The Executive Facilitation Series: How You Know You WonYou facilitated an executive working session and you think it went well! But how can you know for sure? Here’s what you might hear and observe afterward.
Part 6: Signs your executive session was a success.
You facilitated an executive working session and you think it went well! You think… How can you know?
Here’s what you might hear and observe after a solid session.
“This was great.”
It’s not the most rigorous test of your facilitation, but it matters. How people feel coming out of the room is important. It means they feel it was a good use of their time, and they’ll approach your next session with enthusiasm.
What to do when you hear this: Conduct a pulse survey to drill down on why people liked the session. And consider one-on-one check-ins with a few participants to get more detail: what they liked and what improvements you could make.
“This is the new way of doing it.”
Sometimes a session or activity feels so effective that leadership wants to adopt it as a standard practice. That’s a great sign that your session worked.
What to do when you hear this: Document your facilitation process and tools. Post them in a shared folder and let people know where they can find your files.
How people feel coming out of the room is important. If they feel it was a good use of their time, they’ll approach your next session with enthusiasm.
“Remember what we said during our meeting?”
When participants reference the ideas, skills, or decisions you made during the session, that means your session is resonating and making an impact.
What to do when you hear this: Capture those things that are resonating and make sure everyone has access to them.
“I’m following up on my action item.”
At the end of a good executive session, you define next steps and responsibilities. When you see those things happening, the session is making a difference. You’ve taken the value out of the room and into the organization.
What to do when you hear this: Celebrate and normalize. Share who’s moving the ball forward; this will nudge others with to-dos to do the same.
“We’re kicking off the project.”
Many strategic working sessions are convened to make strategic decisions. Those decisions turn into strategic projects. You can feel good if the rubber is hitting the road, with projects funded and underway.
What to do when you hear this: Keep an eye on the project born during your session. Document your success story: you gathered the right people and they produced something impactful!
“Here are the numbers.”
Strategic decisions are intended to make an observable, positive impact. Hopefully, the actions and initiatives born in your session end up showing those results. That’s the ultimate sign that you made a difference.
“Let’s do this every year.”
If your executive session felt right to leadership, produced sound ideas and decisions, and generated positive outcomes, it had obvious value. Leadership might feel so good about it that it becomes an essential tool for your organization. Well done, facilitator.
The People Side of Artificial Intelligence ImplementationsA change lead is the only member of your AI project with a laser focus on getting people to use your new, fantastical AI technology.
Launching AI? This is what your Change Lead wakes up thinking about.
Every day, I talk to people leading technology projects for our clients and the Emerson change leads who support them. No surprise that the coolest projects are in the Artificial Intelligence space.
Organizations are modeling operational scenarios on production lines and making data-driven decisions using AI. They are using AI to better schedule their truck fleet routes and drivers, getting products to customers faster and at a lower cost. They are improving their employees’ digital experience through AI-enabled chatbots that solve their problems in the moment of need.
As IT project teams are focused on seamless delivery of AI to the business, here’s what a project’s change management leads wake up in the morning thinking about.
Are the Executives on this AI initiative all on the same page?
This typically happens when they’re trying to document the messages that should go to the impacted audiences. When this happens, the change lead often hits the “pause” button to ensure that sponsors and change agents are communicating clearly and consistently. They get key leaders aligned on the problem we are solving, the way we describe the solution, the approach, and the results we will achieve.
Have we identified all the impacted audiences for this AI project?
Will an unidentified audience “come out of the woodwork?” Ideally, key leaders participate in the current-state and future-state workshops at the start of the AI project. The change lead documents all the audiences and captures the new ways of working for each audience. They identify what each group will gain and lose with the introduction of AI, how best to communicate with them, what they need to know-learn-do to be successful. This detailed impact “topography” is the basis of every change intervention that comes after, so it’s important to get it right. So, after they think they have identified all the impacts, change leads follow up with each audience to validate their understanding. What they’re asking is, “Are these all the stakeholder impacts? Is there anyone we‘ve missed?”
