Engagement: Integrating Change Management with Project Plans

Change Management and Project Plan IntegrationFocusing on the people side of change is arguably one of the most important tasks as we begin phase one of preparing for a change initiative. In the early phases of a project, we are seeking to understand the nature of the change and preparing the organization for it. Exceptional change management works when we partner with leadership to ensure timely and consistent messaging, early and often.

According to Prosci’s annual benchmarking research on change, the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorshipAs facilitators’ of the change, we have the unique opportunity to bring sponsors along on the journey at this point, so they understand why their role is critical in mitigating resistance, driving uptake and ensuring positive end-user adoption. We also can provide them with the coaching and tools needed to carry out their roles throughout the change process.

As we move towards phase two, managing the change, we need to think about how we are going to engage the project manager for discussion to integrate change deliverables and change activities into the project plan. Building rapport starts with laying out the process of how we will prepare for, manage and reinforce the changes. It is the perfect way to set up role clarity and frame desired outcomes; while ensuring a shared vision.

What is your integration approach in partnering with the project manager for these discussions? Please join the conversation and share your best practices below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Individual Change Commitment for Increased Adoption

Some days I have a “love-hate” relationship with blogging because it isn’t a clean, cut and dry process. Although I have an idea of what I want to write, it takes time to figure out how to put the words together.

Bird by Bird,” a book about writing by author Anne LaMott, contains a brilliant piece called; “Shitty First Drafts” (SFD) where she explains why the first draft we write is always the worst. It is usually longer than it needs to be, it may not flow well, etc. Towards the end of this excerpt, she states; “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something — anything — down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the downdraft — you just get it down. The second draft is the updraft — you fix it up.

In her book “Rising Strong,” Brene Brown applied Anne’s concept of SFD to our behaviors, which I believe could be an interesting application in change management resistance. For Brown, an SFD is the first story we make up in our heads before we have all the information needed to be pragmatic about the real story. When we realize we have an SFD, she recommends asking ourselves other questions such as:

  • What do I know objectively?
  • What more do I need to learn and understand about the other people in the story?ADKAR Individual Change Commitment Progress
  • What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?

The concept of an SFD as applied by Brown aligns with how people handle change individually in the workplace. When we are in phase 1: preparing for change, collaborative conversations center around outcomes so we have a clear definition of what successful change will look like for organizations and individuals. During this time, we identify change qualities, assess the organization, integrate change into the project plan, select a change sponsorship model and more.  This post focuses on Prosci’s individual change management model, ADKAR® which is an acronym based on the five building blocks for change that include:

  • AWARENESS of the need to change
  • DESIRE to participate in, and support the change
  • KNOWLEDGE of how to change (and what the change looks like)
  • ABILITY to implement the change on a day-to-day basis
  • REINFORCEMENT to keep the change in place

This model is linear and there are tools to assess where people fall in the commitment process. Our goal is to make sure end users have to tools to effectively adopt, embrace and reinforce the change so the behavior is sustained post-go-live.

It is important to note that there will be groups and people who will move up the change commitment level at different strides, and in various ways. The right coaching plan roadmaps will be a great tool to guide sponsors and stakeholders so they are mentored differently to ensure message positioning is coming from the right channels and gets everyone excited. Increased adoption occurs when each group understands the current and future state, the business need for the change, how they will be impacted and what is in it for them to incorporate the new behavior(s), etc.

Please share stories, challenges or remedies you have used to deal with resistance to change.

If you would like to remain anonymous, just let me know in your post and I will be sure to honor that. Join the conversation and thanks for visiting my blog!

Thirteen Behaviors that Build Trust in Relationships

Building trust is a process of modeling behavior shared vision and repeating messaging

Building trust is a process of modeling behavior, a shared vision and repeating messaging

What behaviors build trust in relationships?

Think about a time you were part of a really effective team that excelled at pulling together to achieve a shared outcome. What were the attributes that made it successful?

