As a new year is approaching, now is the best time to stop and think about what we’ve done with the last 365 days! Taking the time to think and process what we’ve achieved really helps to see clearly into what needs to be done in the coming year.
In terms of change management, this year has been a massive learning curve for me. Even if I already had some change management knowledge prior to working at Fourcast, I now had the chance to be more “in the field” and experience change management at the heart of the action.
Based on this year’s experience, I wanted to share with you my personal change management resolutions for next year, hoping that they can inspire and challenge you too.
Change Management takes intentionality. It doesn’t “just happen miraculously”. We all get so caught up with the urgency of our projects that sometimes you postpone change management activities to later… until it’s too late! A change management plan requires time and thought so that it not only makes sense to the people but also excites, informs and tackles resistance all at once!
Note to self: make sure to take the time to brainstorm the change management plan well ahead so that it’s well thought through.
2. Take the time
Bear in mind that every company is different! Every company will have its own pace, time and cadence which we, as change and project managers, need to be mindful and respectful of. The change management rhythm is subject to diverse aspects: the company’s social environment, culture, mentality, mindset, aversion to change, etc.
At one point this year we’ve had to postpone our planning by a couple of weeks so that we were aligned with our customer’s cadence. It was a hard decision to make, but a necessary one! We can’t move forward if the company isn’t ready.
Note to self: Be aware of my surroundings and align my change management plan accordingly.
3. Let them get mad!
Resistance is part of change. In every company you’ll find people who will be very vocal about their frustration, and that’s OK. As they’ll be talking anyway, you might as well be in the room so that you can help them deal with their frustration. In all honesty, it’s not something that I’m always comfortable with as everyone will react differently to their frustrations: some will scream, some will point the finger at you, some may even shed a tear.
There’ll be big value in creating a “frustration zone”, letting people express themselves. With a pinch of empathy and a big dose of patience, once people are done with their emotional explosion you’ll be able to reassure, guide and help them deal with the change.
Note to self: Don’t take things personally whenever someone gets mad or upset. Let them vent and listen to their frustration.
4. Give more importance to support
Whenever a change initiative is driven in a company, support is crucial as it will have an impact directly on the end user. Having a clear cutover plan is therefore capital. This is a clear point of improvement for me. At times, I don’t think that all the parties involved in the IT support system of our customer were ready, well informed and trained to support the end users.
Note to self: ensure that all parties involved are as ready and prepared as you are.
5. Buy-in is needed at every level
If you’ve been a consultant in a big company you’ll surely understand this point. Getting buy-in from every level is a challenge! Specially when the main mean of communication is email. This happened to one of my projects this year.
I thought that I had communicated our project plan to all levels, when in fact I had skipped some levels causing some directors to be confused and misinformed- rightfully so. Make sure to get ‘insider help’ at the organisation you’re working with, to ensure that you’re reaching all the right levels of the company you’re working with.
Note to self: ensure to go through the company’s organisational structure and check that all levels have received information about your project and have given their support.
6. Change Management doesn’t stop at ‘Go-Live’
It’s so easy to stop change management once your project is ‘live’, which means it’s put in place. Once everything is up and running, that’s when the real change management fun begins: you need to ensure that adoption takes place. Such activities could take several shapes: Q&A sessions, regular meetings with your ambassadors, continuous support, advanced level trainings, etc.
Note to self: in the planning of change management activities, make sure to think about post-live change management activities and make them happen!
In summary, making mistakes is the best way to learn. It’s when you look back into what you’ve achieved and accomplished that you have enough insight in what could be improved. I’ve gathered here for you 6 of my change management resolutions for 2019 hoping to be able to serve my clients better. What are your change management resolutions for the new year? Hoping to hear and get inspired by your stories too!
At Devoteam G Cloud, as a premier Google Cloud partner, we are specialised in change management and transforming companies large and small into future-proof workplaces. For that, we use Google Cloud solutions like G Suite as well as a proven implementation strategy and execution. But Digital Transformation is not about technology alone: with our change management efforts we make sure the transformation really takes place and sticks for everyone.
Contact us now, we’d be delighted to have a chat about your needs and map the possibilities of G Suite & Google Cloud for your company. We’re curious to hear about your projects and to see how we can help!