How to introduce change without compromising on performance - part 1

What would happen to a runner of the 110m hurdles who, if between one hurdle and the next had an official run out and move the next hurdle just that little shorter?

I am going to assume that the athlete would surely stumble with their rhythm being interrupted, probably fall and have to get back up. After dusting themselves off they would have to start again to try and get into a rhythm. That is what it is like in a business if a change is introduced suddenly and poorly.

So what if the athlete was told beforehand of the change at the eight hurdle, and could plan and practice for him or herself in advance, knowing when the change would take place and what impact it would have on his/her stride. Couldn't they then  could work with their coaches (leaders) on how to adapt and still finish the race, hopefully in the top three? 

That is the whole focus and intention of change management and of strong change leadership. A combination of both can decrease the performance 'gap'...

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The only thing to focus on to become a great change leader

The answer is so simple it is often never simply stated. The key to better change leadership is YOU. How YOU respond to change, how YOU communicate change, how YOU reinforce change when your staff resist, how YOU can feel easy in a world of uneasiness when major change is afoot and consistent.

Know thyself

The ancient Greeks have been attributed to this saying. The more you know yourself, the easier it is to grow into being a better leader in general and change leader. The more you will be able to communicate authentically and who doesn't like that in their Manager or leader?

The power of emotional regulation

If you communicate confidently and consistently, it makes you a better change leader. This takes emotional regulation to maintain consistency, especially if you have staff who don't deal with change well. Being able to be consistent and supportive takes emotional regulation from you as an individual so you aren't reacting to resistance or even worse being too emotive when...

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5 key questions to ask to assess the impacts of a change

When introducing a change you need to assess the impacts to be able to respond with the appropriate change approach to be able to support all impacted stakeholders in an effective way.

Some project teams and managers will down play the impacts that a change has on a team. When asked 'so is this a big change' the response may be 'it isn't much of a change' and then as you unpack the impact you realise that the change is bigger than most thought. The driver often to down playing the change is the perceived inconvenience or the amount of perceived effort there will be in managing the change, however what is undermined by downplaying the effect of the change is the project or program's ability to effectively manage the change for optimal results.

The top 5 to ask

So my initial questioning is really to get an idea of the impacts of the change. And here are my top 5:

1) Who is impacted by this change?

2) What products or processes need to be modified as a result of this change?

3) What...

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The fear that comes with Change leadership

So you are a leader - and your team is about to experience a negative change that is going to impact them. You know about it and you also know that you have some people in your team who may not react so well.

In fact you know that they will challenge the change, whinge and be disruptive.. so where does that leave your stress levels? Change always brings with it different degrees of stress. To both workers and leaders. When you need to lead your team through a negative change, as the leader it can be more stressful for you than anyone else, not that you can ever say that to your team.  

What are the choices you have?

 

Yes, know that you always have a choice..

Sure on any given day, just give in to change resistance. But when you 'give in' and crumble in the face of resistance from your team, just know that you are creating inconsistency and this has everything quite frankly start falling apart at the seams when it comes to change. Remember this is simply a fact and I have...

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Measuring change success

I shift in my seat whenever someone says 'that can't be measured' when talking about change management. I come from the school of 'everything is measurable' and I have yet to work on a project or program that I haven't put measures around so we could learn about what worked and what could have been done better.

Why are measures important?

Every time you bring a change into an organisation it is an opportunity to learn and improve. Organisations cannot afford to be stagnant in how they approach change, and the more organisations adopt a growth mindset the more competitive they will become.

Here are some key ways to measure change:

Enquiries and support needed for impacted 'end users' or clients to be able to adopt the change. For example calls to a Help Desk or Call Centre function. This helps you assess how effective training was, how effective the end solution was and how well the communication or campaign was received.

Typically these areas have a code they can apply to your...

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The top 3 things to do when starting in a project as a change manager

When you are joining a project there are three priority things to do:

1) Don't assume that the project manager knows what a Change Manager actually does. Everyone knows that assuming anything makes an 'ass' out of 'me' and 'u', so be sure to ask the question of the project manager as to whether they have worked with a Change manager before. This will help you to understand their perspective and possibly past experiences - positive or negative when working with other Change Managers. One of the biggest negative gripes about Change Managers is that they don't 'do' anything. Unfair to say the least but it is also pointless being a Change Manager who decides to teach Change theory to a project manager who doesn't want to listen. You earn trust and respect by doing, delivering, listening and learning. So if that is the case it you will need to press the 'reset' button with the project manager, and agree on roles and responsibilities.

2) Meet with the Project sponsor to understand their...

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The role of a Change Sponsor

What is the level of understanding of Change Sponsorship in your organisation? Chances are, if your organisation is not really familiar with Change, then Change Sponsors may not be really understanding their role and why it exists.

Usually Change Sponsorship aligns with the leadership hierarchy in an organisation. This is because there isn't normally an incentive as as an employee to listen to anyone other than their direct line manager. The only time this doesn't ring true is if the culture of an organisation is so collaborative that all leaders are seen as equal in voice.  In organisations of such high emotional intelligence, the leadership team will work together to create an aligned co-hort of enthusiasm or energy regarding the change. However, these are generally exceptions, not the rule.

Change Sponsorship - not an easy gig.

The role of a Change Sponsor for a project and Change leaders is to create enthusiasm regarding the change. Generating the awareness and the...

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The learning curve of a Change Manager

One of the common reasons I hear from new Change Managers or Change Analysts is that they wanted to become a Change specialist because they care about people. "I am a people person so I thought I would become a Change Manager". And I say bravo to those who are self-aware and caring, and in the same breath I say you are about to venture into a very rewarding but at times challenging career path.

But I wasn't always a Change Manager. In fact 'Change Management' didn't exist when I graduated from University in my early 20's in Marketing. And I was lucky in my first role in an Insurance company, as I learned the ropes from a great Marketing/Communications Manager - shout out to Dawn! While I started in Marketing, I began to understand that campaign work was similar to project management (which was just developing as a discipline) and you needed to be structured as well as be able to be creative.

Some years on and working in Marketing but on projects such as events, launches and in...

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Why role clarity creates momentum in projects and confusion creates delays

We were weeks away from 'Go Live'. The project plan was being walked through, and when it came to engaging the business on testing -'So how are we going with engaging the business?', the program manager asks. Heads turn from side to side, seeking the positive response that will put everyone at ease - an awkward silence ensues. 

You may question how it is that there would be role confusion in a project, when a team of experienced staff come together to deliver a project - and yet it still happens! The end result is a decrease in quality, time delays, conflict within the team and that ultimate pointing of fingers when the Sponsor asks - 'why wasn't that completed by now?'.

Tasks being incomplete, or handovers not taking place, it all comes down to the following common causes:

- The project manager (PM) assumes everyone knows their role. Even though you have a team of experienced professionals they bring with them their own way of working. To avoid any conflict, it is worth...

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What is Change Management all about?

 

Learn why Change Management is critical for any business undergoing change. While many people will use the term 'Change Management', the discipline still remains a mystery to most people. Watch this 20 minute video and you will be stepped through Change Management, why it exists today and the change process itself. 

If you are keen to learn more about Change Management, sign up for our newsletter or become a Member of My Virtual Change Manager to access skill sessions and to learn all about Change Management and Change Leadership.

 

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