Change Trap 7#


The planning is done and it’s time to roll out your change initiative. But there’s a problem: your middle managers don’t have the knowledge to answer all the questions they’re going to get and they haven’t taken those first key steps of a change process – going from resistance to engagement.

This happens when middle managers aren’t considered an important target in your change communication. If you’re a manager, it’s simply assumed you’ll jump right on board, you’re loyal to the company and you’ll do whatever it takes to make the company’s strategic initiative happen.

This assumption slams shut a huge opportunity.

Give your middle managers time to take it all in. Help them explore what’s going to be different and let them think through the consequences – before they start getting all the questions. When it comes to driving change, a middle manager that acts like a change leader is your most convincing communication channel.

A new role after a decade of service


Johan Evander is our newest Concept Designer. He’s also one of our very first employees. After nearly ten years at Symbal, Johan has experienced all our ups and downs first-hand. Now he’s embarking on a new journey with his recent promotion from Visual Designer to Concept Designer.

Thanks to the new role, Johan is getting much more involved in the process of creating and selling solutions.

“The biggest difference is that I focus more on coming up with, documenting and presenting ideas instead of developing someone else’s, which is usually the case when you’re a Visual Designer. The most exciting part is getting to do more writing for all sorts of projects. It can be anything from e-learning courses to film scripts.”

Johan sees Symbal as a company that values creativity and gives him the chance to work with a wide range of projects and customers.

“We’ve got a unique offer. There aren’t many places where you can work with change the way we do at Symbal, especially not in Sweden. Companies like us don’t grow on trees.”

Back when Johan was first recruited to Symbal he only had five co-workers, including founders Peter and Anders. Over the past ten years he’s watched the company expand to 21 strong. It’s a great satisfaction to be able to contribute even more to the company’s progress in his new position.

“We started out as a rowdy little boy’s club and now we’re a full organization. It’s been educational, to say the least. Now I’m looking forward to the new challenges that come with being a Concept Designer. And celebrating a full decade on team Symbal.”

The art of juggling


Elin Sjödelius Johansson began her career at Symbal as a trainee directly after graduating with degrees in Media Production and Process Design at Malmö Högskola.

Today, Elin holds two positions at Symbal as Marketing Assistant and Visual Designer.

“My two roles give me the opportunity to work both externally with clients as a Visual Designer and internally as a Marketing Assistant,” explains Elin. “My work as a Visual Designer means that I get to package and visualize the concepts we develop for clients. In my work as a Marketing Assistant, I’m responsible for maintaining our website, keeping us active in social media, and other types of marketing including a variety of materials we need for client meetings and other events.”

Elin explains that her broad range of tasks and challenges push her to develop her knowledge base.

“One day is rarely like another, that’s something I really enjoy. I believe it’s both creative and constructive to switch between different assignments. It challenges me to keep growing and improving. When juggling a lot of tasks, I’m like a fish in water!”

Elin points out that her colleagues’ experience and competence are important factors of her development.

“I’m the youngest person at Symbal and for me it’s fantastic to work with such a knowledgeable team,” she says happily. “We’re good at sharing and we learn a lot from each other. It’s these qualities that lift Symbal as a workplace to a whole other level!”

Change Trap – “Why?”

Why should we? If you have a strong answer to that question you can create both commitment and understanding of the change you’re trying to implement. But why is often forgotten. By constantly leaving out the why, you risk creating a reactive attitude in your organization. Give why its due and it will give you an advantage as a leader. A well thought out why addresses basic human mechanisms like uncertainty, doubt and skepticism. So next time you see a why left out on it’s own – pick it up and take care of it. An engaging answer can make the impossible possible.


Change Trap – “The Ketchup Effect”

Dreaming of change? Our advice: Go slow! ”The Ketchup Effect” illustrates a common trap when change happens too fast. You continue to shake the bottle of change and suddenly it all comes flooding out at once, without proper anchoring with employees. A common mistake often made by leaders of companies, and project organisations, is that they try to move too fast from development into implementation. Involve middle management and key players. Make them ambassadors and secure their engagement. In this way, you can control the flow before unscrewing the bottle.


How to give back even when you’re strapped for time

An interview with Joanna Le Pluart on taking an opportunistic approach to being charitable

Last Christmas, we asked our community which organization working to change the world for the better should get a 10,000 SEK present from Symbal. The social media campaign reached 14,000 people and brought in dozens of nominees. When the votes were tallied, it was Communication Consultant Joanna Le Pluart who had convinced us that The Hunger Project deserved the gift because it has “the best business idea in the world.”

We recently reached out to Joanna to learn what drives her to get involved, how she merges giving back with a busy lifestyle and why she chose The Hunger Project.

Why did you get involved in Symbal’s competition?

“It was an excellent idea! I think companies should focus more on supporting charities than buying presents for customers. It comes down to finding new ways to contribute to a better world and social media can make it much easier. It helps companies and the public connect for a common cause. Plus, social media makes it simple to get involved, raise your voice and do something to make the world a little better.”

How do you decide which organizations to support?

