Do you wish implementing change was not such an uphill battle?

Do you wish implementing change was not such an uphill battle?

I’ve worked with scores of people who have undertaken the challenge of implementing change in their organizations, and many felt the same way. My job is usually to help make sense of the task ahead, or to help them get unstuck in the middle of it.

As a result, I’ve developed a set of tools and approaches which have been used to overcome what can seem like endless obstacles to the adoption of change. The resulting methodology has its foundation in proven change management practices, combined with the essential element of influence that propels your ability to affect change.

Join me September 28-30 in Atlanta for the Fundamentals of Change Management workshop, and I’ll share these tools, exercises, and insights with you! Attend this open enrollment class for an in-depth look at techniques you can use to drive change at work. While there, you’ll apply these exercises and tools to your own initiative, making progress while you learn and share with other attendees.

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Fundamentals of Change Management

How to Design and Influence Change at Work
Three-Day Workshop

Atlanta, Georgia
September 28-30, 2015

Registration:  $1,795

 

Course Agenda

fundamentals of change management brochure
Download brochure
Day 1 Intro to Change Management
Define Your Change
Assess Change Impact
Uncover and Reduce Resistance
Day 2 Assign Roles and Relationships
Gain Leadership Support
Engage and Enable Stakeholders
Ensure Accountability
Day 3 Pinpoint Communication
Apply Your Personal Influence
Put It All Together
Sustain the Change

Venue

Roam Dunwoody
1155 Mt Vernon Hwy NE
Suite 800 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, GA 30338
Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day.

Questions? Please contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

Interview: Get Invited to the Strategy Table

There’s nothing more frustrating than to be given a goal by senior leadership only to realize that had they consulted your team, they may have developed a much more meaningful goal or altered the strategy completely to optimize the outcome. How do internal teams that provide services to the lines of business (HR, Technology, Legal, Operations etc.) earn respect as a strategic partner and get invited to join planning conversations with executives much earlier in the process? This month’s guest, Paige Lillard, CEO and Principal of Beacon Consulting PBL, provides straightforward answers and the key to get your voice heard in strategy meetings.

Listen to the show here (30 minutes):

For Change Agents: How to Be Resilient in the Face of Endless Obstacles

Although I’ve long been the host of the Influence Change at Work radio show, yesterday, I had the privilege of being the guest on someone else’s show. Dr. Linda Hoopes of Resilience Alliance, who has twice been a guest on Enclaria Radio (How to Help Yourself and Others Adapt to Change and How to Avoid and Manage Change-Related Overload), invited me to her show to talk about the challenges change agents face, and how to be resilient in the face of seemingly endless obstacles when you find yourself in that role. You can listen to our interview here (30 minutes):

Whose Job Is It Anyway? A Checklist for Change Initiatives

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.

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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)
  • Other?

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.

Stakeholder Engagement – Inform, Influence or Involve?

A change in one area radiates out to the rest of the organization. Some groups are affected more than others. How do you determine whether you need to communicate or collaborate? Once you identify your stakeholders (see Three Main Impact Zones of Change), it’s time to determine if you need to inform, influence, or involve them.

Inform

For those whom the change has minimal impact, they may just need awareness that something new is happening. Rather than surprising them later, make an effort to inform them before the change happens. That way, they can gauge for themselves the impact the change will have on them. It may be more than you realize, in which case they can jump in to figure it out rather than stand in your way later.

Influence

Some individuals and groups don’t just need to know about the change, they will have to do something different to enable it to happen. You need some commitment from them to support the change. You need to influence a decision or behavior on their part. For example, you may need a department manager to provide some people to work on the project or funds from their budget to purchase software to support the endeavor.

Involve

For those who are closest to the change, it would be better to invite them to participate. Rather than trying to convince (influence) them to do something different or adopt a new way of doing things, you could ask for their help in designing the new way. Involve them in finding the solutions to agreed-upon problems. Empower them to work together to find the way. For example, invite the people who will use a new information system to design the reports they need to improve on the existing ones. For larger groups, interview them and collect ideas, and then ask for feedback on the compiled results, so people feel like they’ve been heard.

In a way, the decision to inform, influence, or involve loosely follows the Three Main Impact Zones of Change. Generally, you might say that Level 1, those whom the change impacts most and who will need to change the way they work, you would involve. Level 2, those who are in a more supporting role, you would influence. And Level 3, who are more observers, you would inform. This is not a strict rule, because change is never so black-and-white, and there will always be exceptions. Some individuals or groups may need to be involved even though they are in a supporting role. Or you may not have enough resources available to involve as many people as you’d like, so you’ll have to find creative ways to influence them instead, while still making them feel engaged.

A crucial step in implementing change is to decide whether you will inform, influence, or involve your stakeholders to achieve the right level of engagement.