Contrary to what some might think, the task of implementing change does not lie solely with the change manager, or anyone else for that matter. Yet, all too often, the responsibility for the tasks involved is assumed and not clearly defined. This lack of role clarity leads to confusion and blame, and important jobs go undone. Defining accountability for the many moving parts of change is a necessary – and continual – step in the change process.
So then, whose job is change? Consider which of these parties would ideally be actively involved in implementing your change initiative:
- Change manager
- Members of the change management team
- Project manager (if different)
- Members of the project team
- The sponsor
- HR business partners (or other embedded support partners)
- Department managers of affected areas
- People working in affected areas
- External consultant(s)
And then, work together to assign responsibility for the following change tasks. Keep in mind if responsibility lies with more than one person or group, then it will be important to clarify the relationship as well.
Clarify who will:
- Develop the case for change
- Dream up and define the vision of the future
- Determine the impact the change will have on this and other parts of the organization
- Design the final solution
- Develop the change management plan
- Be accountable for achieving results
- Decide who goes first
- Have the final say in contentious decisions
- Garner support for change
- Be the main contact
- Prepare for and facilitate meetings
- Write, edit, and distribute communication
- Find (or create) and document success stories
- Identify skills and knowledge gaps, develop and conduct training
- Develop incentives, gamification, or other engagement programs
- Assess and develop change capability within the organization
- Approve funds at various levels of expense
- Decide on any software or vendors to be used
- Manage any external consultants
- Identify and manage risks
- Engage others in the change process
- Set deadlines and goals
- Measure and track progress
- Provide feedback to reinforce or correct behaviors
- Collect and respond to feedback from the organization
- Hold others accountable for their commitments
- Anticipate resistance and find ways to reduce it
- Decide if/when someone needs to “get off the bus”
- Assess how the culture of the organization either supports or works against the change
- Determine how this change fits in with all the other projects that are happening
- Remove obstacles
- Decide what can be customized and what must be standardized
- Ensure alignment across the organization
- Declare when the transition is complete
- Make sure people don’t slide back to the old way of doing things
- Get the recognition when the project succeeds
- You call when you get stuck?
If any of these tasks have no name attached, it probably either won’t happen on its own, or multiple people will complete the task at odds with each other. Don’t let key jobs fall through the cracks because everyone thought someone else was going to do it, or because no one thought to do it at all.
If your name is on all of them, you’re 1) a control freak and 2) going to burn out and 3) creating unnecessary resistance. Share the responsibility with others, especially with those who will ultimately change the way they work.
If an external consultant is doing all or most of these things, then it’s likely the change will dissolve as soon as they leave, because no one in the organization has any ownership of the outcome.
It’s best to have balance. Push as much as you can to those who have the biggest impact on the change because they are the ones who will do the changing. Ensure that leaders and managers know their part and enable them to do it effectively. Consider which tasks are best handled by external consultants and which should be left to insiders. In fact, you might as well add “clarify and gain agreement on roles and responsibilities” to the top of the list!
What would you add to the task list? Please share below.