Have you ever been in a meeting, talking about change management with an important Sponsor, and slowly watch his or her eyes glaze over? Or how about, when you are telling your Sponsor all about the Reinforcement Strategy, Resistance Management and Key Role Map you’ve put together and they suddenly appear antsy and announce they need to move on to their next meeting. Frustrating, right!?
One of the challenges facing our change management consulting clients is the level of change fatigue across the organization. There is simply no rest from the constant barrage of changes that disrupt past habits, patterns and ways of working. It creates an unprecedented level of organization stress, especially when there are fewer resources than ever before. The change fatigue is further compounded when those Change Agents responsible for implementation confront a history of projects that are initiated, but not successfully implemented.
In our 35+ years of change management consulting, we have never once come across an organization who told us they have way too many resources with too little to do. Who are we kidding? We’ve never even met a client who had the right amount of resources for their current portfolio of initiatives!
One of the key principles of Next Generation Change Management is to look up the power structure in your organization before you look down, especially in the beginning of a project. What we mean by this is as a Change Agent, you need to spend more time working with your Sponsors (to ensure they are Expressing, Modeling and Reinforcing the change) than trying to convince the targets (those people who will be affected by the change) about the logic and rationale behind it.
That’s promising a lot, but it’s a realistic promise, too. When you are a consulting company (and we are one) you are on a constant quest for new business and increased revenue. There is more competition than ever. Standing apart from your competition can be a challenge, especially if you are competing against one of the big consulting companies.
Building your change management capability is one option worthy of consideration.
Here’s one thing we can all agree on: our organizations have never been stretched like they are today. It would be simple to believe the answer is for organizations to narrow their portfolio of changes. Unfortunately, most organizations do not see a lot of its projects as optional. What we can do is a better job of sequencing changes, and we can be much more effective in how we target our limited resources for maximum impact.
Last week Don Harrison, President of IMA and developer of the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM), held a free webinar on what he likes to call “Next Generation Change Management” where he discussed his view of what needs to change about change management. The topic was one of our most popular ever and the discussion he led was truly thought provoking.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Charles Darwin, who famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.” As we begin 2018, I am amazed at how these wise words could not be more appropriate for the modern business world.
We’ve all seen them. Projects that are being governed by a Steering Committee that is nowhere near as effective as it could be. Or Project Teams that aren’t made up of the right kind of resources causing a project to slow down to a crawl or even stall out completely. As experts in Change Management, we know Steering Committees and Project Teams who don’t work well together can be a fatal flaw in any change initiative.