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Published May 30 2022
Annick Sénéchal, Senior Director 
Annick Sénéchal
Senior Director
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What I love about having a job with variety is that it focuses on people first in every decision, thought process and initiative, whether they’re related to technology, business, finance, procedures, relationships, communications, roles and responsibilities, etc. At all times, with every action I take, I always have to consider the potential impacts and any current and anticipated concerns.

For me, people are at the heart of every change and merit our full attention as every field needs a foundation based on people’s support, collaboration, acceptance and experimentation.

My academic interests always revolved around human behaviour.

I first completed a college diploma in administration with an insurance specialization because I wanted to offer customers good products with fair and competitive premiums. I learned to navigate the customer experience field alongside legal and judicial aspects. Although people didn’t refer to it as “customer experience” then, it was always behind my thought processes and decisions.

After some time in the insurance field, I became interested in pursuing a university degree and a career in healthcare and social services. As my interests pointed toward a career in management, it was an easy and clear choice to go into human resource management from both training and development and professional standpoints. People have always been at the centre of my ambitions and interests.

It was the perfect field of study for me because I was amazed to see, each day, the ways in which management was part of my daily life, even in simple ways. This is why I’m always looking to hone my knowledge and skills, even today in my master’s program and by pursuing continuous improvement certifications, the most recent being Agile People.  

A typical day

My days are quite busy—but so, so fulfilling and fun. You might find me juggling writing a service offer, responding to a call for interest and managing a job assignment, through varied communications with our agents and with our consultants working on projects. You can also find me discussing future interests with candidates from all over while providing clients with strategic, tactical and operational advice.

My team also sometimes needs an outside perspective or suggestions on actions to take. My job is to respond to and advise/support them in their work.

I have the honour and pleasure of being responsible for a group of over 50 consultants. Each person brings their own flair, personality and unique specialization to their approach. That’s why it’s truly a dream for me to see new and former employees share Alithya’s friendly and people-first values, which I share too, such as respect, passion, trust, integrity and creativity.

My team is absolutely incredible, both the managers I work with and the consultants that are working on projects with different companies. I’m so proud to work with them each day and see their knowledge shape our clients’ daily lives. As they often work behind the scenes, their consulting shines through the success of our large-scale projects. We can celebrate major achievements in organizational transformation and change. The ingenuity of their human approach gives me confidence in the future for the individual and the collective.

As a manager, it’s my duty to acknowledge the importance of each situation, and more importantly, do the same for each person on my team. Interpersonal interactions are essential in my work and the new technology for virtual accessibility only helps me be more available!

I want to promote an environment of well-being, so my goal is to make each person feel like the most important person in my day. I do this by remaining open and making sure they feel heard and respected.

As I say in the title, I’m powered by people. Without this fuel, I wouldn’t have the passion or managerial courage to make decisions that will have a real impact on the well-being of my team, and in turn, on our projects.

Change management: knowing how you respond to resistance

Change management, transformation and organizational change are all hot topics in the IT field and, of course, at Alithya.

Although these topics are now an integral part of the IT/business world, it’s important to communicate the content in plain language to ensure people understand and are on board with all that it implies.

Beyond the quality of our services as consultants, it’s important that we know ourselves when interacting with the changes taking place, certainly in IT, but also in people’s lives. Above all, we need to recognize how we feel when confronted with change, accept these feelings and legitimize the fact that they’re real.

Every change simply creates a distance between the new situation and the old one. That’s why the stages of change are comparable to grief; the past no longer exists and isn’t coming back. Each stage brings with it a new emotion. A feeling emerges from the new emotional state, which helps us integrate the change.

When faced with a new situation, we first need to identify the emotions it elicits. Yes, really! Self-knowledge is critical for being able to understand how change will affect others.

It’s important to take the time to acknowledge what’s happening within us before looking to the other person. This self-knowledge is essential to analyzing the situation in an unbiased way. Of course everyone moves at their own pace which is why kindness is so important—it creates space to acknowledge resistance, which should never be ignored.

The stages of change are frequently illustrated as a curve, similar to that of grief. In my humble opinion, it’s something that everyone would benefit from knowing. It’s not complicated to grasp and can create a feeling of inner well-being as it normalizes a legitimate emotional state, allowing for the acceptance of inner resistance.

Last year I had to grieve my mother’s passing. It was sudden, with no explanation and at an age that, for me, was too young. My whole world changed faster than I could even understand what was happening. Of course I’m not the first person this has happened to, but for me, this change shouldn’t have happened so soon in my life and been so catastrophic for me.

This “for me” mindset is very personal, as this specific experience applies to me alone, but I am not the only person to experience shock or anger, and looking for ways to accept it. I’m just not going through this at the same time as the people around me. Grief, like change, is unique because it’s personal.

You’ve probably noticed that I have barely mentioned IT, and instead told a heavy personal story.

This is what change management represents for me, whether in IT or elsewhere. Above all, change management involves the relational, emotional and personal, along with unique circumstances and managed action to facilitate the transition from the present state to the future, whether wanted or not, for me and for others.

My role as Senior Manager of Change Management for professional organizational transformation and change services naturally drives me to analyze each situation and the different ways I interact and react, but that doesn’t mean that I will let these emotions lead during an IT- or event-related change.

My self-knowledge helps me support those around me and put their experience into accessible terms without being an obstacle to change myself.