No ‘silver bullet solution’ for building capability and confidence in effectively managing change!
As Learning Tree International’s Lead Instructor for Change Management and Author of Achieving APMG Change Management Practitioner Certification course, I would like to start by a bit of “myth-busting”: there is no ‘silver bullet solution’ for building capability and confidence in effectively managing change!
Now, on the upside, there are many approaches, tools, techniques and lessons learned available to facilitate building the required confidence and capability.
Here’s a couple of Top Tips:
1. Almost no organisation builds capability and confidence either in the Change Team or with those affected by the changes by in-sufficient “front-end loading”.
So what’s Front-End Loading? Front-End Loading means having enough of the identified elements for successful change in place at the start, or even before starting and having these elements available for the duration of the change programme.
2. Understanding the difference between Risks & Issues affecting the change to be undertaken and taking appropriate actions to manage these.
It’s realistic to assume that not everything that’s needed will be available at the start or during the change. What’s necessary here is to effectively use Risks & Issues Management i.e. recognising the difference between risk & issue, creating appropriate management actions for these and communicating both risks and issues to those identified in the change programme RACI Matrix (you do use this, don’t you?).
Communication during Change
Mentioning Communication, I always use a quotation attributed to George Bernard Shaw: “The biggest single problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
I strongly recommend thinking really deeply about the Communication Process supporting the change programme.
Effective Communication requires attention to two main areas: People & Process.
Most times, there is a communication process i.e. how information is exchanged. What is almost always missing is an understanding that not everyone interprets the same thing from the same message.
If you are using the Transition Curve (you are using this aren’t you?), how do you structure your communications taking account of those affected by change being at different stages of the Curve?
Oh, and how are you communicating the recognition that people will be stressed, anxious, not bothered, supporting or experiencing many other emotional states regarding the impact of change on them as they see it?
Another tool I use is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in developing engagement strategies. Working with my change implementation teams, I assess where target populations might be on the Hierarchy and develop linked, customised engagement approaches.
Something to think about is the capacity of the change team and for those working with the change team as change agents; does everyone have enough capacity i.e. time to work on change?
Often change work has to be done on top of “the day job”. If this is the case, capability & confidence regarding the ability to perform quality change work is significantly reduced (Risk & Issue Management).
In closing, remember even the best change plan is just that: a plan. Or our best guess on how future events will unfold.
My advice is to create an approach to change that accepts that sometimes when the plan and reality are different, it’s reality that wins!