Project Management

Are you a Champion of Change? What can you do to be one?

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Are you a champion of change? Do you set a good example to your team, your colleagues and your company for how change should be managed? During the recent PMI conference, I've been learning more about what i can do to become a champion of change and using what I've learnt at the conference to benefit me and my projects. There was a lot of great presentations and keynotes and for me, it really motivated my desire to push myself to become a better change advocate and "Change-seller". 

During this blog post, I'll give you some ideas for what you can do to become a champion of change and what you can do to make a difference within your own "world" but I'd also like to start a discussion in the chat about what YOU do already to make change work in your projects? What helps makes you unique?

Here's some of my suggestions:

1) Be active, open and transparent

Change is scary and frightening for most people. But not for you! You thrive on change and to do this, you are active about communicating the change and being transparent about what's going on. This has to happen with everyone you see in your working day to be successful!

2) Show the value

With any sort of change management, you're on a PR selling mission. One way to promote the change is to show the value to the interested parties. Make it relevant to them and relevant to what they need to know and it'll help you get the message across. Perhaps ask yourself the question: "What's in it for them?" and "Why is this important for them?". This always helps me think about how I can best show them the value.

3) Communicate, communicate, communicate! 

One thing that you can't do enough of is communicate. Communicate in an effective manner, in the right ways (for your industry, company) and look at the best way of delivering your message. Communication doesn't just need to be verbal! A recent idea was to communicate the upcoming project go live over the company screensavers. So that every time you shut your PC or were idle, you'd get a visual showing you the Go Live date and some important graphic information. It's given us an additional way of communicating to people and something that they'll see several times in their day. If you can make it eye catching, all the better!

4) "Be the change you want to see in the world" - Ghandi. 

This is true for many areas of your life and especially when it comes to projects! If you're stalling, being negative, talking negatively then it'll transfer to your team and that's not worth it! 

5) Look at what you can do differently

Try different things, different strategies to see if your team/ organisation reacts to that more positively. When I'm coaching Project Managers I say: There is more than one way to get from A to B, if the first way doesn't work, then try another way". Sometimes to see what could be done, you need to think outside of the box for what might work with your team. This could be different visuals, broadcasting in different ways, using other media (instead of powerpoint slides, use video).


Being a champion of change is something all of us can strive to achieve and strive to accomplish. How do you make yourself a champion of change? Let's connect and discuss more. 

Posted by Emily Luijbregts on: October 21, 2018 01:30 PM | Permalink

Comments (33)

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I do consider myself a champion and promoter for change. Change is good !

Thanks for replying Rami! What would your top tip be for being a champion of change? What works for you?

Find the best in the people you work with. Everyone has potential and skills but on different levels - You can achieve change if you help people see the best in them and that they can do and will do.

This can be a long subject for discussion but I tried to put it in a simplified brief sentence - Hope it makes sense Emily.

@Emily - great advice on how to be a 'champion of change'. We also need to be leaders who demonstrate empathy for the stakeholders/users who are experiencing the changes.

Very interesting, thanks for sharing

So much value can come from helping the stakeholder(s) navigate the path of change. It is not simply showing the way and explaining. Change is a journey. Amazing what can be accomplished when you lead a thought process that enables them to see from a different perspective.

Very good, I fully agree with you, thanks for sharing, we must make the change

Thanks for sharing Emily, I especially like the last tip, do things differently. I like to connect practices across industries and get inspired, to go for out of the box thinking. It helped me so many times to achieve changes. And then comes the communication part to get support for the innovative approach.
I would perhaps add one point on the list - Listen. To deliver a change you must put things in movement and to do so you need to understand who or what is slowing the change down. Listening to people’s worries is a way how to uncover motivations to stop or slow down the change and helps you to find strategies how to overcome that.

@Andrew - I really like that idea of taking them on a "change journey". I think that a lot of people take for granted that change is a constant thing to communicate about.

@Lenka - Another really valuable addition. Listening is one of the most important and underrated skills of a Project Manager!

Thanks for sharing this nice succinct take on champion of change. I feel staying objective and broadening horizon on organizational environments are keys to organizational change and for individual as well.

@Pang: how do you do that? Do you have any hints? Or suggestions for what others could try? How do you broaden your horizons? Reading books? Videos etc.

Change is always acceptable as long as it is properly communicated.

@Emily: I haven’t seen any response from you with regards to what you think of the change strategy I’ve mentioned. Your opinion as an expert definitely will add value.

Dear Rami - My apologies! I agree that you need to find the best in the people that you work with, but you also need to be realistic and not 'sugar coat' things too much. This could be in many different ways. I like to approach my team members to ask them where they want to be/develop and then see if I can support that development as this also gets them 'bought in' and aligned with the change.

Hi Emily, no need for apologies. Of course no sugar coating especialyl in construction as it won't work at all and sugar caoting in general will spoil people and won't be of any added value.

Seeign the best in people means knowing what their capabilities and skills are, putting them in the right place and developing them as needed in areas where you believe they will excel so more or less in line with what you've said in the last two lines.

I agree Rami! I think some Project Manager's fear developing good team members as they are so good in their role that they know that they can be trusted to complete it.

Most of us Agile enthusiasts love change, or at least welcome it.

Trust is the key component to make others comfortable with any change. It reduces uncertainty and fear, about the outcome and the way how to get there. Only with trust you will be able to engage with others.
So a change champion must establish trust, otherwise the change will fail.

The word champion is from old French and roughly translates to "last warrior standing." One becomes a champion by choice, not by assignment.

A champion is one who shows courage.

Champions are frequently confused with sponsors, where the Latin root of the word is the same as the root for spouse ("one who provides for another").

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