Delving into the dynamics of organisational change

11 November 2021

Executive Diploma participant Aliina Rowe, shares her experience on the Organisational Change programme and explains how everybody in an organisation can make a positive impact to support change.

Delving into the dynamics of organisational change has always been a key component of reaching an understanding of organisations: how they operate, how they progress, how they succeed – and often, fail. I have yet to think of any organisation, or any role in an organisation, that isn’t profoundly impacted by change. This word – “change” – we throw it around a lot. It’s in our strategies, our mission statements, our budgets, policies, processes and people. But what is it about organisational change that we know intuitively to be so impactful, but maybe can’t quite explain? Why does that even matter? Can we do anything about it? What does that mean for my role in my own organisation, for my colleagues and my organisation as a whole? This is what I was looking to answer when searching for educational opportunities in the arena of organisational change.

As an Executive Assistant living and working in Frankfurt, Germany, it wasn’t easy to find an opportunity to learn about organisational change that fit with my expectations of what was suitable and could realistically work, both schedule-wise and content-wise. Schedule-wise, as we all know and can imagine - working full-time while being a parent and pursuing further educational opportunities was always going to be a juggling act. Content-wise, I wanted to be able to be a part of conversations while taking in and learning from the experiences of my future cohort. And to be perfectly honest (hey, we’ve all been through a pandemic together, let’s cut any nonsense at this point) - I worried that being an Assistant to an Executive, and not an Executive myself, might somehow mean I could not contribute as much or be worthy of the calibre of academic instruction on offer.

Thankfully, I had the blessing of the Executive I support and the wherewithal to find Warwick Business School (WBS). They already knew something I would come to fully understand for myself – we’re all part of the change that is happening in our organisations. And, guess what, we’re all here to make a positive impact, both big and small.

Over four modules, a total of 16 course days jumping in the deep end of organisational change, essays and case study assignments in-between and ending with a project of our choosing – I cannot think of a better experience to fully come to know organisational change and how it affects us all on a personal, organisational and - I don’t say this lightly – global level. The modules were spot-on and highly relevant. The assignments in-between modules, met with some apprehension because – yes after all these years you must “cite” and “reference”, meant we could fully utilize what was taught in class, all the while knowing that what we were writing was truly backed up by academic research, take-aways from the lectures, and the irreplaceable interactions of learning from our cohort’s experiences.

While learning about the frameworks and tools of organisational change, one of the aspects of this Executive Diploma I remember most was to really stretch ourselves to think about what all of it meant for us personally and for our organisations. How could we impact positive change in our organisations going forward? Yes, let us learn these frameworks and tools, but then just as important let us really have a discussion and think about going outside the framework boundaries and defining what they mean for us.

The final project was a surprising but welcomed culmination of the Diploma experience. I distinctly remember on the last module day where we presented our project ideas to our professors and cohort for feedback our professor said - this is where the fun begins. You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought. Really, after all that we have learned and experienced, we are just beginning the fun NOW?

I thought it might be difficult to find a fitting topic that would encompass my role as an Executive Assistant. But after all I had learned, I came to understand and fully appreciate I really didn’t need to look too far.

I chose to focus on how Executive Assistants engage and have an impact in organisational change through the lens of how small changes matter. This is what I knew to be true before, but can now explain why it matters, what that means, and how I can use that information in the best way to impact positive change in the future. I’m grateful for the opportunity I had through the project to really get to explore the nuances of organisational change and the parts we all play together in our organisations.

Find out more about the Warwick Executive Diploma in Organisational Change.