to Opportunity: Strategies for Navigating
By Stacey Slaughter, CEO, NCTI
2017, NCTI brought together a panel of industry
leaders and experts to share their thoughts
and advice on how to navigate change and
successfully acclimate teams. The
panelists were: Dr. Elizabeth
Selzer of The Mentor
Leadership Team, Maria
Popo of Amp 10x,
Matt McConnell of Comcast
and Shane Portfolio of
Comcast. This article is
the amalgamation of that discussion.
Change is a topic that resonates with all
of us as the industry is going through a
tremendous shift. Specifically, consolidations,
ever-changing technologies, the increase
of device usage per household and redefining
job roles to accommodate new services.
Change. For me, big change came when I
bought NCTI. In the first several
months of ownership, I rebranded the company
and moved us seven miles west. No
longer were we part of a bigger organization
and gone were the days of unlimited resources.
Employee duties shifted, and everyone was
responsible for doing more. It was
a BIG change for all of us, but through
the process I learned how valuable it is
to know how to effectively lead through
change to minimize the negative impact and
Embrace and Lead
It starts with you. As a leader, how
you manage change sets the standard for
your employees. Recognizing, understanding
and transforming from someone who is fearful
and unsure of impending change, to one who
not only accepts it, but becomes an agent
of change is essential to help others get
on board. This process can be achieved
in many ways, but it begins by recognizing
potential loss and addressing anxieties,
and then progresses toward accepting change,
seizing opportunities and transitioning
into your new normal.
Mitigate Fears and Anxiety
Two types of people emerge when you go through
a change: roller coasters and merry-go-rounders.
Roller coasters are those who welcome change
and merry-go-rounders are averse to it.
Roller coasters thrive on change and are
your secret weapon to mitigating the anxieties
of the merry-go-rounders. Take advantage
of your roller coasters, make them your
change ambassadors. With their enthusiasm,
you can normalize processes, limit disruptions
and create an ecosystem that reflects the
positive aspects of the change.
Merry-go-rounders are not a lost cause.
Head their negativity and apprehension off
at the pass by being positive, arming them
with the tools they will need to be successful
and, most importantly, communicating!
We all know perception is reality so the
more you communicate with your teams the
less likely they are to make their own assumptions.
In summary, as you are faced with change
within your organization, it’s important
to be mindful of what your employees might
be going through. Lend an empathetic
ear. Acknowledge their feelings while
being careful not to discount their emotions.
If they are happy about the change, rejoice
in their excitement! If you sense
trepidation, recognize this loss and do
your best to show how the change can benefit
them. If your employees know you are
in the trenches with them, then traversing
the change will become easier.
With change come opportunities to fortify
processes and procedures and practice preventative
maintenance. The more you can anticipate
roadblocks, setbacks and changes in priorities,
the easier change will be. Identify
each person’s responsibilities, implement
a thoughtful process of communication and
become more agile. According to Project
Management Institute’s Pulse
of the Profession® In-Depth Report:
Organizational Agility, “Organizations
effective at change management are more
agile, not only reducing the impact of external
changes, but also capitalizing on the opportunities
they may present.”
Be proactive in anticipating change.
Hire people with solid problem-solving skills
who work well with others. The more roller
coasters on your team, the less stressful
change will be. Do spot checks a couple
levels down to make sure all your employees
are ok and really get to know your teams.
Be observant and don’t ignore potential
warning signs from individuals. Make
sure your employees see you and hear you
on a consistent basis, keep them updated
and acknowledge how they are doing.
Finally, be the north star. Assume responsibility
and accountability and instill a sense of
pride in your employees for the work they
do. If the company believes it, the customers
Dr. Elizabeth Selzer of The Mentor Leadership
authentic leadership as, “Others focused.
You work for your followers. Your
job is to help them become better, not the
other way around.” Dr. Selzer goes
on to say by practicing authentic/transformational
leadership, you become humble, authentic
and transparent. Trust your employees
and encourage a family-oriented and genuine
environment. Lastly, when communicating
to your employees, be thoughtful about the
messages you deliver.
By no means do I guarantee a seamless transition,
but by applying these principles, you are
taking the right steps toward a more positive
journey for you and your team. As
the adage goes, “Change is inevitable,
growth is optional.” Choose growth,
however that looks, for both you and your
About Stacey Slaughter
Stacey Slaughter is Chief Executive Officer
of NCTI, which provides industry-leading
training and sophisticated learning tools
for the cable and broadband industry. She
leads the company’s efforts to help
clients achieve measurable results through
actionable, timely and relevant learning.
For more information, visit www.ncti.com