Research shows that teams who collaborate to attain a common end goal are usually high in trust. Success often relies on a group with a sense of shared values, vision and purpose. When all stakeholders are given opportunities to have input, they are inspired to build something together, so as to change leaders, how do we work to create a culture of trust? Recently I read Stephen Covey’s book called; “The Speed of Trust,” which looks at trust from three perspectives.

  • Trust as an economic driver that boosts productivity and results. Emotional deposits and withdrawals as an example.
  • Trust as the #1 competency in leadership
  • Trust can be learned

So who is a high trust leader? It is a person with high credibility, solid interpersonal skills with the ability to cultivate trust in teams and throughout organizations and knows that trust is critical to productivity and cost. The four cornerstones below are key for leaders to establish trust.

  1. High Competence -This combines the education and experience we bring to the table
  2. Integrity (Character) – Consistent alignment of thoughts feelings and actions with values principles and goals
  3. Intent (Character) – Self-reflection that examines why we do the things we do
  4. Results (Competency) – Make us credible

13 Traits of Strong Trust Leaders

  1. Talk straight so everyone understands your point of view
  2. Demonstrate respect – how you treat the one has an effect on the many
  3. Create transparency (act with authenticity and no hidden agendas)
  4. Rights all wrongs – Demonstrate accountability and humility
  5. Show loyalty to every person – Credits others for success, always speaks of others as if they are present
  6. Deliver results  (vs activity)
  7. Continuous self-improvement and commitment to learning
  8. Confront reality with tact – acknowledge unspoken and confront the issue(s), not the person
  9. Clarify expectationsvalidate, acknowledge and demonstrate flexibility to renegotiate when appropriate
  10. Practice Accountability and hold others accountable. Clearly, communicate the progress of self and others
  11. Listen first with the intent to understand (instead of respond) what is important to others and to ensure they feel understood
  12. Keep commitments (according to research, this is the number one way to build trust)
  13. Extend trust to others
 As someone who works in change management, a good exercise might be to go through these behaviors, ask your team their thoughts about them and talk them through. If everyone agrees and has input, it could offer a basis for creating something together. It’s part of what makes change management initiatives successful.
Thanks for visiting my blog, leave a comment below and feel free to share this information with others.

6 Successful Ways to Influence and Lead Change

6 simple ways to get buy in and influence othersMaking meaningful connections is important in leadership. We easily get caught up in “do-and-move-forward” mode which gets in the way of slowing down to value the relationships we have built and continue to grow. 

It helps to remember that people rally around causes and values that resonate with them, especially when leading through times of change. We have been trained to continuously scan internal and external environments and there is no question it takes time to figure out how to bring others with us through the journey that is change. Our role is to anticipate resistance, lead with confidence and have empathy for and redirect individuals who may get emotional. Modeling the behavior is a given and we can’t over communicate the key messaging that is required. Below are 6 simple things we can do to lead and influence people and organizations in times of transition.

1. Reciprocate – Random acts of kindness and helping others in unexpected ways sets the tone and people will respond in return.

2. Leverage scarcity – Have conversations about opportunity and consequences of not following through.
3. Authority: Lead by example – Rituals and setting goals to play important roles in bringing others along. That happens when as leaders, we engage in conversation that covers:

• The past (this is where we were, what can it teach us)
• The present (this is our current reality)
• Vision (let us create the future together)

4. Consistency in messaging – People learn in different ways using various processes. We can’t over-repeat the message
5. Practice optimism because it is contagious. Seek synergies and commonalities. What do you like about how you work well together with peers?
6. Consensus – Ask for commitment because when people make a pledge, they are more likely to follow through.

Do you have other thoughts or stories about commitments? If so, make a comment below. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Want to be an Extra in a Movie this Weekend? St. Paul & Bloomington!

PeteKWongMy friend Pete K Wong is shooting a movie this Saturday in St. Paul.  He is looking for extras and runs in good circles. His explanation of the project along with RSVP information is below:

.Have fun!!