What’s the best way to reduce fear and engage stakeholders?
Change leads try to figure out what makes each impacted audience tick; they use that to engineer an AI change strategy. A good change team uses what motivates each stakeholder group to help them engage in a positive way with the impending changes. Change leads also use that knowledge to come up with creative ways to focus attention on the change. For example, Emerson change leads engineer adoption by pulling three levers: they use what feels familiar to stakeholders, they give impacted audiences a sense of control, and create successes during the project so that employees feel safe and confident moving forward.
Change leads try to figure out what makes each impacted audience tick; they use that to engineer an AI change strategy.
AI is transformational. The nature of AI is that it gets smarter the more people use it. A change lead is the only member of your AI project with a laser focus on getting people to use your new, fantastical AI technology. The success of your AI initiatives, and the ROI of the investment, hinges on your ability to ready the workforce and customers to ensure they embrace the transformation.
For more information on the right way to engage the workforce in AI initiatives, read Artificial intelligence and your workforce: Three tips for leaders.
Budgeting for IT Organizational Change ManagementGo beyond the traditional “percentage of project funding” when budgeting for the people side of change.
Think differently about your investment in user performance.
Companies continue to invest in technology. Digital, artificial intelligence, and cyber security are all over the headlines. Cloud and ERP also continue to be big. In fact, the global ERP software market is expected to reach $78 billion by 2026.
Most of these investments come with expectations for a large return on investment. Seasoned IT leaders know that the integration of people, process, and technology is what drives ROI. The business case is rarely realized if human behaviors and processes don’t change.
Despite IT’s decades-long focus on change management, budgeting for the “people side of change” is a mystery to many. And it doesn’t help that project budget numbers must be submitted and approved long before all the implications of the change are clear.
The traditional way is to estimate 15-25% of project spend for the people side of change. A quick google search will show firms like Gartner promoting this ratio. While the old school “percentage of IT investment” is a starting point, it can lead to under-budgeting.
Seasoned IT leaders know that the integration of people, process, and technology is what drives ROI.
Why? First, technology has never been cheaper. Sometimes it’s even free. So you’re using a percentage of a shrinking number. People, however, remain consistently expensive and require things like new organization structures, process changes, work changes, training, and communications. Technology cost is irrelevant to what’s required to equip people to support the organization’s success.
Here’s a better way to estimate:
Technology-focused projects and budgets have evolved. Planning for change management on these projects should evolve as well. Go beyond the traditional “percentage of project funding” when budgeting for the people side of change.
How to Approach Year-End Goal SettingAs a leader, how should you approach annual goal setting? A clear process and sound principles will make strong goal setting easier on everyone.
Now is the time to start 2024 right.
It’s the end of the year, and most organizations are embarking on everyone’s favorite holiday activity: goal setting.
Leaders analyze the past year’s performance and estimate what they can and must accomplish in the coming year. Executives then review these goals and finalize organization-wide, measurable objectives that drive success.
This annual exercise is necessary, and it makes sense. But why is it so hard?
First, each role has its own relationship to goals. Top leaders want to dominate the market but must also consider the health of the organization. Executives and managers want to push for greatness but also take morale and capabilities into consideration. Employees feel pressure to impress the boss but have to balance that impulse with what they think is realistic and achievable.
And, after all that work and rounds and rounds of reviews, the final goals are cascaded down to the organization, which can be like a game of telephone. By the time a line employee gets his work objectives, they might no longer be recognizable to top leadership.
So, as a leader, how should you approach annual goal setting? A clear process and sound principles will make strong goal setting easier on everyone.
Teams understand their capabilities and limitations, and if given a safe platform, they will tell you what they really think. It’s good to be aspirational, but make sure you propose goals the team believes in and feels inspired to achieve.
A clear process and sound principles will make strong goal setting easier on everyone.
Align up, down, and across.
Departmental goals should directly support organizational goals, and departmental goals need to make sense across teams and divisions. As you translate overall goals to objectives for teams and employees, check them against the strategy. This type of alignment is critical to business strategy and execution — every part should contribute to the whole.