“As a busy professional running my own company, I don’t have much time to research which charity to support. In fact, I have supported charities rather opportunistically in different phases of my life. For example, I supported SOS children’s villages when I had small children. I supported UNICEF’s Christmas vaccine campaign as an alternative to giving Christmas gifts, and now that my daughters are a bit older, I have become more focused on the situation of women in the world – hence my special interest in The Hunger Project.”

“Every drop counts – it’s always going to be better than nothing!”

What’s so special about The Hunger Project?

“Firstly, they do not give aid, but offer financing to empower people to improve their own lives and the lives of their families over the long term. So they’re not just pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom!

Secondly, the Hunger Project focuses exclusively on women. That’s because the research shows that strengthening the position of women is THE single factor that has the greatest impact on reducing hunger and poverty.

It makes perfect sense to me! A woman’s love for her children is arguably the most powerful force on earth. Women invest in the future for their children’s sake, and, in this way they carry humanity forward from one generation to the next.

So it’s about equality, too?

Women make up half of the world’s population, yet they own way less than half of the world’s wealth, land and resources. I also chose the Hunger Project because their bias towards financing female entrepreneurs goes some way towards correcting this massive global imbalance. It puts women in a better position to claim their rightful place as equal members of the human race on a par with their male counterparts – often in the world’s most sexist cultures!”

Any advice for people looking for a way to give back?

Find an opportunity to do contribute to a better world that fits your life. Don’t hold back because it seems like anything you do is just a drop in the ocean. Every drop counts – it’s always going to be better than nothing!

About Joanna Le Pluart

Joanna grew up in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire as the youngest of four siblings. She became a feminist activist early as a consequence of the unfair favoritism afforded to her brothers. She aimed to hold her own against them in rugby, swimming and cricket.

It was during her time as a student at Cambridge that the idea of living in Sweden took hold. A half Swedish friend told her all about the country, inspiring Joanna to pack up and make the move. She landed in Lund in 1993, where she later founded Crystal Clear Communications. Today, she works as a Communication Consultant for clients around the Öresund region.

Joanna och hennes barn

Joanna with her daughters

Get the change train rolling – ChangeMeter™

We humans have basic existential values that guide our thinking and behaviour. These core values are deeply rooted and follow us from childhood throughout life. Understanding these values lets you identify both the motivation for and resistance to change.

Please visit this this page to learn more about our approach to systematically measure the target groups’ willingness and motivation for change – ChangeMeter™.

Peter Gustafson, CEO talks about the importance of knowing your target audience. The basis for all change communication. (Currently only in Swedish)

(More films are available at Vimeo and Youtube)

Crowd learning takes center stage at Symbal HR event hosted by Axis Communications

The year’s first meeting of the Symbal HR and Learning Network was held at Axis Communications. The team behind Axis Academy told the captivating story behind their successful learning concept for partners and distributors around the world. Axis’ unique approach to learning as a strategic and competitive advantage gave the attendees a fresh perspective. Learn more at

The network was treated to a presentation from guest speaker Torvald Jacobsson from Edumanity. Edumanity was born out of a pioneering social learning project at Lund University. The company has developed its own methodology and technological platform based on crowd learning.

Crowd learning suits the modern workplace as it’s based on social networking, mobility and personalization. It makes an excellent complement to formal learning by answering a fundamental question all big companies struggle with: How do you facilitate an organic exchange of know-how in a large organization?

Many in the learning industry approach learning according to the 70-20-10 model. While many have mastered the 10% that covers formal education, few have found the key to unlocking the full potential of the 70% of learning that happens on the job. Crowd learning could be that key. A smart crowd learning platform lets people seek answers in real-time by drawing on the crowd’s real world experience. In comparative studies of learning complex topics, crowd-learning yielded better results than traditional classroom learning or e-learning. Learn more about this new learning frontier by visiting

Together, Edumanity and Symbal are bringing two new concepts to market in 2015. The concepts will leverage the power of crowd learning to unlock companies’ potential for innovation and facilitate the on-boarding of new hires.


In the photo from the left:
Helén Rönnqvist (Axis), Kristina Rydälv Kåreby (Axis), Charlotte Löffler Ivarsson (Axis), Torvald Jacobsson (Edumanity) och Håkan Dennersten (Edumanity)

Symbal at Learning Technologies in London 28-29 January

Meet Symbal at Stand 192 and listen to our open seminar on Thursday 29th 11.45 – 12.15 on how an organisation can make a successful change journey.

Learning Technologies is Europe’s leading showcase of organisational learning and the technology used to support learning at work.

LT 2013 logo

With more than 7,000 visitors, two exhibition halls packed with the latest learning technologies, innovation and best practice and Europe’s leading L&D conference, it provides a unique and exciting environment for all those involved in workplace learning.

See more at:

PAH Academy iPad app – Investigating unclear dyspnoea

New app helps physicians save lives.

Symbal recently helped Actelion turn a 1.5 day seminar into an iPad app. The app educates physicians on how to recognize certain diseases – some of which are lethal if untreated. Since the education is no longer bound to a stack of papers and a specific location, many more physicians have the possibility to get the information they need.

Watch the trailer for a sneak peek inside the new PAH Academy iPad app.