Iris Lopez, MBA
Coach and HR Expert
Leading Change and Innovation
Iris joined viewers and me from around the world on Keep Leading LIVE!™ She is a Coach and HR Expert, who is also the past President of ATD Puerto Rico. We talked about Leading Change and Innovation.
Keep Leading LIVE!™ (37 Minutes)
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Iris Lopez graduated from the top university in the Caribbean and holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. She has more than 15 years of HR experience and has been a critical contributor to organizational transformation through technology and HR processes improvements.
Iris is the Past President of ATD Puerto Rico. The organization received an award from Tony Bingham, the CEO of ATD International, for chapter compliance and excellence.
“Connection, along with love and belonging, is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” – Brené Brown.
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The key to sustainable leadership lies in the ability to thrive during uncertainty, ambiguity, and change. Grand Heron International brings you the Coaching Assistance Program, giving your employees on-demand coaching to manage through a challenging situation and arrive at a solution. Visit GrandHeronInternational.Ca/Podcast to learn more.
This podcast is part of the C Suite Radio Network, turning the volume up on business.
Welcome to the Keep Leading!® Podcast, the podcast dedicated to promoting leadership development and sharing leadership insights. Here’s your host, The Leadership Excelerator®, Eddie Turner.
All right, here we are live again for another episode of Keep Leading LIVE™. Welcome to each of you who have joined me and my esteemed guest today from YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn. Coming to you live to record the Keep Leading!® Podcast
as we do every Monday and we’re back at our normal time today of 1 p.m. Central Time. So, I am excited to share so many good things with you all today.
As always, I welcome you to be a part of the conversation. Let me know that you’re here and also type in your name and location if you don’t mind. Sometimes LinkedIn doesn’t tell me who’s here and people tell me afterwards “I was there.” So, go ahead and tell me who you are and that you’re here and if you have a question, comment, you want to jump in, feel free to do so. Hit that SHARE button now if you would. And if you hit the SHARE button, your friends can join our conversation and your friends can see the replay if they miss the conversation. If you like what you’re hearing, I’m going to ask you to press the LIKE button so that my guest and I know and your friends know.
I’m more excited today than I probably normally am. This has been a busy day for me and I don’t normally talk about myself when it’s time to start the show but today I must tell you I woke up to an announcement. My friend Terry Brock sent me this article from the Wall Street Journal. I appeared in the Wall Street Journal today. So, if you haven’t picked up the journal or gone to the link, you can visit my profile just as you are for this LinkedIn broadcast. It’s on all my social profiles. Support the Wall Street Journal, please. This article is because of a webinar I did with Linkage. And Linkage is an organization that is all about leadership and the CEO, who you see me pictured next to here, Jennifer McCullough, she was asked to be interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and because of Jennifer, I ended up being on it as well because she brought me in. So, thank you to Jennifer and this important conversation about race and allyship – What does being an ally look like? So many organizations are trying to grapple with the right steps and we touch on some of the things you should do there. So, I support the Wall Street Journal and this article and Linkage. Visit Linkage.com to learn more because they have some great action steps that they provided as a follow-up to that session.
Another reminder is, obviously, as always, you want to follow myself and follow my guest on social media if you’re not already doing so. Her name is Iris Lopez. So, let me go ahead and introduce you to Iris Lopez at this time and let me tell you a couple of things about her. She is super smart. She graduated from the top university in the Caribbean and she possesses a Master’s in Business Administration. She was the president of ATD Puerto Rico. So, hello to all my friends in Puerto Rico which actually is where Iris is located right now and to all our friends in the ATD community.
Iris, welcome to the Keep Leading!® Podcast.
Thank you, Eddie. I’m really honored to be here to join you on your podcast. I’m very excited. I’m very happy to be here. I know that there’s a lot of colleagues in Puerto Rico that also are connecting or are going to be connected today. So, I’m very happy, very glad and I’m honored to be here today.
