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5 Corporate ‘Must-Do’s’ When Embarking On A Change Journey

5 Corporate ‘Must-Do’s’ When Embarking On A Change Journey

Select the right team and provide training, writes management expert Debbie Nicol.

Organisations seeking to introduce change management for the first time will most certainly enter a learning curve with many situations taking them out of their comfort zone. Adopting an idea that change management will simply mirror the application of project management techniques will not serve any change project well due to one simple difference.

The nature of project management is for the project manager to do and complete the technical or mechanical side of the project i.e. the design, development and implementation of resources and phases. Whereas the nature of a change manager’s responsibility is not to perform the activities, yet ensure the activities, when delivered by the relevant person at the appropriate time, will seek to engage all to adopt responsibility for achieving intended business results.

Change management has taken some time to integrate into industry as a profession yet now is rapidly extending into a corporate discipline, thanks to research organisations such as Prosci and Kotter International. From the Prosci research and lessons learned as seen in the 2012 Change Management Best Practices Report, there is clear data and advice for the one who is likely to face the brunt of managing the very first corporate change:

1. Ensure appropriate sponsor access

A change manager can’t yield success alone, as nothing or no-one can work in isolation during change. This manager will co-ordinate on behalf of many levels yet there is one person who will be key to the success of the project and that is the one who has the ability to provide both resources and support throughout the project whilst being active and visible at all times. A change manager will need constant and ready access to this person to:

• Dig deeper into the business reasons for the change
• Provide behind-the-scenes assistance regarding the role
• Experience consistency of commitment to the change
• See the future through the same executive-sponsor lens; spar ideas together
• Facilitate this person’s intervention before, during and after the change

2. Select the right team members

Change team members will have ‘all-eyes’ on them, watching to see if they walk the talk and truly believe in the change. For this, they need to carry a certain level of credibility with them from previous work achievements.

To select these team members, gauge:

• Attitude and approach to change
• Previous experience with change and work environment
• The breadth of functional representation across the collaborative team
• General passion for change

3. Ensure budget and resources for change management

Change takes time and effort, bringing opportunity for resource allocation. A budget will be required, yet take care that it is not ‘just any small amount’ taken from other areas, yet rather is both dedicated and justified according to the plan.

4. Develop an effective relationship with the project team

Depending on the structure and size of the organisation, there may be a project team that must be considered as a partner, providing expertise upon which the change team will depend. If it does not exist, be sure the technical and mechanical sides of the project are also catered for, with specific goals, outcomes, resources, times etc embedded into the change plan.

To keep the relationship dynamic, ensure project team members exist in the change structure and vice versa.

5. Provide change manager training

Training by nature is about bringing change to a behavior, and in the case of change management training for the change team, the desired outcome is a common language and approach that will be adopted across the organisation.

This commonality will thereby paint the big picture and way forward, helping to reinforce the fact that these people will not be successful by sitting in their chairs but rather enabling the process and the people. The enormity of responsibility will be evident post-training and clarity of possibility will be central to all.

Change management is a dedicated and structured process and set of tools, which when applied will facilitate people to work differently and take responsibility to assist benefit realisation. A newly-appointed change manager would be wise to deploy the above-listed five recommendations – after all they have brought success to many organisations in the recent past.

Debbie Nicol is the MD of ‘business en motion’ a Dubai-based business consultancy and learning organisation operating in the GCC and Asia.

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