Managing change is obviously a very important part of what we do, but if we don’t help our customers include and prepare their organization for change on the front end, our chances for success are slim.
I’ve had people call me and say, “Hey Misty, I’ve got a problem here and a problem there, can you come in and find a solution? Can you bring in a Project Management Office-In-A-Box, per se, that includes all the right procedures and processes, and then I’m going to use the hammer and make my organization change what they’re doing and start using these new strict guidelines.” That’s obviously not an ideal recipe for success. We can put procedures, processes and tools in place in an organization, but at the end of the day, if we leave and those day-to-day workers, project managers and project management support staff don’t embrace them and use them, in my mind, we failed. Was there change? Absolutely! But it wasn’t positive change.
Unfortunately, successfully informing team members and achieving buy-in or acceptance is an element that’s often forgotten or ignored. For greatest success, this element really needs to work in tandem with the changes and transformation of the organization, so the culture of your organization is being guided, prompted and led to understand, first and foremost, why you’re making the changes. You also need to address their obvious questions, such as, “How will these changes impact me? How will this impact the projects I’m working on? How does this impact our overall organization?”
It’s important that we have the answers to those questions, take time to explain these changes to staff members and talk them through how the changes are going to impact all of the different levels of the organization. By doing this, there are fewer surprises and the individual team members have more ownership in what’s being done.
So instead of having your team frustrated and complaining about just another flavor-of-the-month attempt at change, take the time to inform and involve them in the change process. By doing this, they should better understand the potential positive impact the change will have on them and the organization. When you have all of these elements working together — blending of the changes you’re making into the culture as well as into the structure — your chances of success are much higher.
To learn more about how to succeed through transformation, see the blog by Senior Project Manager Kelly Conway.