Well, thank you. And you’re right. We do have a few colleagues who have joined us. Here’s someone who joins me actually rather often, a big supporter of the show, Jordan Michael Thomas. He’s coming to us from southern California. Welcome and thank you for joining and letting us know that you’re here as well as Stephanie Williams, another supporter who comes almost every week. I appreciate you, Stephanie. Stephanie Williams is located actually right here in Houston, Texas, where I am. So, thank you, Stephanie, for all your support and for being here. And Mary Ann Shank, coming all the way from Switzerland. Marianne and I study together at Harvard and absolutely love her and she’s doing some amazing work in financial services. So, thank you, Marianne, for joining our conversation. So, we look forward to hearing from more people as we go through our conversation
I neglected to say what we’re talking about. We’re talking about leading change and innovation. And, certainly, that is something on the minds of many people today given where we are in the world. So, Iris Lopez, how did you get interested in leading change and innovation.
Well, during my experience now doing farming and managing change, it’s not the frame that change is happening all the times, change is happening always. That’s a constant in our life and our organizations. So, I just get intrigued with how we can effectively manage change. And I just started studying and making my research for the MBA on Organizational Change. So, change management process is something that I really enjoy and I was really curious about it since I to work on HR. I’ve been in HR for about 18 years. I’ve been working in non-profit organizations with collective bargaining. So, that’s a different way also to look at change. And also, in the financial services, in an insurance company I worked for seven years. And change is a constant to business. Change is a constant in our world. And we are managing people. We are connecting people to what we are trying to do with organizational objectives, organizational targets. So, for us, it’s very important that we talk about how to manage change and not just only change as something that it’s needed but also to talk about change with people and involve them in what we are going to do.
Yes. So, talking about change with people and involving them but what typically is reaction you get from people when you talk about involving them in change?
Well, it’s normal and it’s natural for people to fear about change, what’s new, something unknown. So, people become maybe defensive when we are trying to work on something that it’s new, that we are convinced that it’s something that’s going to result in a positive outcome for the organization but maybe people do not see that way. They see maybe fear, that loss of control, they fear like “Oh, now I need new skills to do my jobs” or “I am used to doing things like this way and now I’m going to be changing” or “I used to do things with this or this team.” There’s a lot of things that people fear about change. And we as leaders are responsible to create a positive environment to create that positive energy and focus their effort to something that will shape the organization’s futures in a positive way. So, that’s one of the responsibilities of leaders when we are talking about change. It’s to engage our people in a positive way to convince them and to understand also the human behavior that it’s normal, that it’s normal that people may be anxious, a little bit worry about new things but here we are to let them know that what we are going to change and why. I think that the what and the why, the explained purpose of that change to connect people to organizational values, to connect people for that positive outcome that we are searching for is something that leaders are to be with their people.
Yes. And you highlight something that’s pretty interesting and important and that is this human emotion and human psychology behind change. We have Marianne tuned in and, as I mentioned, I studied at Harvard and under Dr. Ronald Heifetz, one of the things he’d say is “Humans don’t hate change. They hate loss.” If someone says “Hey, I’m going to take your car from you but I’m going to give you a brand new Ferrari,” that’s a change you’d welcome or someone says “Hey, I’m going to give you a million dollars,” that change in your circumstances is not something you reject. We reject the change when it involves loss. So, yeah, that’s a great point that you’re making about the human psychology and there’s several ways that we can leverage that or work to get people to be more welcoming. What’s worked for you in your work?
Well, I think I can talk to you about three things being very important. It’s communication. As I was telling a few seconds ago, I’ll communicate the what and the why of that change. People need to connect the why. And people are not machines. We are human things. So, they need to get connected with what we are going to do and not at the moment that we are you know preparing to perform that change. I think that we need to start these conversations with time ahead of change so people can start thinking about it, engaging about it when you give them a participation, when you give in them the information they need to know, the why also. And when you start to engage them in these conversations, you are also creating a stronger buy-in from other people and you also create that urgency for the change that you need people to implement the changes.
Yes, very good. And the what and the why, communicating that and I really like what you talked about in terms of the sense of urgency because sometimes that sense of urgency is really what we need to help people to see the need to make the change. We saw what happened when during COVID. So, many organizations, and for me this was really personal because I’ve been talking about virtual forever in my work, and many organizations resist virtual but all of a sudden, we had a sense of urgency it had to be done, there was no tomorrow and organizations put 70,000 people at home overnight.
