Project Management

How to Stay on the Tightrope of Change

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By Katie McConochie

If your project has delivered everything on time and to budget but you are not getting the ROI that you expect, or you are hearing chatter of discontent around the virtual water-cooler, you may have a problem with the “people side of change.”

I’m looking forward to presenting at the 2 June Virtual Experience event.  My session is entitled “The Tightrope of Change” because it’s so easy to lose your balance, miss your step and fall off into a deep canyon which can cause delay or increased resistance and cynicism from your stakeholders.   Even if you know what you want to deliver in your project, are you sure that the people impacted by the change are clear what “good will look like” when the project is finished?  And will they know what they are expected to do differently? Will they be competent and confident to embrace new ways of working?

I have brought together my years of change management experience – learning loads from what has not gone so well – into a number of steps which are crucial if you want people to be engaged, emotionally supported and invested as they transition through the change curve.   I use my Tightrope of Change model to illustrate how you can safely get to your project destination looking at each crucial step that helps balance project delivery with sustained change adoption. 

Based on these steps, I have defined eight golden rules which can help project managers not only deliver the tangible products from their project but provide a great check list for the people side of change.  To give you a flavor of my golden rules, here are two examples:

  1. Anticipate resistance to change. Some people love change and thrive on variety, whilst others (perhaps the majority of us) can be fearful of what change might mean for them.  Don’t ignore resistance – expect it and plan for it.
  2. Work with your key sponsor so that they look good and the project is a success. Help them “walk the talk” and support not only the project team but the people who will be expected to work differently when the project has long since been completed.  They have a vital role in communicating the right messages in the right way.

Putting a dollar value on change management can be hard.  If your project sponsor or CFO thinks change management is vague, woolly and unnecessary (surely people just need to “get on with it”?), my cost calculator can provide a really useful starting point to highlight the hidden costs if a project slips or if the resources needed to keep everyone on that tightrope of change are not factored into the project plan. 

I will also share a cost calculator which can help you – the project manager or change lead -  help your sponsors and finance directors understand the hidden costs of under-investing in the people side of change. This interactive tool allows you to show the financial impacts of project slippage or if the eight golden rules have not been applied particularly well.

Interested in using these golden roles to create an effective people change plan and using the cost calculator to ensure that your sponsor understands the true value (with a dollar sign attached) of the people side of change? Join me on 2 June for the Virtual Experience Series 2021 when I will be responding live to your questions during my session, The Tightrope of Change.

Posted by Katie Mcconochie on: May 17, 2021 12:30 PM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Dear Katie
It will definitely be a fantastic workshop.
I am curious about how to measure, an posteriori, an effect that has an immediate impact.
In other words, a change project has associated costs. After the investment in the change has been made, the benefit in $ can only be measured afterwards ... and the paper accepts everything

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