The 9 best Change Management resources in July 2022

01 August 2022

Many great articles, posts, podcasts, webinars, videos and memes were published in July about Change Management.

author picture Article written by Morten Kamp Andersen

The 9 best Change Management resources
in July 2022

Wow. A lot of great content has been produced in July, although this is a summer holiday month for many. Maybe it has been a time for creative minds to be active.

This is a collection of my 9 favourite change management articles posted in July 2022. I hope that they serve as a valuable resource for those interested in my passion, change management.

So in no particular order, let's get started…

The Transformative Power of Inspirational Leadership

David Michels is a partner at Bain & Company. In this article, he discusses inspirational leadership. He notes that in the hugely popular TED talk, Benjamin Zander, founder of both the Boston Philharmonic and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, shared a realisation that he says changed his life. Twenty years into his conducting career, he said, he realised that the conductor of an orchestra doesn't make a sound. A conductor "depends for his power on his ability to make other people powerful," he said. "I realised my job was to awaken possibility for other people."

So how does one become the type of leader who inspires, who awakens possibilities for others? Understanding the following three principles can help you on your way.

  1. Create your own leadership brand, don't fit yourself into a box. Many books have been written on the topic of leadership, offering various recipes for success. In truth, there's no single formula. Bain & Company's research has identified 33 different traits of inspirational leadership. Remarkably, a leader only needs any four of them to be distinguished in order to be perceived as highly inspirational.
  2. Build on your strengths, don't obsess over weaknesses. It's your distinguishing strengths and potential distinguishing strengths that others see in you or that you see in yourself that deserve your attention. These reflect your underlying enthusiasms, what you're excited to be known for, and what you want to spend time developing. These are what set leaders apart.
  3. Take your next step from wherever you are today. Your starting point matters less than your trajectory. In mathematical terms, focus on your slope, not your intercept.

Ben Zander has it right. In business, as in life, your ability to inspire others, to awaken their sense of possibility, is the accurate measure of a leader.

5 Challenges You Face After Change Management Training

Michelle Haggerty is the Chief Operating Officer at Prosci. She is responsible for Prosci's service portfolio and internal operations, leading the strategic direction of its offerings. In this article, Michelle discusses how acquiring knowledge is only part of the equation and how in the months following your training that applying change management within your organisation will reveal challenges and opportunities.

Michelle goes through five key lessons change management professionals experience as they move on from learning and applying change management concepts in change management training to applying those concepts to changes within their organisations.

  1. There's work to be done before you start applying change management. You may find that not every project has been perfectly designed or well-articulated. If this is a challenge you face, know that two things need to happen before you can start to plan and execute the activities you learned in change management training: solution design and defining success for the change.
  2. Change saturation changes everything. Saturation is something every organisation deals with, especially now that organisations face increasingly more change. Left unaddressed, change saturation can reduce the resources you have to implement your change, which will result in lesser results or even failed projects. If change saturation is a concern, your first step is making leadership aware. If the decision is to keep moving forward, your second step is to understand how this saturation will constrain your project and then adjust accordingly.

  3. Change management and project management integration can be difficult. Based on the maturity of project management and change management, the priorities of project management teams and change management teams can come into conflict. Don't be discouraged. When facing a challenging opportunity to integrate your work with a project team, remember that project management and change management are complementary disciplines with a common objective.
  4. Effective sponsorship is the top contributor to success. Matrixed organisations and multiple sponsors certainly add complexity to change management work. However, there is good news: the behaviours you need from a sponsor don't change; only how you engage with and support them does. Whether working with one sponsor or five, remembering the role and importance of sponsorship will keep you focused on what matters most to your success.
  5. Success is limited without budget and resources. It's easy to get wrapped up in all the planning for change management and breeze over this crucial fact. All the planning and designing of plans can be for nought without the time, resources and budget needed to execute.

Is Change Burning You Out? How to Beat Change Fatigue

Siriphone Maldonado is the Director People Engagement at Harbinger -  a Canadian company about the People Side of Change - specialising in Adult Learning & Training Development for ERP and other technology implementations.

