By David Miller, CEO, Changefirst
Recently I spoke to a group of project managers about change management. We discussed what change data can actually tell you about change projects. And, in particular, what does it tell you about the risks to project success and how can they potentially be managed better.
I presented data we have collected from our Initiative Legacy Assessment (ILA) tool. This is a substantial database that we have been collecting through our e-change portal since 2007. It examines the history of change projects and what change leaders can learn from past implementations that can applied in new projects. It's probably our most used tool.
Anyway, for those of you interested the TOP 5 ACTIONS I presented (based on the risks the ILA identified) are:
- Reward and recognise people for their contribution to change
- Increase the involvement of people impacted by the change
- Engage with informal influencers across the organization
- Help middle and front line managers to role model the change that is required
- Increase visibility of the actual solution and plan to the organization
Interestingly the top five actions are mostly about influence and soft skills. In particular I think they are all actions that change agents can achieve with support from sponsors. So no one is saying "I'm worried we don't have a communication plan" but rather it's the actions that help them build commitment that are missing.
One of the interesting observations from the audience was that some of the data seemed to be counter to what we had learned about change when we engage in conversations with project leaders or change leaders. For example, executives don't take the 'right' actions to ensure change happens. This could, of course, mean the data is not accurate or more likely it means that the risks in change projects are more nuanced than our discussions allow and/or we have built a mythology around change that self-perpetuates through the narratives we use to describe change projects.
In reality, for organizational change agents I'm not sure it really matters. What seems important is that organizations use tools to diagnose their own change risks and have change agents who are skilled in interpretation and actioning of those outputs. It's a project by project process.
In the current review of our analytics we are noticing that commitment levels can be increased by the end of projects. More about that in a future blog.
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