Effect Change, Drive Business

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Categories: Change Management


More times than not, change leads to new competitive environments -- and project managers who are able to adapt quickly tend to survive and capitalize. In such an environment, one of the most important tools a project manager has is the ability to effect change to drive an organization's competitive advantage, its ultimate goal. However, as I discussed in my previous blog post, change is always met with resistance and uncertainty. 

Not only do project managers have to deal with resistance to change from team members, but they must also plan for and overcome general pitfalls of implementing that change. To do so, consider incorporating better change methods into your daily practice. Below is a list of 10 design principles -- culled from a list created by Booz Allen Hamilton consulting principals, which I expand on with personal experience -- that should be part of our overall change plans efforts: 

  1. Address the "human side" systematically. Engage employees early in the planning phases. Proactively manage suggestions and concerns based on their field of expertise.
  2. Start at the top. Gaining executive buy-in to ensure the likelihood of success.
  3. Involve every layer. If the change affects the entire organization, then consider identifying managers at each layer to be responsible for the change management plan. 
  4. Make the formal case. Establish a business case with defined goals that articulate the rationale behind the change and the benefits it will deliver to stakeholders. This could be a renewed organization mission or vision statements.
  5. Create ownership. Motivate employees to take ownership of the change and leverage the organization's rewards and recognition system to reinforce those team member commitments.
  6. Communicate the message. Teams need to understand how to be successful in driving change. Establish a formal plan to deliver that message through a communication matrix that includes methods such as town halls, videos, team meetings and informal gatherings. 
  7. Assess the cultural landscape. Assess the organization's values, beliefs and attitudes to obtain the baseline culture. Then contrast the baseline against implications of a new, post-change culture to determine what to communicate to stakeholders as the value of the organization's new culture.
  8. Address culture explicitly. Provide employees the expectations of the new culture, and identify ways they can help it flourish. Reinforce those who embrace the new culture by using the organization's rewards and recognition system. 
  9. Prepare for the unexpected. There may be a new set of stakeholders not originally considered during the development of the change plan. Remain flexible to integrate their engagement, should it be warranted.
  10. Speak to the individual. Identify an individual's emotional situation and prepare to understand their reaction to change. Then guide them to adapt to new ways of working.
What change methods do you use to provide your organization with a competitive advantage? 

PMI's new title, Managing Change in Organizations: A Practice Guide,  is currently available for free download for a limited time only. It contains knowledge to help project and program managers identify change elements and account for them in their project/program plans, as well as create clear and powerful strategies to guide organizational development. Visit PMI.org for more on change management.

Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: August 01, 2013 09:46 AM | Permalink

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