What if we partnered?
It all starts at the beginning.
The reality in most organizations is that strategy is parsed into Strategic Business Units and/or Divisions and the leader assigns it to a program manager to organize (I am not endorsing this approach―I have other thoughts here). This cascade is often one-directional and the change management lead is buried deep in the project with very little access to the leader.
In transformational change, where ROI depends on people, at all levels, changing the way they think and what they do, change management takes on a heightened priority. These shifts in mindsets and behaviors, and sometime shifts in culture, cannot be dictated or taught. Rather, they must be led. The leader and the change management lead need to collaborate directly to achieve success.
Imagine what might happen if, when program managers resourced a project, they tee-ed up change management (CM) differently?
1. What if the program manager identified the senior change management practitioner he or she wanted to work with and introduced the person to the leader this way:
- “We have identified a terrifically qualified CM practitioner. We just need you to sign off on one criteria: Is she a fit for you?
- The CM practitioner’s role is to help all of us address the human risks involved in implementing change. The CM practitioner will be our guide in identifying issues and opportunities and in designing interventions. Often the interventions have to come from you to be most effective. The CM practitioner will be your coach, so it is important that you develop a close working relationship.
- When can I schedule an interview for the two of you?”
2. And if the CM practitioner entered the conversation with the leader this way:
- “I have reviewed the initiative and I have significant related experience….
- Based on that experience, and acknowledging that every organization and initiative is different, I expect that we will encounter issues such as….
- This is likely to require activities from you such as….
- Does this seem likely to you? What other issues do you anticipate?
- The way I work is this… [spell out what you need to be successful as specifically as you can—have a look at this post from Daryl Conner “Addressing Sponsor-Agent Relationship Issues (free download)”]
- What else do you need from me? How do you like to work?
- Do we think we can partner up on this work?”
3. And what if, once retained, the relationships took on a deep partnering for success, including:
- Information sharing,
- Dynamic and collaborative decision making,
- Testing and learning cycles, and
- Feedback loops.
What if you sent this to your favorite program managers and asked them to take it into consideration next time around?
It might open productive conversations and whole new working relationships with them. They may want to negotiate a few parameters in the beginning to get comfortable with this dynamic, but that should be quite achievable.
What are you waiting for? Do you want to be successful? You already know what it takes. Require it.
- What’s missing from Strategy Execution?
- Change Management Methodology
- Crack or chasm between project management and change management?
Change Whisperer by www.gailseverini.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.