In her article, Siriphone states that Change fatigue - the mental strain experienced after undergoing significant or extended periods of change - is a genuine phenomenon and quite common. Pay attention to how you and your team are faring when going through change, and act sooner rather than later to nip change fatigue in the bud before things spiral. She suggests following the tips in the article on how to beat change fatigue and remember your change leader support system. Through this, you'll be able to keep a steady pace as you make your way through the inevitable changes that are a part of today's new normal.

The article contains information about what change fatigue looks like, why it is essential to act, and how Can You Beat Change Fatigue in Your Team? For the latter point, Siriphone suggests five things:

  1. Exercise Empathy
  2. Lead with a Positive Change Narrative
  3. Be Proactive
  4. Be Prepared to Change your Management Methods
  5. Power Through

The Four Pillars of Change Management in Mergers & Acquisitions: What Healthy Transitions have in place before Day 1

Jennifer Schar and Megan Manning both work for Alvarez & Marsa,  a leading global professional services firm that delivers business performance improvement, turnaround management and advisory services to organisations. In this article, the authors argue that how people manage, respond and adapt to change can determine whether a deal delivers on or fails to meet expectations. Yet as anyone experienced with transactions knows, the human element is underemphasised. A deliberate, disciplined approach to change management improves your odds of a smooth transition. It also lays a solid foundation for optimising post-close. The key is to incorporate change management as early as possible.

The four pillars are:

  1. Determine who is going to lead and how they will do it
  2. Identify the actual impacts of the transaction on stakeholders
  3. Develop a comprehensive and segmented communication plan
  4. Develop customised, ongoing training

Overall, the two authors' message is: Focus on people

  • Change Management is overlooked surprisingly often in merger integration planning and execution.
  • Quickly determine who is going to lead the post-merger organisation–and each of its business units.
  • Establish a clear governance structure and a Steering Committee empowered to make decisions.
  • Understand the real Change impacts at the stakeholder level, and build strong communications and training programs that focus on Key Messages and approaches tailored to each group.
  • Change Management doesn't end on Day 1, but the pre-merger efforts will lay the foundation for stabilisation, optimisation and full synergy realisation.

Change Management Job Description

In addition to their blogs and webinars, Prosci also publishes thought leadership articles. This article is about the change management job description.

The primary responsibility of an organisational change manager is to develop and implement change management strategies and plans that maximise employee adoption and usage of required changes.

This ties nicely in with the change manager's goal, which is to drive faster adoption, higher ultimate utilisation of changes, and proficiency with the changes that impact employees who must use the changes in their daily work. These improvements increase benefit realisation, value creation, ROI, and the achievement of results and outcomes.

There are many titles for a person in charge of employee adoption and usage. A change manager might also be called a change management Advisor, -Analyst, -Consultant, -Coordinator, -Facilitator, -Lead, -Manager, -Practitioner or -Specialist.

It is too much here to go through all of the points in the article. I will really encourage you all to read it instead. But a high-level overview could be:

Roles and responsibilities of a change manager - a few examples:

  • Apply a structured methodology and lead change management activities
  • Leverage a change management methodology, process and tools to create a CM strategy
  • Support communication and training efforts
  • Assess the change impact

Some additional responsibilities - a few examples::

  • Identify, analyse and prepare risk mitigation tactics
  • Identify and manage anticipated and persistent resistance
  • Support and engage senior leaders and people managers, and supervisors
  • Track and report issues

Skills and qualifications of a change manager - a few examples::

  • A solid understanding of how people go through a change and the change process
  • Experience with and knowledge of change management principles, methodologies and tools
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Ability to establish and maintain strong relationships

There is also a downloadable 'Sample Change Management Job Description', which is really useful.

Four Change Management Mistakes To Avoid In Your Company

Patrick is the Global CEO and Chairman of Hybrid Theory. In this article, he takes note that Twitter might be taken over by Elon Musk, and one of the most dramatic case studies in change management can commence. He sees familiar themes occurring when it comes to change management and four common mistakes people seem to be repeating:

  1. Having The Wrong People On The Journey. This isn't about only using positive people. He is talking about the negative disruptors who derive the majority of their self-worth by being the contrarian in the room.
  2. Not Listening To Team Members' Concerns. You cannot successfully change external factors such as structure, reputation and value proposition without acknowledging and addressing personal concerns. And yes, that means every single person. Listening is job one.
  3. Failing To Recognise That Plans Often Change. "This is my plan, and I'm sticking to it," said no successful change manager ever. The best change management plans are amenable to change but don't kid yourself into thinking that the need for alteration will always be prompted by something pleasant.
  4. Being Unwilling To Embrace Calculated Risks. Slow and steady does indeed win many races, but you never hear about the corporate races lost by reticence and too much reverence for the competition.