My short film is a drama/comedy fictional story I wrote but also based on something similar I had experienced. It is about a motivational speaker who is early in his career going through training but each time he’s tested he fails, eventually, he comes to realize something he never expected!

The scene on the 23/24 is the presentation scenes. You would be in the audience listening to the speaker speak and in one scene he gets the crowd upset and they rush the stage after him and the other on Sunday he gets nervous and runs out!”

DAY 1: St. Paul
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013
Location: Recovery Church 253 State St, St Paul, MN 55107
Wardrobe: Casual

DAY 2: Bloomington
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013
Location: 8120 Penn Ave S 1st floor next to Wally’s Restaurant
Wardrobe: Business attire and Casual option

This is not a paid position. Credits, Copy, and Meals will be provided. If you are interested please send a confirmation to petekwong@gmail.com as we’d like to know how many people are signed up and for which date is more suitable for you.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” Speech Visual Analysis Video

When I was studying in college as an undergrad, I analyzed Dr. Martin Luther King’s letter from a Birmingham Jail and was so moved by the power of how he used words and metaphors so effectively and almost artistically.

Below author, educator and speaker Nancy Duarte analyzes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech using principles from her book, Resonate.” I found it from David Erickson’s e-strategy who got it at Vimeo via Duarte Design. (Thanks to David) 🙂 There is poetry in how words and metaphors can make intentional points. Nancy does a great job of explaining how this was done.

Interesting information about Dr, King. He skipped his freshman and senior year of high school so he could attend Morehouse College at the age of 15. He originally planned to become a medical doctor. Instead, his education was as follows:

  • B.A. from Morehouse in Sociology
  • B.A. from Crozer Theological Seminary in Divinity
  • Ph.D. from Boston University in Philosophy and Systematic Theology

Meet Tom Endersbe, Author, Three Commitments of Leadership

A few years back I had the privilege of working for Tom Endersbe, author of Three Commitments of Leadership: How Clarity, Stability, and Rhythm Create Great Leaders, a book that will guide leaders to make the Commitments which will result in a positive impact on your world and the people in it.

When I worked for Tom, he was an Executive in a Fortune 300 firm who got to that level as a result of his commitment to excellence, hard work and impeccable ability to build relationships. Prior to this role, Tom was a district manager who built a successful franchised financial planning practice that was in the top 1% of the company.

I watched him craft a team, implement a new initiative, inspire a dynamic group of people and get results. His ability to provide vision and guidance is without a match. I believe a big part of this is because Tom genuinely cares about people and wants to help them be successful. If you want to create a culture of follower-ship, you need to read this book.

Recently I took some time to talk with Tom about his new book, below is a summary of our discussion.

Tell us a little more about the motivation behind writing the book and how it came about:

“I was interviewed by Jon Wortmann, one of my co-authors, for his prior book Mastering Communication at Work and he and I found some real synergy.  We started talking every week and discussing the experiences we had as leaders and our thoughts about them.  A pattern emerged.  We both felt strongly that the greatest resource of any organization or team is the potential of the people to grow and contribute.  We described many situations where people just settled in and stopped growing.  It kept coming back to the environment they were in and the overwhelming feeling of complexity and uncertainty that stifled their ability and willingness to contribute to their full potential.  We identified that with a leader who was committed to Clarity, Stability, and a Rhythm that they could connect to, they began to take the risk, innovate, collaborate, and grow.  That was how it began.”

What kind of challenges have you faced in the process of writing and publishing the book and how did you overcome them?

It took time.  I was driving 2 hours a couple of days a week to a new business that I had acquired and we used the drive time to share ideas.  We would talk, Jon would write-up what we discussed and we would react in writing back to each other.  We did this for many months before we looked to our agent Giles Anderson for his insight on how we were doing.  He pushed back on our writing style but supported our message.  We rewrote the content in more of a leader to leader way and it started to come together.”

