What’s on your bucket list? Mine includes too many physical activities to list here. But when it comes to my career, the list is much smaller. On November 8th, I was honored to co-host the webinar, Embracing Transformation: Catalyzing Change in a Transformative World. My co-host was Tim Creasey, Chief Innovation Officer at Prosci and co-author of Change Management, the People Side of Change and a thought leader in the discipline of change management. Sharing webinar time with Tim was a great experience.
The webinar covered four main topics: The People Side of Change, Research and Trends, The Right Finish Line, and 4 Change Catalyzing Questions.
The People Side of Change
The People Side of Change is where we emphasized that change occurs one individual at a time, and only by moving individuals through their own transitions does the organization change. The more individuals that move through a change successfully, the more the ROI of the opportunity is realized. One slide that was particularly telling read “an email on Monday for training on Tuesday for launch on Wednesday is NOT the way to prepare and equip individuals to successfully change”. Research shows that there is a “6X increase in likelihood of meeting objectives with excellent change management”.
A project we highlighted was one where there were around 4,000 individuals to move through a technology change. Change activities were incorporated into the project plan from project kick-off. Leadership was supportive and engaged throughout the project. Users were made aware of the change and its timeline. Their feedback was taken seriously and incorporated, and it was feasible to do both in the technical development, as well as during the rollout. One user provided the feedback that this was the “Best IT rollout ever!” Tim noted the term rollout, as opposed to technology deployment, and it emphasized the goal of the project, which was getting the users to change how they did their data entry.
Research and Trends
Research and Trends covered many topics, including change saturation and its consequences, agility was critical to business success and transformation, and the ability to adapt was a key business competitive advantage. Employee engagement is a #1 concern for businesses, yet the majority of employees remain disengaged.
We highlighted a project where employee engagement changed not only the development of a new feature, but generated enthusiasm around its use which brought faster adoption and ROI.
The Right Finish Line
The Right Finish Line emphasized that change activities not only need to be a part of the project plan and critical path activities, but also that the project does not end at the deployment of a technology. The right finish line is not likely the deployment of the technology, but rather the realization of the benefits associated with adoption of the change. There are change activities that need to continue past a project’s deployment, so the right finish line is later than often considered today.
In the project we highlighted, change activities were sacrificed due to schedule and budget constraints. This emphasis on the technical deployment resulted in all change activities happening afterward which led to a post-deployment enhancement release where employees were engaged in feedback, a significant lag in data clean-up efforts, and the need for on-going training to reach an adoption point where benefits could be realized.
4 Change Catalyzing Questions
4 Change Catalyzing Questions brought out the need to delve into the reasons behind the change, who would have to change, how much of the ROI depends on people changing, and what could be done to drive adoption. This is where Prosci’s® ADKAR® Model is key. The importance of the ABCs of Sponsorship were also reviewed.
Two projects were contrasted here. The first project was a mandate driven by the organization’s leadership, but not supported with change management or strong sponsor engagement. The other project leveraged change management throughout the life of the project. Leaders, managers, and users were engaged. The project did not stop at deployment, but focused on adoption as the finish line. The result was that the ROI was not only realized, but in completing data clean-up efforts users were aware of how their work affected the organization and took the initiative to go the extra mile discovering additional ROI worth millions.
The key takeaway from the webinar, something I would want organizational leaders to consider, is that change management is not just additional tasks that cost money and are done to make people feel good, but needs to be an integral part of every rollout where people have to change in order for benefits to be realized. The research is clear, change management pays for itself, often several times over. It is time for change management to be a part of every project’s business case.
Lewis Fowler can help. In a world where business agility and employee engagement are not just a competitive edge, but can be a matter of survival, Lewis Fowler has the expertise you need. We have Prosci® Certified Change Practitioners on our staff and project managers who have experience in blending change activities into projects and setting the right finish line to reach greater benefits realization. We are ready to assist you in standing up your own Change Management Organization. Contact us at email@example.com.
Jennifer Beach has been working in the field of Project Management for 20 years. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Business Management and she holds a Master’s degree in Technology Management. She has been a PMI PMP since 2002 and recently obtained certification as a Prosci® Change Management Practitioner. She has been helping Lewis Fowler clients successfully deliver projects and realize benefits for many years.
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