I want you to do this quick exercise that I often do with clients during change management workshops. This is purely testing your change management capability.
Grab a pen. Sign your name. Now, put the pen in your other (least dominant) hand and sign your name again. How did that go? For most people, the second signature will be messy. Phrases I usually hear in workshops or meetings are “I am hopeless” or “I can’t do it”.
You know how to sign your name so what happened? The issue is that you have the knowledge but, with your least dominant hand, you may not yet have the ability to sign your name.
What would happen if you continued to practice signing your name with that hand? Yes, you would get better. Your ability to perform the task will improve. This is the same for any skill and it is certainly the case for change management. Often I see organisations recruit a newly qualified change management practitioner or they appoint a staff member to a change management role and get them to do a “course”. Then they leave that person to it.
Building Change Management Capability
Change management capability takes time to develop for your change manager and the organisation. Ongoing mentoring and support can be a very effective and efficient way to build capability.
But there is also a practical way to test and build change management capability. For change managers and organisations, particularly those starting out, it is useful to see implementing change management as a change management project itself.
A framework or commitment to change management often isn’t enough. You need a process and tools to build change capability. That includes developing a strategy and plans for communication, resistance management, training, coaching and sponsorship. Ideally, you want to do this before, or at least at the same time as, you look at other change management projects. This is a much more sustainable and effective approach.
The Agile Change Solutions Tailored Approach
I always tailor any change management strategy to the organisation in question but key elements include:
- establishing executive sponsorship;
- assessing the current organisational environment;
- developing customised plans for execution;
- bringing line managers and employees on board;
- embedding a model for individual change;
- executing the change management plan and
- establishing a shared language and change culture.
An initial workshop is often beneficial to kick off a strategy. This helps to raise awareness of change management and its benefits, fosters buy-in and identifies roadblocks to the implementation of change management
The additional benefit of “managing change management” is that you create a strategy and plan templates as well as a methodology and approach for future change management projects.
What to learn more?
This article was first published by Fairfax Media 29th July, 2019