How has writing the book helped you in your own growth?

Expressing your thoughts on a variety of themes in a blank page format pushes you deeper into understanding from just awareness.  You become conscious.  In the words of the book, you gain Clarity.  That gave me a confident feeling of Stability, and Jon and I developed a Rhythm that we could follow.  We moved beyond awareness and cut new paths of thinking and Clarity.  I use the content myself every day.”

Why should people buy and read this book?

This book will provide a filter that everyone can use to sort through complexity in their lives and find the potential that exists in themselves and those around them.  I want everyone to believe that we can all be leaders and impact our world.”

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today Tom. Is there anything else you would like to share in closing?

I encourage everyone to imagine what could be accomplished if we could unleash the talent of the people around us.  What if they became leaders too?  The Three Commitments of Leadership gives you insight into how.  By making the Commitments yourself, you can begin to model the behavior that will unleash the pent-up potential all around us.  I can’t wait to see the impact.”

Tom Endersbe is the former Head of Field Implementation and Training at Ameriprise and currently is CEO of Endersbe, Herron, and Associates.

Why is Adult Learning Theory Important in Training?

I have spent years writing and delivering training across many different mediums. I also taught others how to be effective in the classroom. To be a good trainer, it is important to understand the difference between traditional vs. adult learning theory because it can make a difference in what students will take away from the experience. It looks something like this:

Traditional Learning Model (think elementary school)

  1. One way information flow
  2. Every aspect of the learning process belongs to the instructor
  3. Learning is focused on content and logic
  4. Motivation is external

Adult Learning Theory – six assumptions tell us that adults:

  1. Need to know the goal – why they should learn something prior to investing time
  2. Want to be responsible for their own learning
  3. Want to build on personal experiences in the learning process
  4. Have a strong desire for self-directed learning
  5. Are willing to put energy into things they believe will help solve a problem
  6. Are motivated internally and have a natural desire to learn

Having knowledge of the information above can make a difference in how we write and deliver training. I have learned it isn’t always about giving answers, but about asking questions so that your audience comes to the conclusions that you are seeking. It becomes their ideas and that is where real education takes place.

How to make training more engaging:

  1. Ask what the audience knows about the topic. What do they hope to get out of the session? The value here is it allows you to tailor the presentation so everyone gets what they need
  2. Engage learners throughout the process, it ought to be a conversation, not a preaching session
  3. Ask random questions to each person to get individual experiences and insight. Sharing personal stories makes the learning relevant to learner’s personal situations and how they make connections.
  4. In the classroom, use different mediums (Writing on board, having others tally a number or write examples down, small group activity, etc.)
  5. For Web-Ex sessions: have participants write on the screen, or give them control of the session so you can talk them through how to use a new website or system. Let them write their answers on the screen. When waiting for people to answer a question, tell them to “raise their hands” when done
  6. Have fun with it, begin or end with trivia questions, the word of the day, fun facts or interesting photos.

Adult learning theory is important because as we lead people through change, it is imperative to remember that individuals process information differently. Using various blended methods to include those above will reinforce the learning, which will lead to increased end-user adoption. Reinforcement and sustaining the new change.

Please share more thoughts below! Thank you for visiting my blog, I look forward to hearing from you.

More about Kakie Fitzsimmons

Lets Continue Defining Interactive Marketing

Over the past several years, I have obtained working knowledge and education about social media and online marketing. I have talked with people who are excited, indifferent, irritated, confused or intimidated by it. We still have a lot to learn because the complexities of technology are moving so quickly. The opportunities for innovation are endless but the definition (or explanation of)  “interactive marketing” or “social media” do not have to be overwhelming.

Read more of this post

Sea World Dolphins Embrace New Social Communication

Social interaction is not just changing in the human world. I came across this video and thought WOW, how can I tie this into my blog? Just as the way we communicate evolves, so does that of other creatures in our world. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.

More about Kakie Fitzsimmons

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