles that I went through before, threat and reward and energy conserving, our brain likes to stick with the status quo. Okay, so is it stance, is it likes to stick with the status quo? So if we couple that we know that our probably top brain organizing principle is to minimize threat and maximize reward, and the second is energy conserving. We like to stick with the status quo. And there’s a whole lot of brain science that goes on behind that. And if we think that fundamentally underneath that, this is resistance in a nutshell. We have a reinforcement sensitivity system or reinforcement sensitivity theory, and we’ve got two friends in our head, let’s call them biz and let’s call them Baz.

Michelle (26:38):

Let me explain. So Baz is not our mate next door. BS is our behavioral approach system. So again, it’s what creates that towards or approach state, and it’s like a seesaw, and this is our behavioral inhibition system, and it’s what creates that avoid state. So again, coming back to what is resistance, it is just that it’s the seesaw in our head. It’s all of the things that our brain’s wired for and the status quo and what might bring up a threat or not. So literally leading people through resistance is understanding that that’s how our brain fundamentally works. And doing all of the sort of things that I went into about how we can design change for creating approach states. That’s what it is in a nutshell. So there’s not a one-liner on how to manage resistance. It is we are wired to stick with a status quo.

Michelle (27:31):

We have this BI and buzz mates in our head as change in enablers and change enabling leaders. It’s around designing for change so that we are leaning people towards most of the time ba, which is our umbrella approach system. So that’s it in a nutshell. 

Lena (27:52):

So if I’m a change practitioner and I say, oh, Michelle, what’s one thing I could put in my change plan to help me get more friendly with Baz across the road, not my buddy at the moment, what might be something I could just, is it something like as simple as give them some certainty by showing them a visual roadmap or is it something like that? Or is there something better? 

Michelle (28:19):

Yeah, so look, the first thing that I think if you’re a change enabler or a change enabling leader, if you’re not already doing it, is start with scuff. Okay? You are looking at what might create an approach or avoid state in all of those key social domains. So from a status certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness, because if you miss out on one of them, particularly fairness, it can come crashing down like a domino. So David rock’s work is actually really, really solid in that regard. And to your point around making sure that you’re keeping things visual, you’re chunking it down, you’re going micro and not macro. They all tap into the fact that our brain is an energy conserving organ. But also that’s a beautiful point that you’ve made because our brains are crave progress. So this is another key point in relation to resistance that people might not actually think about procrastination and something called the temporal gap. And what that is, if you tell people about change today, but there’s no progress or things happening in a chunked kind of way, people are less likely to be motivated and more likely to procrastinate, which you can label as resistance as well, right? Yeah. So what you said is absolutely perfect, and that goes into a little bit why agile change is so brain-friendly, which I think we bit later. 

Lena (29:41):

That was going to be one of my questions and you’ve answered it because I know you did our agile change management certificate, like you are one about you, you’ll always be one of our early adopters. You’re an early adopter with all fantastic learning, which is great. So you’ve answered that question why agile change is so brain friendly, because it takes that approach, like you said, with the visuals. 

Michelle (30:15):

Yeah. I’ve got a little bit more to go into that if you want as well, but feel free to ask me another question. 

Lena (30:22):

This is where my, there’s a couple more bulb on agile change which make it brain friendly that are off top of mind. Please let us know. Tell us now.

Michelle (30:31):

Yeah, sure. So it literally ticks almost all of the boxes to what we create a positive approach date. So we just spoke about the energy conserving organ and progress. So fantastic lead in Lena for that. You just tick that one off again, it wasn’t even rehearsed. Absolutely fantastic. It’s a social organ. So collaboration and safety. So we are wired for social interaction and agile fosters that collaboration, tapping into collective intelligent and also reducing bias through perspective sharing psychological safety. So the routines like social contracting, standups, retro, they create that safe space for open communication and it taps into the prediction organ. So learning and reward something really interesting around brain-friendly change and agile that I’d really love to touch on. So I think the audience would really find this interesting. So we know that our brains are constantly predicting and learning, right? And agile outside of our brain.

Michelle (31:32):

It emphasizes test, learn, adapt cycles. So we get to continually refine our own assumptions and mental models, which actually really good for brain friendly change and adaptability ongoing. But there’s something called reward prediction error. So what that is is what our brain’s prediction is versus what we actually find out through test and learn. Now, Agile’s iterative nature and hopefully successful deliveries, they trigger reward prediction error because you’re continually testing and learning and rewards prediction error in a nutshell promotes deep learning and motivation. But just to that leaner agile social nature is a double-edged sword. And so while it shines in all of those aspects, and I hope I’ve got that across location because I’m actually really excited about that integration, and then I didn’t actually get it until I sat down and thought about it. What we need to consider about that double-edged sword is the threat to states and change readiness.

Michelle (32:35):

So let me explain what I mean by that, because it’s not the change readiness that we think. So some individuals might struggle with the openness and experimentation of agile, and it could be not, because when we’re working with individuals and organizations and thinking about brain friendly and whatnot, we are really only seeing their external sake. We don’t see their intrinsicness, and we can’t always, we’re not therapists. We can’t design to get into their intrinsic motivations necessarily. When I mean change readiness skills, I mean that’s their internal change readiness skills to not only work through the change program that we’re working on, but just change behaviors in general. And some people going back to that word resistance, don’t even know why they feel uncomfortable about change. So I think just going back to that, it is a double-edged sword. We still need to manage the approach and avoid states when we are thinking of agile. But yeah, everything else, it definitely, all ticks are fantastic boxes there

Lena (33:36):

Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. Well, I love seeing the synergy between agile change and brain friendly change. I’d go back to one of the pain points and one of those pain points that Jen uncovered, and you’ve talked about this I think is that lack of leadership support and understanding. So let’s marry this with some earlier stuff you covered about working with leaders. Have you got any tips on how we can use a change practitioner level, brain-friendly change to help leaders understand the value of change and what we do or somehow get them to wake up a little bit? 

