Change Management & Innodirect: A Love Story

Determined to create a collaborative environment based on inclusion and innovative thinking, Innodirect couldn’t miss the Les Affaires conference on Change Management  held on October 2nd.


  • How can we, as companies, involve our stakeholders in change at all levels, both internally and externally?
  • How do we know what our stakeholders really think?
  • How can we understand their interpretation of the changes that are underway?
  • How could we involve stakeholders’ input to encourage positive change, increase reach-out and achieve a lasting impact?
  • How should we identify our change ambassadors?
  • How do we go about building new, motivated teams in the restructuring phase?

These are just a few of the many questions generated by change and tackled by speakers at the Les Affaires conference.


The entrepreneurial attitude: continuous revolution, right to shame and fast fail

As with most things, good change management is a matter of mindset and is particularly important to businesses at all stages of growth. However it was the “startup”, that ever-inspiring muse of a winning spirit, which formed the basis for the opening panel’s discussion. Constantly in

continuous revolution mode, the startup dissipates the very notion of temporal change. A big company is generally more focused on processes; a work ethos based on delegation, slow decision-making (“reunionitis”), and a preference for risk aversion. The startup, on the other hand, is inspired by its constant focus on vision and its perpetual search for the successful model. These aspects are facilitated by a work ethic based as much on autonomy as on collaboration (collective intelligence) and emphasised by innovation and the sacred right to error. Patrick Gagné, who represented startups on the discussion panel, spoke openly about the right to shame in conjunction with the notion of fast fail: change is innovation and a risk of failure. But it is important to know how to recover quickly, so as not to discourage future changes.


“If you’re not ashamed to launch your product, it’s already too late. “ Patrick Gagné

In her humorous speech, Isabelle Leclerc, head of HR at La Coop fédérée, invited us to dare to own our changes. She shared the story of her own career change, when she left the “fast, fast, fast” sector (media and communication), for the perennial patience sector (agriculture). For her, the magic ingredient for surviving this change was adaptability.


“You can look at the seed and tell it to grow fast, fast, fast, but it just won’t work. We have to adapt to this new context. “Isabelle Leclerc

Working in an industry so bound by nature, dictated by turbulent weather and climate change, Leclerc has internalised the values of courage, humility (openness) and analytical ability, which has served her well in her professional life.

Empowering language: simple, rewarding, reassuring words

Word-choice was cited as a fundamental factor in change management. Words need to “reassure employees, instead of worrying them even more” claimed Ludovic Boutin, representative of Decathlon.

Language was also at the centre of Leclerc’s efforts. Over the past 40 years, HR (along with many other sectors) has professionalized its practices, acquiring a specialized vocabulary populated with acronyms. However, this language is inaccessible to most non-experts and has compounded a silo-mentality culture. Leclerc’s contribution to improving internal and external communication has been to simplify and popularize HR practices in order to restore human resources’ decision-making power to managers.

Language not only has to be simpler but packed with more positivity too. The Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte Justine de Montréal proudly told us about their TransFormAction concept. With the aim of using rewarding language, Claude Fortin spoke to employees about transforming rather than changing, forming (training) teams rather than informing them. He sought to convince them through concrete actions, of the small achievements that can be accomplished daily when working side by side in a team in accordance with the Servant Leadership philosophy.

Freeing leadership: serve employees, be authentic and subsidiary

According to the Servant Leadership philosophy, it is actually the leader who serves employees and not the other way around. Prioritizing the needs of employees, helping them to develop in order to perform better, requires attentive and sincere listening.

Where listening can deepen your understanding of your employees, Angela Kourouklis, director of HR at Bridgestone Canada, believes employers need more than good listening skills, they need love. Kourouklis shared with us the important role that love played at Bridgestone, adding that, in any healthy relationship, authenticity is essential: you have to love your employees in order to establish a bond of trust and promote a free exchange of ideas.


“You have to love your employees. ” Angela Kourouklis

Another exciting example of liberating leadership came from Decathlon, the “liberated company“.  Boutin illustrated how this sports giant was able to unleash the energy and “intrapreneurship” of its employees and promote the formation of spontaneous teams, thanks to a culture of equality and the notion of the subsidiarity (whereby employees are granted decision-making powers).

Appropriate allocation of resources

Finally, allocating resources, budgets and time in order to assist employees to deal with changes was something mentioned several times throughout the conference. Simple solutions such as using facilitators and resource-sharing platforms have been seen to assist the process of change for employees and employers alike.

Innodirect + Change Management, sitting in a tree: Innovation, the beating heart of change

Once again, the Innodirect team’s sense of relevance was reinforced by its participation in the Les Affaires conference on change management. Innodirect, with its online platform for bias-free brainstorming and team-matching, is a smart change manager’s swiss army knife. Its anonymous, supervised and facilitated brainstorming sessions make it possible to:

  • equally voice and weigh points of view, without fear of prejudice
  • mobilize collective intelligence, thanks to its conversational format
  • foster the culture of error
  • popularize concepts and break silos
  • seek ideas, develop solutions, offer resources
  • build motivated teams.

Would you like to discover how Innodirect can support you in your change management efforts?

Innodirect Team

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