View from the Top | Celena Harry of Mitre 10
Change is the only constant thing in life – and that applies in business as well. And often, adapting to change is easier said than done and can get scary. But there are many ways to seamlessly adapt to change, said an HR leader who has experience leading change in the workplace.
For Celena Harry, Chief People Officer at home improvement retail company Mitre 10, everything starts with a plan. Change will always come, she said, and you often have time to create a plan or strategy that would allow you to seamlessly adapt to all of the changes.
“When my calendar started getting busy, I was able to come back to the plan and prioritise what was most important. I still needed to get the mahi done, but my focus remained on taking time to get to know my team, my network and building the foundations of really great relationships,” she said.
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Celena said it is also important to always put one’s values front and centre – to be true to oneself – during times of change as these will be the anchor in whatever challenges await, especially in the first 100 days of change.
One secret to adapting to change, she added, is to know the people – know who’s in charge of what, know their values, know what gets them going, and know how you can collaborate or help each other when the need arises.
“I have found that the personal conversations that started over coffee, before we had a backlog of work or a task to talk about, have been the most powerful for kicking off new relationships and gathering a support network,” she said.
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Working through periods of change and working in a new environment can be stressful, which is why Celena stresses the importance of having fun. There will be failures and birth pains but being able to learn from them while having a good laugh will always get you through.
Before her stint at Mitre 10, Celena spent over 20 years in HR leadership roles for various companies, including Vodafone New Zealand, Spark New Zealand, Chevron, NZPlaycentre Federation, and Farmers Trading Company.