Michelle (34:20):

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. The first thing that I’d like to preface this with Lena, and I think it’s really important, it is a frustration for sure, but I think that we’ve spoken about brain friendly change and we’ve spoken about the brain and all of these concepts apply to leaders. So leaders are people too, and they’ve got obviously, but they’ve got diverse backgrounds, experiences, and pressures. And like any stakeholder, they have their own approach and avoid triggers. So I think the key thing, level thing is using brain friendly approaches with them is key as well. So you can do scarf for leaders, but with that you have to understand their history, the current perspective on change, identify the key motivators and potential concerns. And you do need to create that sense of security and control for them as well, because they’re part of the processes and we want to bring them in as change champions. And it’s really important because they hold immense power. So they set positive social norm so that their behavior can set the tone for everyone else, and they drive that positive or negative emotional contagion and emotions are catchy and they can also help us mitigate the psychosocial hazards.

Michelle (35:31):

But to answer your question, I think with leaders in understanding that they’re just like anyone else in that regard, it’s around demonstrating value and gaining that trust, not just telling. So things like coaching conversations, showcasing results, focusing on that people dependent portion of ROI, but also linking it to something that’s relatable for them. So how does that then impact the bottom line? But I think the key that I have here is around co-creating success with leaders and setting yourself up as success with them as a partner in change. And this all does go back to brand friendly change. So hear me out. So it’s around co-designing the success metrics with them upfront. So not only the business objectives, but that the people dependent portion factors as well, and having an accountability partnership with them. So what you are going to do, how you are going to help having a social, that social contract with them upfront on how you’re going to deal with risks together, how they’re going to help remove roadblocks, that social contract with a leader upfront helps with putting them in a reward state with you from the get go and helps mitigate that threat state with you from the get go.

Michelle (36:51):

Because imagine if you didn’t socially contract with that leader up front, you’re just flying by the seat of your pants and dealing with things in a reactive way, as in when they come up, rather than going back to everything that we’ve discussed, how can I proactively work with X to create an approach date? And that is social contracting upfront. And it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have to recontract throughout, but that is really a brain friendly fundamental contract upfront. Create that sense of safety and that accountability partnership upfront, and then show them more than you tell them using a approach along the way. 

Lena (37:33):

Okay. No, that sounds good. A lot of practitioners probably haven’t considered that approach at all, and I think that’s a great way to get them on board and well, I think one of the bonuses with them in the process is they’ll probably learn a lot about themselves as well.

Michelle (37:48):

Well, I think that’s the key, right? You’d be surprised at how many of them are going to be intrigued and take on board the learning. So with our human nature, whether it’s a leader or not, they might not actually tell you that throughout the life of the change, but I’ve had leaders come to me subsequently to say how much they’ve actually learned through that process. I think with that though, we do need to realize that we’re not, even though we can put all of these things in place, we aren’t in the hands of rock the cradle on bringing absolutely everything on board is when everyone on board. I mean, sorry, Lena, because I think that when it comes to something that I mentioned before around one’s internal change readiness, we can only go so far with that. So Brain-friendly is working with more of the external factors from a people point of view, and it’s doing everything we can intentionally to create those approach dates, which is more likely to create that sense of change realization versus installation.

Michelle (38:50):

But we have to be also realistic in this, in that we’re never going to absolutely win over every single person that we work with. That’s we use these techniques. There needs to be that level of pragmatism. And I think going in with that mindset’s really important for change managers and leaders as well. I think it’s focusing on how can they learn through this as well and doing the best that they can rather than setting themselves up for disappointment when it doesn’t work, they can keep on chipping on. 

Lena (39:21):

Yeah, that’s right. We’ve got to keep trying and experimenting. Well, there’s a lot of brain friendly stuff we’ve talked about. We could go on for another couple of hours, but I know that there comes a time when one must wrap up. So Michelle, if people haven’t already found you on LinkedIn, which they damn well should, if they haven’t or find you in other places, how can they find you? Tell us where they can find you. 

Michelle (39:48):

Yeah, sure. So personally, just find my name, Michelle Teunis. I write Brains on Change posts every week. It is my musings. Sometimes they’re short, sometimes they’re long, but they’re always interesting. And I also have a company called Collab Wise as well, where I partner with organizations to lead organizational change. So you can follow collab wise on LinkedIn as well for any new updates that are coming through. 

Lena (40:14):

Lovely, lovely. Now, Michelle, just before we totally close off, we have some exciting news to share with people listening today. And it’s about you and it’s about the Agile Change Leadership Institute. Jen, from and myself, we are excited that we’ve partnered with you to co-design and deliver an online micro-credential on Brain-friendly change. And what we’re doing is we are compiling a wait list for people interested in finding out more about this exciting program as we’re about to enter or in design phase now.

Lena (40:53):

And it’s going to be released shortly. So if you look at the show notes, there’ll be details on that, on how you can register your interest to find out more. And while you’re waiting for that exciting program to come out, Michelle has amazing stuff that she’s been sharing on LinkedIn, I encourage everyone to go there and have a look and check out collab wise and follow Michelle, connect with Michelle, connect with myself, connect with Dr. Jen from on LinkedIn if you’re not already. And Michelle, I really want to thank you for your time and those insights. Every time I speak with you, I go away with more and more stuff to think about and more and more stuff to look up and new terms that I love. So it’s been fantastic and I probably learned more about myself in the process as well, like we all do with brain friendly change. So thank you so much, Michelle. We’ll wrap up and it’s been amazing to chat with you. 

Michelle (41:51):

Thanks, Lena. It’s been amazing to chat with you as well.