Posts Tagged 'Change programs'

Newsletters make the world go round

In my meanderings through organisations of all shapes and sizes that are going through change, I hear many an Executive and consultant quote the stats about the importance of communication during change and how it’s one of the main factors that creates successful transformation. I’m encouraged by what seems to be an enthusiasm to focus on getting the communication right and then so often something happens and the focus shifts on to something else and there is a sense that communication is done. This often happens when the newsletter is up and running. It is this point when I want to cry, pull my hair out or hit my head against a brick wall.

Surely there is more to effective communication than the newsletter? Yet it often becomes the thing that takes a huge amount of time and energy and is used as the gauge for whether or not communication is happening. Think of the number of change projects that have a regular deliverable to tick off the list when the newsletter is done.

It seems to me that so often something significant is being missed. Whilst I totally endorse the use of newsletters/ emails/ intranet updates etc as a way to get information out about the change, this is only one layer of the communication required when an organisation is going through complex change.

I want to see more emphasis on:
– Interpersonal communication – give the manager the skills to communicate
– Using mechanisms to engage staff in the present and the future
– Stakeholder relationships

I know that there will be nods across the world to my statements here, from Executives, Project Managers and Communication professionals. We know what will really work so how come I’m left pulling my hair out when budgets are cut, the focus shifts and the effort required for fantastic dialogue dissipates?

Any thoughts on answers to this question, disagreements with my thinking or sharing of similar frustrations are welcome.

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Is change management here to stay?

Out in the market place change management is growing in acceptance and understanding. More and more organisations are putting it on the agenda, recruiting people in to change management roles. It is shifting in to the everyday vocabulary of HR, Project teams and Executives.

Well done to all those who have been influencing this thinking – change management is here, taking its place on the corporate agenda. This is great news for all of us involved, who are sure of its relevance and importance.

So how come – when so much is being said about change management, so many people are calling themselves change managers and so many organisations have change management on the agenda – how come I am feeling underwhelmed by what is being achieved?

What I see happening in organisations at the moment is great news, yet I feel that for change management to stay in the corporate agenda something needs to change.

Great inroads are being made in to introducing change methodologies in to organisations, and no reputable project manager would consider having a project plan without a change management stream. This is good, is it enough? I think the answer to this is NO.

It’s absolutely right to have the change management methodologies in place. To stay on the corporate agenda and for the change management star to shine, there needs to be more.

I think the emphasis needs to shift to managing change rather than change management. A subtle shift yet one that will make a difference. Doing this will:

1. Include discussions about managing change in all strategic business thinking and decisions. If you are asking the questions – how will we achieve our goals? You will be thinking about the way you will manage change.

2. Make it a priority for all leaders and managers. Managing change isn’t just the responsibility of the change manager, the project manager or HR. Leaders and managers should be asking themselves “What do I need to do today for my team to be productive and how do I manage the changes necessary for us to be productive in the future?”

Focusing on managing change rather than change management will also bring about a shift in the role of the change manager. Whilst using change methodologies should be there, they should be the tools the change manager uses to have relevant conversations. The change manager should become more of a facilitator, an influencer and part of the decision-making leadership team.

I see all this being particularly relevant when you are looking at cultural change. It lifts the change management emphasis beyond the mechanics to a more exciting and useful place in the business.

It’s up to all change managers to create and be part of this shift so managing change becomes a strategic leadership discussion. Good luck to everyone involved in creating this future.

This blog appeared as a guest blog for the Australian College of Change Management on 1st November 2011

Overcoming barriers to project success

Imagine the situation…….. You are given responsibility for a major project in the business and in your early discussions you are told about the deadlines that need to be achieved, the financial implications of success and the complexity of the project. Some members of the project team have already been appointed but your first task will be to recruit more people in to the team to meet your first deadline.

In other words, the pressure is on. Continue reading ‘Overcoming barriers to project success’

Finding gold at the end of the change program rainbow

Ever feel that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow always eludes you and the successful delivery of your change projects?

Great brains and many words have addressed the reasons why change programs fail…..yet it keeps on happening. Whilst new ideas come to light the analysis tends to bring up largely the same things, possibly appearing as a different colour or with a different texture.

So if the reasons for change programs not delivering tend to be the same is the pot of gold attainable?

I believe it is and think that the great brains are missing something important. I’ll start by apologising to all the great brains – rather than taking away from your thinking I’d like to add something.

When looking at the things you need to do to get your change program right, inevitably communicating with employees us on the list – create the vision and communicate for buy in are givens. There is more though. Continue reading ‘Finding gold at the end of the change program rainbow’