Make sure your goals are balanced across your strategic and operational capabilities. Don’t set one goal so high that achieving it saps energy from other areas or from overall productivity. Discuss where your key balancing metrics are, like volume and customer experience, and allocate investment and resources across those areas, not just those that obviously hit the bottom line.
Employees need to know as soon as possible what they are being measured against. The later you share this information, the higher the risk. On January 2, your teams are already supposed to be working toward the new year’s goals. They need time to shift and ramp up. So, give employees a preview of the new year’s priorities. This is especially important if your company ties goals to merit pay; this is not an area where employees want to be surprised.
Employees need to know as soon as possible what they are being measured against.
Review and support, often.
Create a safe space for employees to report on their progress and ask for help where they feel stuck – otherwise goals can feel punitive. Give people space to tell the most accurate story of where they are so you can support them. That’s a win-win.
Goal setting has big impacts on productivity, morale, and the bottom line. Make sure you use this time to create meaningful goals that help your business succeed and your people thrive.
Testing Your Employees’ Digital ExperienceSmart teams think about people during their digital transformation. To get the most from your tech pilot, put change management in the cockpit.
Three considerations before launching your tech pilot.
Smart teams think about people during their digital transformation pilots. They know that the employee’s digital experience is where the IT investment is realized. The most fantastical tech is worthless if no one is using it — or using it right.
How do you get the most from your pilot? Put change management in the cockpit.
Here are three things to think about:
Don’t wait to start change management.
Before the pilot, you should have conducted a change impact assessment. This will tell you which stakeholders are affected and how. Select your pilot testers and construct test cases based on those real-life impacts.
Smart teams know that the employee’s digital experience is where the IT investment is realized.
Also, be thoughtful about the messages you’re sending as you test. The impact assessment will tell you what certain user groups will gain and what they will lose. Use the key points of the overall project message — the problem, solution, approach, and results — then customize those messages for your testers. It’s a great opportunity; they will report back to their work teams and set the tone for your go-live.
Test as much as you can.
Don’t just test the tech. Try out your communications and training on the pilot group. As you do, keep the focus on testing assets and assumptions. Don’t let perfection get in the way; a pilot is for gathering information to make things better.
And measure! Collect data on users’ readiness for the new technology and how well they adopted new ways of working. Your exposure is limited in the pilot, but you can learn so much that will inform the rollout.
Create your go-live playbook.
Record your results, tester feedback, and your lessons learned. Assemble the change management tools you tested, like the communications and training assets. Create an updated set, incorporating what you learned, to guide the team for your go-live. Package your roadmap and recommendations for the rollout.
Your digital transformation pilot will test whether your technology is ready.
It’s also the perfect setting to learn what will “fly or die” with your impacted audiences. Don’t take off without change management in your pilot’s cockpit.
The Evolution of Change Management Service ModelsMany Fortune 500 companies are moving away from individual project decisions and toward a new model.
Are MSPs or CoEs right for your organization?
I remember being on large projects in the early 2000s when clients — and even colleagues — would ask, “What is change management?” It seemed like part of my job was to justify the very existence of change management on the project.
These discussions eventually morphed into “yes, and” conversations. Most times, the conversation went something like this:
Client: “I know what change management is. Change management is communications and training.”
Me: “Yes, communications and training are usually parts of a change management solution. But it’s more, including determining stakeholder impacts, addressing employee motivation, and identifying and changing key behaviors.”
Today, most business professionals have a more sophisticated view of change management and its value. It’s now common for transformation, tech change, and M&A projects to have a dedicated behavioral change management focus. Project-based change management is still the most common model, however…
Many Fortune 500 companies are moving away from individual project decisions and toward a new model.
Two models are gaining momentum: building internal capability through a Change Management Center of Excellence and forging a managed services partnership with a single consulting firm. Emerson Human Capital helps clients build change centers of excellence and serves as a change management managed service provider.
