One of the participants in a recent webinar series asked, “When does a project justify using change management tools?”
My answer, in a nutshell, is that any project or initiative that will change the way people work warrants going through a change management thought process to understand the impact the change will have and how difficult it might be to influence people to make the changes.
For any project that impacts people, you must answer the following questions:
- What is really changing when we implement this project?
- What might be potential sources of resistance?
- What support does the project need from leaders?
- How will we go about influencing and helping people to make that change?
The detail to which you answer these questions depends on the project. For a “small” project, it may suffice to jot down the answers on a notepad and go from there. For “large” projects, you will need to document the plan more in depth and involve more people in the analysis and design.
Of course, “small” and “large” can be measured on different scales:
- Organizational scope – Does the project affect a single department or the whole organization?
- Complexity – Is it a straightforward, incremental change like a process improvement, or is it more transformational, like a merger?
- Anticipated resistance – Will the change be easy to accept, or will people hate it or have trouble making the change?
Your project may seem straightforward, but in reality, it may be a big deal that impacts both employees and customers. If you haven’t clearly identified that impact, you might be surprised by the reaction when you start the implementation, and you’ll have a steeper uphill climb to get it done.
Need a place to start? The Influence Change at Work™ Toolkit provides the tools and exercises to clarify your answers to each of these important but challenging questions.