Jordan Thomas says he agrees with you and what you said. Thank you for letting us know that you agree, Jordan. We appreciate that feedback.
Eunice Rivera says good afternoon.
From Puerto Rico, Eunice.
Yes, she’s from Puerto Rico. So, excellent. nice to meet you, Eunice. Welcome. We’re glad to have you. Thank you for letting us know that you’re here as well as, oh my, all the way from Colombia, Ivanya. Did I pronounce that correctly, Iris?
Ivanya. Okay, thank you, Ivanya. Welcome all the way from Colombia. I love it. She is a part of this with us as well. Jordan wanted to augment what he said before by saying communicating the what and why prior will help prevent confusion. He’s absolutely right.
Yeah, absolutely. And you mentioned COVID. We’ve been forced to change too many things on a very fast-paced period and this is an example of when we need to … Change is occurring anytime but during COVID, it’s been like “Okay, you swim or sink. You change and you also do innovate or you just swim.” I’ve been seeing this in our organizations. So, I think that something that is also important is not only communicate the what and why to connect people and to create a stronger buy-in and urgency of that change but also to collaborate. We have as leaders the responsibility to work across boundaries in the organization to encourage the breakout of silos. There are sometimes areas, work units, they are happy on their own, doing their things and we need to break out all these behaviors that do not provide a positive environment to facilitate and to make things change.
Indeed. Thank you, Iris.
And this is a show that is heard all around the world. Specifically, I get uh reports that show verified downloads in 80 different countries including the United States all over and the state of Puerto Rico. There are still two states in the United States that are holding out but the territory of Puerto Rico, our very own, is not holding out on me.
Yeah, there’s a lot of people that know you here. So, I know you’re doing some noise.
Well, thank you. I say that because Jordan Michael Thomas says he loves how global the podcast is. And so, I’m always excited to see people join from wherever but especially my friends from around the globe. It means a lot. And my new friends who I’m meeting like today Ivanya and Eunice.
All right. So, I’m talking to the amazing Iris Lopez. She is an expert in the field of talent management. She’s a new coach who’s launching a coaching service as well, we should mention that, and she has graduated from the top university in the Caribbean and she holds an MBA. She’s the past president of the Association for Talent Development and we will have more with her right after this.
Right now, I want to share a few announcements or tell you about some people who really are helping the Keep Leading!® Podcast. And I have a lot of advertisers to thank who have supported the show over time, specifically this month there are ads that came in from Starbucks. So, support my friends over at Starbucks. I had a good cup this morning from there myself. Goldman Sachs, Purex, and Progressive Insurance. This show is part of the C Suite Network and C Suite Radio. So, I really appreciate my friends and my relationship there with the C Suite Network and the C-Suite Radio. Tune in because together we are helping to turn the volume up on business.
And then my supporter and sponsor who has really just been with me for the long haul and renews month after month. Let me tell you about my friends over at Grand Heron International. The key to sustainable leadership lies in the ability to thrive during uncertainty, ambiguity, and change. Grand Heron International brings you the Coaching Assistance Program, giving your employees on-demand coaching to manage through a challenging situation and arrive at a solution. Visit GrandHeronInternational.ca/Podcast to learn more. And you see the image there on the screen for Grand Heron. So, I want to say a special thank you to them.
Of course, this is a part of the Keep Leading!® Podcast. So, if you enjoy the Keep Leading!® Podcast, please let people know that by visiting Apple Podcast and leaving a five-star review if you think it’s worth five stars and a brief review, a couple sentences, about an episode you’ve enjoyed. That helps other people know. Visit KeepLeadingPodcast.com to learn more about all my guests and see their books and get a full transcript. Visit KeepLeadingLIVE.com to be able to see this live episode.
