Change management and project management are very closely aligned – to the point where many project managers also find themselves acting as change managers. It’s fair to say that, without correct change management, any proposed change(s) are unlikely to have the desired effect.
To this end, let’s take a look at the steps you can take to roll out a super effective change management system in your company:
1 Make the decision that change is necessary. It goes without saying that the identification of exactly what needs to be changed is the biggest part of change management. Ask: “what is threatening your company?” and “What long-term goals won’t be met unless change is implemented?” Always make sure that your changes are specific, measurable, realistic and achievable. Use your goals as a road map towards the next step and document/share them with your co-workers and employees to gain support for the project.
2 Get executive support. Gain more support for the project by getting feedback and support from management, then converting it into actionable items. As DeAnne Aguirre and Micah Alpem at Strategy + Business said: “Although it’s important to engage employees at every level early on, all successful change management initiatives start at the top, with a committed and well-aligned group of executives strongly supported by the CEO.” In other words, start at the top. Get fellow executives behind your change and ideas.
3 Create a change management plan and generate allies. Using the goals you have set, start to put your project management skills to work by determining exactly what needs to be completed by when – and what tasks are necessary for each deadline. When you are creating your plan, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to engage every level of the business hierarchy. This is a great opportunity to determine the people who will engage with the activities at leadership level, and then assign tasks to them with clear deadlines and relationships to the bigger project.
4 Factor in training and support. As your plans unfold, you will likely find that some employees require training in order to accommodate the changes made to your company. Experienced change managers know the importance of looking out for this, right from the beginning of a project. Seek out employee skills gaps and address them as and when required.
5 Communicate the current status of activities throughout the change. All great project and change managers are the “3 C’s” – clear, concise, and concrete – in communications to their change leaders, sponsors and colleagues. Constant communication with everyone at your company is essential and an integral part of stakeholder management—every employee is likely directly impacted by the change, therefore regular communication is crucial.
6 Keep an eye on progress. Use metrics as a motivator and to shine a spotlight on areas that need improvement. Make sure that you reward “agents of change” along the way, even for small successes – this will help to keep morale high and maintain excitement for your project.
7 Be flexible. Even with the best planning, unexpected changes can still affect your project. From a change of personnel to a below par quarter – stay adaptable, applying appropriate changes to your plan to fully accommodate your company’s new needs.
If you need to brush up on your project management skills, Off Peak Training can help. We can tailor training to meet your exact business needs – find out more: https://www.offpeaktraining.com/project_management-professional_pmp_training/