Change Management Plans

What is on your radar with respect to Change Management plans?

Business leaders and Human Resource professionals are looking at a few important change management topics in their strategic planning process:

  • The language of Change Management – the known unknowns
  • Who should lead Change Management in the organization chart
  • Selection of a Change Management methodology/training solution
  • Getting Leaders to become Sponsors
  • Assessing the impact of culture on strategy execution
  • Which ones are most important to you? Which ones are you looking for resources on?

Sponsorship is key

Arcus research indicates that sponsorship is key. Making sure leaders understand that change begins when they start changing themselves is a critical components of a change strategy and the only way to accelerate change implementation. In these turbulent times, it is important to weight the emphasis on compliance versus commitment. Another way to approach a change strategy is to start from the grass roots level.

The continuing theme for change managers has been driven by changes in external environments (markets changing rapidly) and the need for organizations to move from a compliance (productivity driven) approach to nimble, adaptive and innovative (commitment / passion driven) approach.

Influence at all levels of organizations

A trend seems to be for the CM team to be strengthening its influence at all levels of organizations, through project work interacting with change targets at the very front lines and with Sponsors at the top of the house – from inside of HR. This is likely a testament to the relationship between the head of HR and the Business Leader. Michael Porters talked about  link covers inverting the accountability pyramid, making the Support and Executive staff accountability to the Delivery teams.

Organizations with successful change management programs realize that there is a tremendous amount of latent talent exists within their organizations. The new challenge then is how to help support and executive staff keep up with the drive from the front line teams. Most change teams have the operational expertise and are keen to transform the way the organization works.

Focusing on leaders

Leaders actions need to match their words. A commitment to spending more time scoping and planning changes before the start of doing/implementation is important, however there are high expectations for projects that always need to be delivered quickly. Therefore the reality is most change teams rarely have the luxury of a more vigorous planning phase to ensure that they plan for success and deliver what they set out to achieve.

We also see that a lot of people focus on the personal aspects of change, the way individuals can foster change and influence groups and the importance of trust. Creating a more concise and yet still compelling articulation of the difference between strategic change management and tactical change management is important (i.e. engaging stakeholders beyond our own internal sponsor in the new CM approach). For internal practitioners, this might play out as convincing the management team or the business lead to stipulate engaging with you so that you can bring the full organizational CM methodology to bear on “their” project. One of the challenges we are likely to see is the assumption that ‘we do change management’ or that all ‘change management is the same’.  Most practitioners understand this fact (e.g. a ‘communications plan’ that broadcasts information about the change does NOT get Adoption – it might generate Awareness, if people actually read / listen to it, but that does not mean that they understand how it affects them, what they need to change, that they agree, or that they will/can change).

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