Change Management Center of Excellence (CoE)
What It Is and How It Works
A Change Management CoE is a team or department made up of employees who advise and execute change within a particular company.
CoEs are usually launched because there is a steady flow of projects that require change management. CoE team members are often the ones doing the change management work on projects. Other times, the Change Management CoE is more focused on project intake and centrally sourcing change needs to a handful of external consultancies. Some companies even have a very light touch CoE that is more focused on building a baseline level of change competency in an extended team or Community of Practice.
While the models and team sizes can vary, virtually every CoE designs, builds, and/or curates a change management methodology complete with common tools, templates, and examples.
What It Gives You
- Change Management on Demand – If there is an ongoing need for change management across departments and/or projects, an internal CoE is always ready to deliver.
- Self-Reliance – Once it’s up and running, it’s easier and more effective to work with an internal unit rather than a series of external partners.
- Cost Savings – Employee resources often cost less than external consultants.
- Consistent Outcomes – Common methods and tools across enterprise projects drive consistent change management and project outcomes.
Managed Service Provider (MSP)
What It Is and How It Works
A change management managed service provider or outsourcing model means having a designated partner/company for change management. The managed service provider or partner executes change management across projects for the client company. The company pays for change management as a service and evaluates performance against designed service level agreements.
What It Gives You
- Change Management on Demand – If there is an ongoing need for change management across departments and/or projects, an MSP is poised to deliver.
- Strategic Priorities – Many organizations would rather invest in core capabilities than in a non-core function such as change management. In that case, an MSP makes more sense than a CoE.
- Consistent Outcomes – A single partner across projects, using common methods, tools, and service level agreements, drives reliable project outcomes.
- Agility – Employees are often fixed costs but change management demand is dynamic. A managed service partner arrangement makes it easy to flex up or down to meet current project demand.
- Innovation – Employees can be limited by what they know. Expert firms or managed service partners leverage the latest thinking and practices around change management and learning.
- Cost Savings – A managed service agreement is usually cheaper than ad-hoc consultant contracts.
Change management has come a long way since the dawn of the millennium. Companies are maturing on change management. Some are realizing that the traditional consulting model is not necessarily the best way for companies to manage change.
BTW, Emerson Human Capital wrote the book on change, literally. We’ve seen it all, and we know how to partner with you for the best outcomes.
Whether you are just starting your change management journey or are deep in the throes of change, we’d love to talk with you.
M&A: The Opportunity to OnboardDon't overlook a strategic ally for an M&A transition: the L&D team. Here are 5 things you can accomplish with onboarding for a newly merged organization.
Six ways to jump-start your newly formed organization
Your organization’s merger or acquisition (M&A) is a done deal. Congratulations!
It’s a big win, with big benefits and big challenges. When your organization structure and logistics are sorted, policies and procedures are final, data and systems integration challenges are met, you’re ready for the change that is coming.
Are you, though?
Too many organizations overlook a strategic ally for an M&A transition: the Learning and Development organization.
Onboarding is training brand new employees experience (or endure, depending on your perspective). But it’s also right for M&A. After all, on Day One after a merger or acquisition, every employee will be coming to work at a new organization.
Whether the organization takes on an existing identity or creates a completely new one, it’s a new environment.
Everyone is experiencing some level of uncertainty, everyone has questions, and everyone can benefit from a level-set that your L&D team can deliver.
Here are six things you can accomplish with onboarding for a newly merged organization:
- Establish the culture, mission, values, and vision of the new organization. Your culture, mission, and vision might come from one of the existing companies, from both of them, or it might be completely new. Addressing a new culture, vision, etc. is obviously a necessity, but even a review of existing ideas is beneficial. The training environment can also be a safe place for employees to discuss what the culture, mission, values, and vision of the new organization look like for them, and how to bring them to life.
- Send the right message. Having everyone participate in an onboarding class tells employees that everyone is starting anew! There are no “incumbents,” “winners,” or “losers” – just one team that is moving forward together.
