Leading Change by Putting People First

Our course is built around Jack’s principle that people are the most important part of any organization.

As a current or aspiring HR professional, it’s reasonable to assume you are in favor of HR having a leadership role in major change initiatives. However, history shows that HR departments have not often led change in organizations. The question of whether that can or should change is something we will explore throughout this course. To get us started, share your thoughts and experiences on the following:

  • How do you define a “people first” approach to change leadership?
  • What do you think HR’s role should be in leading change? Think about the attitudes and skills within HR departments you are familiar with, as well as the real and perceived value of HR as a change driver in the rest of the organization.
  • Examine the role of HR in your current organization. How does it align with your definition of “people first” change leadership?

Include examples from the readings in this and/or previous JWMI courses, as well as your own experiences, to support your responses.

This week only, post your initial response by Friday, midnight of your time zone, and reply to at least 2 of your classmates’ initial posts by Sunday, midnight of your time zone.​​

1st response


Hello Professor Bodam and Classmates,

  • My name is Paula L Johnson-Hill, I am a graduate of Strayer University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. When I decided to go for my master’s degree, I felt that the JWMI master’s program would provide me with key knowledge on how to grow my leadership skills in ministry. When I first started my MBA program in the winter of 2019 I was driving for Uber while working as an independent life insurance agent. In May of 2019 I registered my outreach ministry (Higher Praise Impact) and in the summer of the same year we did feed some of the homeless people within our county. Afterward, I dragged my heals on moving forward then Covid happened. Just before the pandemic shutdown I joined a different group of agents and hoped to use the revenue to fund some of the programs for Higher Praise Impact. However, I struggled to make appointments because of the shutdown. Once the fall of 2020 rolled around there were some non-covid related health challenges with my dad that needed to be addressed and I needed to be available to help him. Then I ran myself down and I began suffering some health challenges of my own. However, I did not give up. During the past few months, I made up my mind to focus on ministry. This means I am working to complete the revision of my two books and publishing the spiritual workshop that I put together. I will be having a board meeting soon to discuss recent changes and to select one of the programs that we can all agree will give us the best start. Everything I do going forward must be about ministry (outreach). I have seen and heard about so many people suffering from one thing or another over this past year and the ministry cannot help if programs are not in place. I have two children; my son is the oldest with his job on hold due to pandemic and my daughter is in her second year of college. I am proud of both my children and I pray that eventually they will join me in my ministry work in the future.
  • A “people first” approach to change leadership is to demonstrate company values to employees. If a company claims that people come first than employees should expect leadership to provide honest feedback, recognize employees hard work, ensure employee voices are heard and work with employees to make them successful. When employees are successful, leadership is successful, and when leadership is successful the company is successful.
  • The role of HR leading change should be creating a new culture along with each department manager. Once the change initiatives have been created and agreed upon HR leaders and department managers can discuss how to best implement the change initiatives. HR leaders should have a meeting with each department to have an open discussion about the new change initiatives and the expectations to meet those new initiatives.
  • Although I do not currently work for an employer, I am in perfect position to align a “people first” culture in my ministry. It is necessary for an outreach ministry to implement a people first culture because we will be dealing with individuals and families with various social issues, and they must feel safe coming to us for help. Therefore, we must first set the example by demonstrating putting people first among ourselves and when people see that we demonstrate these values among ourselves they can feel assured that they will be treated the same.



JWI 566 Week #1 Lecture notes

2nd response


Hello Class and Professor,

I am Vera Vankline, and I reside in New Jersey. I am married with two children, and I am eager to obtain my MBA to further my HR career and provide a better life for my family.

My current role is as a Coordinator of Program. I oversee the onboarding, hiring, training, and recruitment for my region. I enjoy what I do, so I am pursuing this degree to land a role within the Human Resources department and a better opportunity.

  • How do you define a “people first” approach to change leadership?

It has been a known fact that you are likely to retain staff if you put employees first.

The “People First” approach would be treating people the way you would like to be treated, being Candid and purposeful.

  • What do you think HR’s role should be in leading change? Think about the attitudes and skills within HR departments you are familiar with, as well as the real and perceived value of HR as a change driver in the rest of the organization.

The HR role should lead by example and should demonstrate consistency. Leaders need to understand the forces that undermine change, or they will continue to repeat the same mistakes (1). Being consistent will help to alleviate errors within HR.

  • Examine the role of HR in your current organization. How does it align with your definition of “people first” change leadership?

The role of HR in my current organizations serves as a support system. If I have any questions about hiring new staff, they are there to provide me with assistance. Our Human Resource department has a national office based out of Princeton. Any HR-related questions are very supportive and are aligned with what I would describe as “people first”.


1. JWI 556 Leading Change by Putting People First Week One Lecture Notes

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