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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This are all very good advices: listen, trust, make people comfortable to take interpersonal risk, do not leave people behind and keep them involved, be transparent and open, be courageous and optimistic, be relevant and consider that there are different personalities our there, different needs and ways of processing/dealing with the change.

I feel that reflecting on a way we take care of our kids might be inspiring - in context of being change champion. When kids learn (change) we give them time to perceive and process this new situation and requirements. Usually, we are willing to accept their feelings and are patient enough to wait for new skills to appear. We encourage them and support in the process. We can be also flexible depending on the context ("we have no time, so I'll put your shoes on this time").

Of course, most adults expect to treat the seriously. I strongly feel however that - generally speaking - the underling emotional mechanisms are very similar. I've learnt more about change from my daughter, than from any professional training.

That's a great point Lucasz. I agree that we could learn a lot from children and how they process and react to change. Ive also learned a lot from my daughter about how I react to change and how I can change my behaviour to be more positive.

@Emily: Nice article, and many of the comments are useful as well. One clear priority has not yet been mentioned. In order to enroll stakeholders in the change itself, it is imperative to involve them in the design and implementation of the project as early as possible. With diverse perspectives and a sense of inclusion, the type of project or program ownership needed to be successful can be accomplished. Instead of just dropping the change in people's lap, let them be part of it. When they own it, they become the change they wish to see in the world--as Gandhi wisely said.

Thank you for the post. Great post. There is lots of evidence that communication is one of our key functions, but it is hard to do effectively unless we understand our audience needs. There is lots of variation in the amount of detail people want, the format they want, the frequency they want. We sometimes create one size fits no one communication plans and don't really give people what they want or need to be fully engaged in our projects. What are some tips that people have for communicating effectively without it becoming overwhelming to the project manager?

@Ruth - you're completely right! it's about knowing the audience, their needs (even if they don't know it themselves) and creating an effective comms policy and planning.

My main tip is to be strategic in your communication planning. When does it make the most sense to report/communicate? What information do they really want to receive? I've seen some Project Managers trying to do everything, at the same time and it just doesnt work. It makes more sense to look critically at the message you're trying to deliver and then go from there.

@Robert: Thank you! You're right that including stakeholders early on, is vital to ensuring a successful project and owning the solution

quite an interesting take on change agency.

@Emily Thank you for this post, great as always!

I see 2 and 3 as interrelated. In my organization, we're performing portfolio-level project planning for the first time. I've been asked to highlight projects on an organization intranet with individual posts. These are IT projects, so communication on why the project deliverables matter is essential and needs to be clear - what are the wins for the entire staff? Several writers have/will be contributing to this effort.

The screensaver idea is an interesting one.

Great article and great comments from various experts.

Great article Emily. Thank you for sharing. ""Be the change you want to see in the world" - Ghandi" summarises it all. To be a champion of change, one needs to walk the talk and be the example to lead the change. Establishing trust by demonstrating how ethical values such as responsibility, respect, honesty and fairness are embedded in every day's behaviours and decisions. Understanding the environment, the culture and the influences/influencers within the environment. Showing that you care is another one that earns trust.

Change is a part of life... One must continuously change or will perish...
Gandhi's quote is perfect for this article. These five points of suggestion grasp the key elements for you to work as a catalyst of change

Thanks for sharing

Be the change you want to see in the world. Thanks for the post

Good Information

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

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