- Engage SMEs across the new organization. Intentionally and thoughtfully pulling in SMEs from across both constituent organizations is a great way to build multiple perspectives into your onboarding. You’ll get the terms and references right for all groups, and get insights to the mindets of your onboarding participants. Bonus: it might be the start of some rewarding new connections. Speaking of which…
- Encourage new working relationships. Think about previous onboarding classes that you have been a part of. Chances are good that you can remember one or two people who were in your class; they might have been the first colleagues you reached out to when you had a question or needed a sounding board. There is something about being in a room full of people who are a little uncertain and starting on a new path that bonds people together.
- Set new expectations for employee development. In many organizations, employee development is partially intentional and partially left to chance. Thoughtful employee development approaches are the exception. In fairness, “development” has evolved a lot in the last four decades; ideas like career paths, peer mentoring programs, and performance improvement have become commonplace. Now is your chance to start with a clean slate of resources and offerings that invest in the new organizatoin’s most important asset. Instead of fostering feelings of risk and uncertainty among your team, this M&A event can accelerate their professional development.
- Refresh your learning solutions. Whether because of our love for the status quo or the tyranny of the urgent, L&D organizations rarely do a complete audit and refresh of their offerings. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right? But a merger or acquisition is a great opportunity to get a new perspective on learning solutions, including new-hire onboarding. You have a new “customer” base, new SMEs, and new priorities. Take advantage of them!
Our Director of Change Management, Rory McKenna, wrote an excellent post on The People Side of M&A. I won’t spoil it for you, but he references our change methodology that includes making the change feel familiar, controlled, and successful. It’s a great read for anyone facing M&A.
Mergers & Acquisitions: The People SideOrganizations in the throes of M&A need the power of their people, so there is a lot riding on change management. Learn how to address M&A at three levels.
Where change managers need to focus in M&A
Companies thrive on growth. Mergers and acquisition provide fast inorganic growth. So they’re not going away; the challenge is to make M&A better.
The people issues with M&A are many. For example, the term “merger” sounds like an integration of equals, but that’s rarely the case. Most often, there is a perceived “winner” and “loser.” So an uneven merger, or an acquisition, severely impacts those on the “losing” team.
That’s one reason mergers and acquisitions feel threatening. They generate fear, anxiety, and outright resistance in much of the workforce. Yet organizations often overlook the people implications. Employees are left to “figure it out,” which further damages engagement and productivity.
Organizations in the throes of M&A need the power of their people, so there is a lot riding on change management. Change managers have to address M&A at three levels.
Change managers rarely build the business case for a merger or acquisition. But they must use use that strategy, and the rationale behind the deal, to help the workforce transition at the both organizational and individual levels.
The business case typically includes access to a new market, addition of a new product or offering, increased market share, and/or operational efficiencies. Additionally, senior leadership often uses the M&A as an opportunity to refresh the corporate strategy.
Change managers have to translate that complex content into messages that speak to employees.
They want and need to be in the know.
At a minimum, employees must be clear on the “why” — the organization-level purpose, vision, values, and strategy. Employees also need to understand the individual impacts: how their daily activities support those things.
M&A always has cultural implications. People deal with any change differently depending on the cultural context.
Employees from the “losing” organization often feel like they’ve been dropped into the world of the dominant organization’s culture; they struggle to survive and succeed.
Culture is especially important when blending companies from different locations across the world. In that case, employees of an acquired company are navigating two culture shifts: the dominant organization’s culture and the dominant geographic culture.
Change managers should start by assessing the dimensions of the companies coming together, and the geographies (if applicable). One good tool is the the Trompenaars Model. Knowing the cultural dimensions can help change managers design the right interventions and engage people effectively.
Here is a good video on Trompenaars Culture Dimensions.
Cultural Dimensions Universalism vs. Particularism What is more important: rules or relationships? Individualism vs. Collectivism Do we function as a group or as individuals? Neutral vs. Emotional Do we display our emotions? Specific vs. Diffuse How separate do we keep our private and work lives? Achievement vs. Ascription Do we have to prove ourselves to receive status, or is it given to us? Sequential vs. Synchronic Do we do things all at one time, or several things at once? Internal Control vs. External Control Do we control our environment, or are we controlled by it?