Again, I want to remind you, if you are with us, do as Jordan Thomas has done, do as Stephanie Williams in Houston has done, Eunice Rivera from Puerto Rico and Ivanya from Colombia. Let us know you’re here. Ask a question. And certainly, Marianne Shank, all the way from Switzerland. Let us know that you’re here. Hit the SHARE button as well. If you hit the SHARE button, that’ll let your friends join the second half of this conversation and it will also leave it in their feed to be able to watch the conversation later.
You’re looking at the amazing Iris Lopez. She’s a talent development expert. She’s been in the business over 15 years. She’s now going into coaching. She’s the past president of ATD Puerto Rico and we are talking about leading change and innovation.
Before we get back into talking about leading change and innovation, I want to talk about ATD just for a moment because it’s critical to the work that we do here in talent development and in how we lead change and innovation. How are my friends there in the chapter there in Puerto Rico?
Well, ATD chapter in Puerto Rico has a huge audience. There’s a lot of HR professionals that also follow ATD in Puerto Rico. So, it’s a chapter that’s been since [Inaudible] and Maria today have been doing through changing. So, we are talking about change and I as a leader of ATD Puerto Rico chapter, I did a lot of things with changing the branding and the positioning of the chapter in Puerto Rico. So, it involves us to get connected, to start making networking and collaborations among many of the professionals inside and outside Puerto Rico. So, it’s been a great experience for myself. It’s been an awesome experience to be in charge of ATD Puerto Rico chapter from 2018 to mid-2019. And if there’s someone from Puerto Rico listening to us, I encourage them to look forward to reach out to ATD’s Puerto Rico chapter. And for all those that are outside Puerto Rico, go ahead and be part of ATD. It’s been a very growing experience for me. I can talk about my professional experience before and after the ATD. So, I have a lot of memories and good experience and good people that I connect with just like Eddie. I just knew you through ATD. So, it’s Jack Duran … So, there’s a lot of great people that you will be able to connect to through ATD.
Wonderful. And, yes, I echo your call. If you’re listening to this program, join your local ATD chapter, be it there in Puerto Rico or around the globe. I used to know off the top of my head exactly how many countries we were in. I know it’s over 100. I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 plus countries around the world, truly an international organization. By the way, if you’re listening internationally, sometimes people don’t know. We’re saying ATD. That stands for the Association for Talent Development. And we were formerly known as the organization called ASTD the American Society for Training and Development. So, sometimes, I’ve noticed depending on where I am in the globe, people may not recognize ATD but they always recognize ASTD. So, join us and learn the latest that you need to know as a professional in the talent development industry.
Let’s talk about a little bit more, if you would, about your work in the talent industry and specific change that you’ve led for innovation.
Sure. Well, being in charge of an HR department, for me, it’s a very great adventure. I’m not only like transactional. I do love to seek processes and make improvements to whatever I got in my hands. It’s natural for me. So, specifically, during my last seven years in the insurance industry, I worked to set up an HR department where there was no HR department in the organization. I built up the HR department, the processes, procedures and all the systems that are needed in order to not only make it the best workforce administration but also to change the culture of the organization to a talent-focused cultured. So, we did work with the HR information systems. We did work with creating and designing the processes behind any of the systems. And that’s the technical part of changes.
There’s a hard side and a soft side, right?
Yeah. So, we didn’t have these things, now we created it but between those things, you have to manage people and allow people to receive those changes. So, that’s a work that is done really with communication, collaboration, and commitment. You cannot ask people to do something you’re not willing to do. And innovation does not occur. That is not something that is done just by accident. You have to plan for it. You have to think about it and you have to be very intentional about what you need to change. It’s not a work for a few individuals within the organization. It’s something that you should be able to pass on to the organizational culture and as a leader create the systems and the processes to help people identify the best idea they can deliver to the organization in order to do the improvements the organization needs ahead of that future that we are looking for. So, I think these two subjects, change and innovation, they walk hand in hand and I think for us as leader, we need people to be creative. Innovation will not come if we do not allow the spaces for people, give them permission to fail and just handle our internal processes to try to get people you know be creative and incentive for the creation of the ideas and new ways of improving things. So, I think that’s a requisite for us as leaders to make people trust in us so they can feel comfortable, so they can feel secure when they bring to the table their ideas about how they can better things within the organizations.