Patrick finishes by saying that transition is the new normal, and leaders need to be sharing stories of what works now and what has stopped working. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn and adapt to a more beneficial outcome. I agree. Let's share more.

Face-to-Face Communication: 6 Benefits of Leading in Person

When a leader needs to inspire people – or move them to action – nothing compares to face-to-face communication. People will not only hear what you are saying, but they will also perceive the greater meaning of your tone, voice inflexion, emotion and body language. Taking the time to look people in the eye and tell them precisely what they need to know is a powerful way to emphasise and reinforce key messages.

From strengthening relationships to gathering employee feedback, here are six good reasons for leaders to make the time to communicate face-to-face:

  1. Demonstrate importance. Being there in person (even if virtually over video) also tells your audience they are essential to you and that the issue you are discussing is worth your time and theirs.
  2. Interpret thoughts and feelings. One of the advantages of face-to-face communication is that you can see and respond to people's reactions – like facial expressions and body language – and their tone of voice. Monitoring these nonverbal cues allows you to gauge interest, adjust the tone of voice, clarify if you see confusion and make sure you engage attention.
  3. Enhance credibility and trust. After two years of working apart (in some cases) and through challenges associated with crisis and change, leaders need to reset and rebuild employee trust to be effective. Face-to-face interaction allows you to check in, share important information, such as your strategy, explain it clearly, and answer questions honestly – even the tough ones.
  4. Build relationships. Interacting directly with other leaders, managers and employees through face-to-face communication helps you create shared experiences that can enhance future communication. It also helps create a camaraderie that is the basis of effective working relationships and increases your likelihood of success across the organisation.
  5. Gather feedback. Meeting in person (whether virtually or in the same room) helps employees feel valued and gives them a chance to contribute input to organisational strategies and communication.
  6. Address sensitive issues. When communicating face-to-face, leaders demonstrate respect for employees and a commitment to a successful outcome when navigating a sensitive subject. Meeting face-to-face shows you care.

Tips for improving Face-to-Face communication include; Ensuring the medium matches the message, establishing an agenda and desired outcomes, making the most of face-to-face time by asking "soft" questions that check in on the whole person – not just the project status, being present and ask clarifying questions, request that cameras are on for critical online meetings so you can read and react to body language to adapt the conversation and encourage virtual group discussion and finally, spend time with employees.

Embracing Changes: Virtual Change Management and Leadership Training Implications

This paper was published in the Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management by Danxia Chen and Joanne Hix from the College of Business, Dallas Baptist University.

The abstract reads: The pandemic brings many unforeseen changes. Thriving organisations are the ones that are agile and proactive. Change management and leadership training play a key role in organisational change and development. This current study examines a group of international managers' virtual training experiences, helping managers to develop change mindsets to use disruptions as opportunities to lead organisations. This group of international managers were better prepared to be the change leaders, moving organisations forward to a thriving tomorrow.

The two authors surveyed 32 research participants representing international managers, department heads, and directors. They completed two months of intensive training in organisational change and development strategies and techniques. During the first day of the training, participants were invited to complete an online self-assessment. At the end of the training, participants were asked to complete the same self-assessment again.

The findings are well worth reading. We can learn from academic research findings.

Reporting Against a Timeline

Phil is joined by business transformation and change management leader Jennifer Rhodes to discuss reporting against a timeline.
At the centre of every change, an initiative is a project plan that maps the activities and tasks required to transition people from current to new ways of working. It functions as a work back schedule from the post-launch support to the project kick-off.

Teams supporting a change spend significant time reporting against the timeline. Being "ahead of" or "on plan" is the goal, but often, falling behind is a reality.

The ability to communicate progress against a timeline is an essential change management skill. Those who do it well can influence expectations and plan details; those who don't can experience greater scrutiny, extra work and lost confidence in their capabilities.

So, how do you report against a timeline to inform stakeholders, guide expectations, and make required enhancements that lead to successful change?


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