#StandApart: Jacquie Loch, VP & Group Publisher, TC Media

“My favourite thing is a blank page.”

For having change as the common denominator in her professional life, Jacquie Loch is a woman of certainty. She knows what she’s been through and why – and she knows how to put uncertainty on a leash and tame it (and make it shake a paw).

Jacquie Loch is VP & Group Publisher at TC Media and is Publisher of a large portfolio of consumer magazine brands that includes Canadian Living, ELLE Canada, Style at Home and The Hockey News. She had built a career in the publishing industry, although she may not see things that way. “I’m in the media and communications business. I am in publishing but publishing is a verb – it’s not a media platform. I’m in content creation and storytelling that engages audiences.”  With an industry based on transitions and fluidity, Jacquie mirrors the career she has chosen. She is a professional nomad – working out of her purse and working on a day-to-day regimen that has “no normal”.

The first time change stepped on Jacquie’s toes, it was a shift in the industry. While her peers had chosen to forgo pursue Business school or Computer Science degrees, Jacquie turned her heels in the opposite direction and chose an art school education at The Ontario College of Art (now OCAD) and a final post-grad year spent in Florence. “An incredible thing that happened over my career is when the industry started valuing creative thinking and lateral thinking. I just happened to crest in that space when all of a sudden what was perceived in the 80’s as a wacky skill set, became the skill set.” Things turned in her favour.

After graduation, her time spent at The Financial Post moulded her to be, well, mouldable. She encountered firsthand the “nimbleness” required to be a part of the in-flux, transitioning media industry. “Changes in business would happen, but guess what keeps happening? The news. You can’t stop publishing. You’re still manufacturing but you have to manage yourself through the change in.”

That parallel of sitting side-by-side with change has led Jacquie to the forefront of the publishing and media revolution. Her 25 years in the media world has lead her from print publication papers based on type setting through to the invention of the internet and to our current state of mobile readership and consumption. She has learned to “roll with change and not roll over with change.”

Based on her years of experience in industry, career, and team change, here’s 4 tips for leaders on how to manage a team through change:

1.       Be Transparent

“[Be] as transparent as you can possibly be. It’s not just saying the words, it’s acting the words. Be a part of the change with everybody and focus on transparency and communication. It’s actually being there, it’s being consistent, and frankly it’s about embracing the change.”

2.       The Human Factor

“You can have the world’s best plan laid out, military-operations style…but the toughest part and the trickiest part is the human factor. It’s going back and getting the people. It’s not just about selling them on the change but it’s about being on the journey with them… Some people are quick to adapt to [change], some people are slow, you have to go back and get others because it all means different things to them at different times.

The people factor. That’s the key. That can either accelerate the change or completely stop it. And people deal with change in different ways. Some people drive, some people love it, I mean I live for it. But there’s some people who literally get catatonic and stop. Because all of a sudden the platform they’ve worked on has been ripped out from underneath them. So it’s about how you manage people through that and keep them focused on what it is they have to do… Stop and back-up. Investing the time and spending the time with the team during change is important.  ”

3.       Keep Perspective

“I keep the team very brand and project focused. Because you would lose your mind if you stopped to think about the universe. It’s that thing of ‘focus on the things you can control.’

The other piece of change that I tell myself is it’s an absolute opportunity. Some people approach it with the Eeyore approach, where the glass is half empty. But every time I’ve gone through change I’ve viewed it as opportunity – because doors open up, it’s an opportunity to shine, to be positioned for the next phase. My advice to anybody going through change is stay high profile, ramp up what you do and be great at it, so that you’re positioned wherever the change lands.”

4.       The Emotional Quotient

“Be sensitive to how different people are processing and dealing with things. To some people, change is a death. The keys are repeating your message, being there, communicating and leadership. It’s that emotional quotient aspect. Another thing I’ve learned is that you cannot talk AT people. You can’t just tell them to do something. You’re talking AT them, not with them.