Why even consider Change management?

You need your team to work in a new way because you are automating processes with new technology, or you have changed the roles and functions in your team but haven't thought through how that will change your day to day work. Not only that but you haven't thought yet about how your team works with other areas or departments. Now you face spending the next 3 months working out all of the details and getting back on your feet. How could this have been avoided? Through the discipline called Change Management.

In business the main question you ask when looking at introducing something new, is 'how soon can we get this in?'. A better question would be 'how long will it take to get to the end state we are pitching for?'. Another great question is 'what will the return on my investment be'?, even on projects that are mandated from the powers that be. Whether it be changing the way you do things, introducing new products, or modifying existing products with tightening profit margins and...

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The Change Process

Organisations are built on processes. Whether you are in service provision or consumer product provision, everything is a process. By following a process you achieve efficiency when the process is simple, streamlined and consistently applied.  Having a Change Framework or a standard change process in your organisation to support the change function in your organisation is important. Especially if you have Change contractors in your organisation. By achieving consistency in approach, stakeholders will know what to expect and what to ask for.

Change management and Project Management are both processes and frameworks that compliment each other. The Change process can be aligned to that of Project management. Following is an overview of the four stages of Change Management:

 

 

Stage 1: Planning

Just like in Projects, a Change strategy and approach needs to be worked through with key stakeholders in a planning phase alongside the project team. In this planning stage of...

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Discover how project management and change management 'fit' together

If you have worked on projects as a Change or Project Manager, you know this happens. Tensions run high when a Project Manager doesn't understand the role of a Change Manager and vice versa. In fact while recruiting Project Managers I ask whether they have worked with Change Managers before to assess the ability of the Project Manager in understanding what their role is. If tension does arise and if the Sponsor isn't sure who should do what, it doesn't help much either. Recently I wrote an article about the need for the PMO to also advocate for the Change discipline, as often the PMO may be asked for clarity by the Sponsor. So if the PMO doesn't know then everyone is flying blind.

Many stakeholders don't understand how Change management and Project management compliment and actually rely on each other. When both are employed well, the results you achieve are significant. The quality of project or program delivery is exceptional. However when tensions are high from a lack of...

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Sometimes it is about getting back to basics

Do you ever have those days? When there are a number of issues, too many chefs in the kitchen or the complexities of the project come to the fore and everyone has an opinion but no solutions are put on the table? That is when it is good to go back to structure, discipline and get back to basics.

Leadership is key

Overwhelm is something that is bound to crop up in large, complex projects. Panic can set in, whether it be from your stakeholders, sponsors or impacted groups. It takes a strong leader at those times to settle everything down. It is important to ask for help so you can then focus on getting back to basics.

What do I mean by back to basics?

1) Go back to 'process' to resolve issues:- Everything is a process. Decision making triages, change management, project management, issue resolution - all processes. Use these processes to triage, escalate and resolve issues. If you are the project or change manager, it isn't your role to decide it is your role to facilitate the process...

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So you have invested in leadership training, but how do you know if the investment has been worthwhile?

So you went on an offsite, or put your Managers through a leadership program. However, did you support the change by reviewing KPI's, discussing culture and how the program relates to the organisation culture? Have you rewarded (positive reinforcement) those Managers who implemented the techniques they learned in training?

If you are investing in your leaders but haven't wrapped the training program up in a change program, then you are investing in individuals not the organisation. Success can't be measured simply through attendance and satisfaction with the training itself.

Every individual learns differently

There will always be some individuals who can connect training with their real world practices but many (and through no fault of their own) slip back into old habits as they are simply easier when it comes to different leadership techniques. After all, that comfort zone is SO MUCH EASIER.  An ideal scenario would be if 7 out of 10 leaders who attend training implement new...

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3 ways to create clarity in your Program

So you have been given a mandate - you have been asked to go ahead and implement a new strategic policy or process and have been provided with an outline. The expectation is for you to go out into the world and deliver the goods. Well it isn't that easy but it is where most projects start. A background paper and some funding.

A lot of projects or programs I start on are floundering for direction. This is just evidence that they aren't adequately scoped. There is no shared understanding of what is to be delivered and if there is a team, they are often confused as they have questions that are unanswered.

That is where I step in and put my 30/60/90 day plans into play. The first 30 days is about the right program set up. Here are my top 3 tips for creating clarity around a project or program:

1) Listen and ask the logical questions: I am the biggest fan of '7 Habits of highly effective people' by Steven Covey, especially the habit of  'Seek first to understand then to be...

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Is Change a dirty word in your organisation?

Change can become a dirty word in your organisation if it isn't handled well.  Just like 'he who shall not be named' people hesitate to talk about the changes taking place from fear of resistance. Even worse is when continual change is forced through without consultation and staff disengage as a result.

Let's face it, most humans (even change managers who are humans too) initially don't like changes taking place that are out of their control. We all react differently to change depending on what it is, and whether it means we lose something or we gain something.

However if change is continually poorly managed or not managed well at all, the process of engaging employees and creating a positive environment that promotes growth and inclusivity won't exist.  Which will create a world of perpetual discomfort which will either have employees underperform or leave.  So when 'change' becomes a dirty word in your organisation, how do you redirect the story and so it has a...

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3 Tips for running a workshop that 'Wow's'

When you run workshops there is a definite line between failure and success. Your reputation and the piece of work you are looking to have as a focus of your workshop will sink or swim as a result of how well you plan, run and follow up on the workshop itself. To move your workshop into the stratosphere though, explore these three areas:

1) know your audience: I know it sounds really basic but many people underestimate how powerful this can be. Yes, it is good that you are focused on what you want to achieve from holding the workshop but you also need to know who is coming. For two reasons, one is to make sure you get the right people in the room (enthusiasm can plummet when people realise there aren't the subject matter experts or decision makers in the room), but walls so you can tailor the workshop to make the most of everyone's time. Everyone brings with them their dynamics that occur outside the room, so depending on who your audience is you can manage group dynamics. When...

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Changing your structure? You need to focus on your organisation's culture...

Often HR programs are focused on organisation design and implementing that design with cursory review of the organisations values. Structures changes will mean nothing if the organisation's culture isn't discussed as a pre-cursor to those changes.

Leaders are simply expected to lead with briefing packs and teams are expected to fall into line throughout the process. Employee disgruntlement during this time is put down to an emotional reaction to the 'uncertainty' of a situation, and their opinions and feedback are often undervalued or ignored. As this happens the  productivity and staff engagement declines rapidly. It then takes another 6 -12 months to get back to the basic level of engagement and even longer to rebuild trust once the restructure is complete. Not many organisations can afford to take that hit.

However recently on a change program I led,  we developed a comprehensive change and culture strategy to support the entire end to end process. Senior leaders were...

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If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me this I would be rich - very rich

'Can you just put together a comms plan? That's what change is right?' yep every time. The first thing that is requested and the last thing a Change specialist wants to hear. A change specialist is more than a communications person, but that seems to be the only thing expected. So if you have just hired a Change Manager, here is a quick overview of what they will deliver.

Change activities vary depending on who is impacted, how they are impacted and the culture of an organisation. So a Change Manager will be responsible for conducting an impact assessment - first at a high level based on the high level overview of the change. They will be asking 'why are we doing this?' not to challenge but to elicit messages about the 'why' they can put together. They will also be assessing how to measure the change.

Once the details are known they will deep dive and conduct a detailed impact assessment so they can put together a comprehensive Change and communications plan so the impacted...

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When the Change overview is ready we will send it out. If you want to know the basics of change, then look no further.