60 Second Interview - Phil Buckley

Change With Confidence Cover

Phil Buckley is a senior change management professional and author of 'Change with Confidence: Answers to the 50 Biggest Questions that Keep Leaders Up at Night'.

Phil is now the subject of our latest 60 second interview.

1. How long have you been in the industry, and what is your current job title ?

I have been in the change management field for twenty-three years. I’m the Managing Director of Change with Confidence, a consulting company focused on the people side of change.

2. Did you have a mentor and, if so, who ?

Most of my managers were mentors to me, from early career roles to senior executive positions. I greatly appreciated their interest in me and my career and in turn, I work hard to help guide others.

3. Are you by nature an optimist or a pessimist ?

I’m an enthusiastic optimist. I’ve seen how realistic optimism can drive individuals and teams to do extraordinary things, often achieving outcomes that were believed to be impossible. Change management is about helping individuals, teams and organizations build better organizations to achieve greater results. Optimism is an enabler as long as it’s supported by facts and data.

4. Which business leader do you most admire and why ?

I admire business leaders who set aggressive goals and achieve them according to the values of their organization. It’s a higher bar of success and usually requires leaders to resist going off course (strategically and behaviourally) to secure short-term gains.

John Donahue, CEO of eBay, is a successful strategist and operator who stays true to his company’s mission, commitment to communities, and founding values. Also, Kahlid A. al-Falih, CEO of Saudi Aramco, has consistently followed a path to realize his company’s vision that includes economic, social and environmental goals.

5. What's the biggest lesson you have learned in your career to date ?

My biggest lesson is that change is all about people; the people who need to adopt new ways of working are the ones that ultimately control the long-term success of any initiative. You could have the best plan, the most talented people, or even the best budget, but if people do not change their actions and behaviors to support the change then you will fail.

Therefore the best strategy for ensuring successful change is to work with people to provide everything they need – including respect, encouragement, information, tools and the opportunity to shape the change to fit their environment – to adopt the change.

6. What's your favourite business quotation or life motto?

“People don’t change when you tell them they should. They change when they tell themselves they must.” - Michael Mandelbaum

7. What's the best business book you've ever read ?

Managing Transitions, Making the Most of Change by William Bridges is the best business book I have read. It explains how successful organizational change takes place when people have a purpose, a picture of where they need to go, a plan to get there, and a role to play in change. You are set up for success when people are on board and have the support they need to change.


With 20-plus years of experience developing and executing change strategies for global businesses, Phil has managed 27 large-scale change projects -- including the $19.6 billion Kraft Foods acquisition of Cadbury - and he will teach leaders how to: identify what needs change; measure and prove success; determine if your change will actually achieve the desired outcome; know what a good plan looks like; get the budget to do it right; prepare people to work in new ways; reduce risk; obtain the proper resources; celebrate wins; overcome resistance; reward your team; keep the change alive; and much more.


Phil Buckley is a senior change management professional with over 20 years of experience developing and executing change strategies to achieve aggressive business goals across global business in Canada, the Americas, and the UK. His change assignments include mergers and acquisitions, demergers, organization restructurings, efficiency drives, culture initiatives, business model developments, strategy creation and deployments, downsizings, systems implementations, and organizational capability developments.

Phil's practical experience working on change initiatives in 20 countries has taught him how to help people make lasting changes within their local environments and to give them the results they need. He is a frequent public speaker on change, including hundreds of corporate keynote presentations, business facilitations, and college teaching classes.

Buy 'Change with Confidence: Answers to the 50 Biggest Questions That Keep Change Leaders Up at Night' from Amazon

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