Have you had that “Back to School” feeling in recent days? Many grown-ups, as well as children, will have felt it as they return to their workplaces, with the summer break disappearing rapidly in the rear-view mirror. Part of the apprehension they feel comes with the prospect of changes that may lie ahead.

In recent months, we’ve been publicly braced to expect lots of change, yet in truth change is and has always been with us. It can feel bewildering, yet something enduring and rather reassuring always shines through for us at Sheridan Resolutions – the importance of people in making change work.

We often overestimate the immediate impact of the “headline-grabbers” such as new ideas and technology in driving change in our working lives.  Why? Precisely because we underestimate the importance of engaged, change-friendly individuals and teams in making it happen.

Change can certainly bring with it conflict – and leaders and managers today need to be more aware than ever of what to do when workplace relations break down. That why I’m excited to be delivering a session for the CIPD on 20th September, exploring how mediation can assist them when managing challenging relationships at work. The session will look at how mediation can enable organisations to develop a high-performance culture, whereby those conflicts arising are managed positively.

A positive approach is essential – effective mediation becomes even more important in unblocking obstacles and making real change happen. Only by helping people to strengthen and, when necessary, repair professional relationships can leaders transform businesses and create high-performing workplaces.

Change can be exciting or terrifying – and usually a bit of both. So leaders need to remember the one true constant of change: progress is nothing without people.

Caroline Sheridan, Chair, Workplace and Employment CMC group and Founder of Sheridan Resolutions