Read more about it in Riding the Waves of Culture by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner
Once the team understands the cultures coming together, they can create change management interventions that resonate with each employee group. They can also help acquired employees migrate to the new culture.
3. Organization, Process, and Technology
Most change managers have had the phrase “People, Process, and Technology” drilled into their minds. In M&A, all three are equally critical.
Employees often experience changes to the organization structure, the processes they engage in, and the technology they use. They need to work in different ways, with different people and tools. No wonder they are often fearful and anxious about the change. It’s a big challenge for a change team.
Most change managers have a favorite methodology to navigate this type of situation. Emerson is no different and, you guessed it, we have our own methodology. A key principle behind our methods taps into psychology to make the change feel familiar, controlled, and successful. They are the “levers” we pull – each activates a different brain mechanism to propel the change.
What are the stakeholders comparing this change to? Can we point to a time when they successfully navigated something similar? If so, let’s talk about how this is similar.
Are employees comparing it to something negative from the past? If so, let’s talk about how this situation is different. Additionally, we might make the change look good by comparison (e.g., what would happen if we didn’t change).
Most people don’t like surprises. How can we make the event predictable?
Showing people what is coming, and when, is a must.
The messages may not always be rosy from an individual employee’s perspective, but it’s better to be transparent. In the absence of sound information, people will make up their own stories – and act accordingly.
Address the perception of chaos. Show structure in the approach and future state. People need to see roadmaps and org charts.
Try to find ways to give employees some degree of choice. People love to have choices on big things like position in the new organization or on a project, but even small choices help individuals navigate change. For example, the organization might offer flexible working hours, choice of technology, or options for work location.
Engineer small wins. A merger can feel overwhelming. Break the change into small, attainable, milestones.
Feeling successful and celebrating with others makes us feel good and want more. Simple things like successfully navigating a single new process or completing an initial transaction in a different system should be cause for celebration.
M&A is not going away. In fact, many believe that there will be an uptick of M&A activity throughout the rest of 2023. M&A is a classic trigger event for change management. However, the complexities and nuance of M&A situations often call for anything but change management as usual. The stakes are high!
Process Design: 3 MythsProcess design has a lot of benefits, like efficiency, speed, and cost savings. But do you understand the implications? Consider these 3 process design myths before you get started.
Consider these pitfalls before you redesign or streamline.
When you hear your organization wants to simplify, focus on efficiency, or increase speed, the first thing that undoubtedly comes to mind is process…process…process.
But it’s not always that simple.
Here are three myths to consider before you dive into the deep end of the process pool.
Myth #1: Process negatively impacts culture.
Employees often think that adding processes will dampen their unique culture — especially in small businesses, nonprofits, or creative environments. People think a focus on efficiency will stifle creativity and turn them “corporate cogs” – the exact thing they likely ran from.
But, if done correctly, the opposite is true. When processes exist, employees can spend less time hunting for breadcrumbs of past processes or recreating processes. Efficient processes actually free up time to spend on employees’ areas of expertise and time to innovate and create.
Truth: Processes set you free so the culture can thrive.
Myth #2: Processes are locked in.
Sometimes, we get stuck on a hamster wheel and forget to pause, reflect, and fine-tune our processes. This happens for several reasons:
- This is how it’s always been done.
- There is great comfort in the familiar.
- We have too much on our plates and little time, especially time to spend on updating processes.
But in an era where innovation is king, organizations must constantly stretch, innovate, and grow. This means processes need to adapt and change to reflect the current and future states of the organization.
The amount of time spent on updating processes will easily be less than time spent fumbling through outdated processes.
The idea is to get to the finish line faster, cleaner, and more efficiently.
Set recurring dates to review and update processes. You’ll make molehills out of mountains, fostering an environment that celebrates agility and innovation.
Truth: Processes are never set in stone. Focus constantly on doing better.