Yes. So, we have a big need to be innovative. The only way we make progress as an organization and the way we make progress as a society at large, quite frankly, is through innovation. We need new ideas, we need new technologies, we need new strategies, new processes but to have those innovations come about requires change. And so, the two, as you said, are linked – innovation and change. We must be willing to make changes and accept change and champion change to have innovations.
I’ve enjoyed talking with you. What is the core message you’d like to leave our listeners with?
Well, I think that we as leaders need to be intentional about the changes that we need people to buy in and to create that sense of urgency and connect. I think, this is a matter about connecting with people and connect people with what we are trying to achieve, organizationally speaking. When I think of processes, I think of people. So, my ultimate message is, yes, let’s be intentional, let’s facilitate change, let’s promote innovation within our people and let’s do it connecting with people and connect them to the purpose we’re looking to strive for. The rest is communication and connection and trust and then you will have everything. I think that it’s quite simple to tell. It’s our actions, our daily actions, our commitment, our consistency and what we talk and we do that will help us to gain people’s trust and to work beside all people to have that done.
Thank you, Iris. Is there a piece of leadership advice you’ve received that helps you to keep leading or a quote that you use?
Well, there’s a quote, I think it’s from Michael Jordan. I like quotes from sports because it’s a really good analogy. And I’m not quite sure. Pardon, Eddie, I’m not sure about it but it’s about teamwork – you are not alone on a playground but things are done and performed by teams, not only by one person. So, the success of one person is the team’s success and it’s all about people and not only one person but the effort of all others that are together doing something.
Yes, he’s one of my favorites. You can’t go wrong with the Michael Jordan quote, especially on the Keep Leading!® Podcast
Iris, where can my listeners learn more about you?
Well, I’m on LinkedIn. It is Iris Lopez MBA on LinkedIn. I’m also on Facebook and you can follow me through Iris Lopez Certified Coach and that’s my Facebook Page.
Excellent. So, we will be sure to put that in the show notes so that people can click on the link and get easy access to you. People want to know you and connect to you. So, we’re going to make it easy for them, okay?
Sure. Thank you very much.
Wonderful. Thank you for being a guest on the Keep Leading!® Podcast and helping us to learn more about leading change and innovation.
And Jordan Michael Thomas says he just followed you on Twitter. Thank you for following Iris, Jordan Michael Thomas. We appreciate you and thank you for tuning in. I want to thank everyone for tuning in, all of you all from around the world who tuned in. And Jordan Michael Thomas said it well earlier that truly the Keep Leading!® Podcast
and the Keep Leading LIVE™ have an international audience and that’s one of the things I’m so proud of. I’m so happy to connect with so many people around the world every week on Fridays through the regular audio podcast that drops and certainly on Mondays when we do this live stream. I’m always encouraged by so many people who show up and it’s always a surprise who shows up on the live session but then the hundreds of you, almost a thousand, who are watching just the replays of the live stream and then of course the download audience, thank you all. I appreciate the support. Thank you to my sponsors. And, again, thank you to my esteemed guest today, Iris Lopez.
I want to remind you that leadership is not about our title or our position. Leadership is about action. It’s about activity, what we are doing. It’s not a garment that we put on or take off. We must be a leader at our core and allow it to emanate in all we do. So, whatever you’re doing, always keep leading.
Thank you for listening to your host Eddie Turner on the Keep Leading!® Podcast. Please remember to subscribe to the Keep Leading!® Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen. For more information about Eddie Turner’s work, please visit EddieTurnerLLC.com.
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The Keep Leading!® podcast is for people passionate about leadership. It is dedicated to leadership development and insights. Join your host Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator® as he speaks with accomplished leaders and people of influence across the globe as they share their journey to leadership excellence. Listen as they share leadership strategies, techniques and insights. For more information visit eddieturnerllc.com or follow Eddie Turner on Twitter and Instagram at @eddieturnerjr. Like Eddie Turner LLC on Facebook. Connect with Eddie Turner on LinkedIn.