Annual Meeting Speaker Highlight: Dr. Michelle Rozen


The theme of SECF’s 52nd Annual Meeting is “A New Day, A New Way” – but what exactly will a new way look like?

Dr. Michelle Rozen, this year’s Friday morning plenary speaker, has a few ideas.

“Getting back not just to a new normal but actually to a better normal requires leaders to double-down on their soft skills and provide the people they’re leading a lot more support,” she wrote recently on her website. “Together, as teams, leaders and individuals, we can up our game when it comes to our people skills. We can lead better. We can become better.”

Leading better is Rozen’s specialty. She’s emerged in recent years as one of the country’s top authorities on leading change. Dozens of Fortune 500 companies have benefited from her advice and guidance. She’s also recently published a book, 2 Second Decisions: The Secret Formula for Leading Change by Making Quick Winning Choices.

Rozen doesn’t expect leaders to decide in two seconds whether to make a hire or go in a new strategic direction – but she does believe it should only take that long to set priorities.

“Prioritize by making 2-second decisions on what matters the most to you, and just get out of your own head and give yourself a number,” she writes. “If you have certain things today that you assess as a ‘10’ for you, you decide that no matter what, those are the things that you are going to focus on. The twos, the ones, the threes – they can wait for later.”

Rozen’s emphasis on change may seem especially timely given the events of the past 18 months. But Rozen argues that leaders shouldn’t wait for events to force their decision-making – change is something that leaders and organizations can prepare for.

“If you are not experiencing large scale changes as a company (rare to find these days, but possible) you still need to work on creating an organizational culture of adaptability as part of your proactive planning for remaining competitive and being prepared to be able to adapt quickly and effectively,” she writes.

Rozen’s own story has been defined by change. She already had children and a full-time job when she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology. Her commitment allowed her to overcome obstacles and embrace change as an opportunity.

“Change can be experienced in different ways. It can be intimidating, it can be exciting, it can be tiring, and sometimes all of these combined,” Rozen writes. “Awareness to the impact of change on the individual, team and organization level, as well as an understanding of how our mind reacts to change, reward and a sense of perceived value, is critical for successful engagement through change, from vision to transformation and success.”

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