Myth #3: A new process always wins.
Here’s the scenario: Work is a slog. There are too many activities all over the place and a general lack of clarity. A well-meaning group of employees attempts to fix it ALL with one 52-step process full of clicks and ticks, dips and dives, and giant U-turns.
While their intentions are admirable, the new process is exhausting and confusing; employees are now spending more time on administrative tasks and less on what matters.
So, what happened? There are a few possibilities:
- Key people were not at the table. Every team that owns part of the process, and everyone downstream of the process, should be involved. It’s also important to have people who think differently review the process before rolling it out. They might catch something; maybe the process doesn’t reflect the organization’s “customer first” value because it adds unnecessary tasks to the customer experience. Or, they might realize that the “52” in the 52-step process is a red flag – it will crush your people’s souls.
- The new process starts downstream, not at the source of the problem. If I need to drive my car to the store but the car is out of gas, painting the car red and filling the tires won’t get me to the store. You can try your best to shine your part of a broken system, but it will still be broken if you don’t start where the breakdown begins. If the problem is a lack of clarity and consistency from the top, start there.
- A formal process wasn’t the right solution. Could it instead be solved with a simple document that provides employees with “if this, then that” steps to guide them through their work? Or is this not really a process issue? Is it a training or engagement problem?
Truth: It’s best to look at the problem from all angles. Take a breath and ensure you’re addressing the right thing, at the right time, with the right people.
Building Change Management CapabilityAt Emerson, we help organizations build their own internal change management functions. We partner with them to build the skills, methods, and tools they need to drive change from within. Here’s how.
Which model is best for your business?
As the field of organizational change management evolves, so do the organizations themselves. More than ever before, our clients are waking up to the current pace of change and the stakes they face. They know they need strong change skills to survive.
In recent years, we’ve been helping organizations build their own internal change management functions. We partner with them to build the skills, methods, and tools they need to drive change from within.
Here’s how we help clients stand up their own change management team.
We encourage our clients to clearly define their Change Management Community of Excellence (CoE) strategy. In other words, how do they plan to operate their change management business? We recommend they select one of these four models.
- Self-service – Business owners become the change management practitioners and use self-service change management tools to execute the work.
- Limited service – Business owners become the change management practitioners with minimal guidance up front. In this approach, the CoE will act as advisors up front and then the business owners will use self-service change management tools to execute the work.
- Co-service – Business owners are in an equal partnership with the CoE to drive changes. In this approach, the CoE is a key member of the project team and will lead and/or support the change effort.
- Full service – The CoE leads the change effort while the business leaders act as sponsors of the work.
Their approach for delivering change management services may evolve over time but we encourage them to think about this early, so they have a starting point.
Based on the model they choose, the organization identifies individuals who will be their new change practitioners. Then we ask our client to select a current project to use as an immersive learning example for the new team.
Next, we conduct training on the basics of change management.
These sessions prepare the new change resources to articulate the need for change management, use fundamental change principles, and employ change methods and tools.
Skill-building happens during various change management working sessions specific to the chosen project. We use the real work of the project to coach the new change practitioners as they use change approaches and tools. The sessions get the team ready to tackle future change projects as they arise. In other words, everything they learn is transferable to their future change initiatives.
Some of the sessions include understanding what methods they already have.
Where we find gaps, we help the team develop methods, tools and templates to add to their toolkit. Other sessions help them to determine who the project’s stakeholders are and how they are impacted. We use other sessions to develop the overarching message for the project. Key Behaviors sessions identify the employee behaviors they need to modify or reinforce to drive the change.
Then, using all the information we gathered from those working sessions, we work with the team to develop stakeholder-specific plans they will execute. These interventions create positive momentum to engage with the change and, hopefully, achieve the project goals. As the team executes the plans, we coach them and get them comfortable in their new roles as change management practitioners.
Finally, we help them use metrics and track the success of their efforts. Seeing new practitioners realize their impact on the organization is rewarding. It’s been a lot of fun helping organizations grow in an area I love.