Enterprise Change Management w Organizational Agility as Strategy

I recently met Tim Creasey, who facilitated two days worth of advanced change management certification workshops, a change summit and round table discussions for The Minnesota Change Management Kakie Fitzsimmons and Tim Creasey during Prosci Advanced change management workshopNetwork. We had rich discussions about the past, present and future of Enterprise Change Management and Organizational Agility as a strategy.

On the first day, an executive breakfast was held at Target Corporation where Tim broke down change management as a capability into four eras that included pre-1990’s, 1990’s, 2000’s and 2012 and beyond. He then went on to discuss the topic of Organizational Agility as a Strategic Imperative. He presented different definitions of agility, along with the many pillars various enterprises use to build agility in institutions along with the diverse ways they think about what it means to be agile. A huge take away was a shared concept of thinking about agility as a state of being.

One good question that Tim asked was “How many projects in your organizations impact just one area?” Of course, the response from the crowd was laughter and then our small groups led to rich discussions about complexity that encompasses market volatility, increased amounts of information and communication, varying levels of leadership commitment, how are changes triggered, launched and funded, different ways change is governed and whether it is integrated into an organizations governance structure, we talked about ways to find the pockets of support that can exist in organizations, change and project methodologies, maturity and application of change and project management, deciphering and translating how different leaders are interpreting what the same change means for them.

In Enterprise Change Management, we integrate change into projects, programs and across releases, which means there are three very important words to take in context when working to obtain executive buy in.

  1. Context_Gap_between_what_Project_&_Change_Management_DeliverContext – the way we have conversation about change management should be relevant to that person, so when we tell a story it must be in a context that matters to them. This is why it is essential to have the ear and attention of executive sponsors early in the process, because how they are processing what the change means is critical to the way we will work with them. It is easy to say that we focus on the people side of change, but that means different things to a lot of people. Employee engagement? Morale? Training? Communication? While all of those factors may be important to senior leaders, it will mean more when we stay focused on their desired outcomes that demonstrate what we deliver, how we will integrate change to ensure it is sustainable so realization of benefits will add value to the organization. ROI, results, etc. All of this context is important because according to Prosci’s annual benchmarking research on change, the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorship.
  2. Language – How we talk about change and how we tell the story of change management matters, so we need to make it a point to understand the language used in the organization. Many will agree that using too much “change management terminology,” (academic or otherwise), or throwing change curves in front of people results in that look where eyes are suddenly glossed over and we have lost them.
  3. Problems – It is essential to have clarity in understanding the problem they are trying to solve, because if we are there, it isn’t that they don’t have change management. What is their expected return on the initiatives? The killer questions of what the Return on Investment (ROI) % will depend on how change behaviors are adopted by people in ways that will make it sustainable.

Monitoring and measuring people change and organizational change is different, so it is imperative we create sponsor road maps and use them as guides to remind sponsors, steering committees and our change networks how to scan the environment, maintain awareness of who takes action during each project phase. These road maps also will be a coaching to for how to identify, address and correct resistance. They will lay out tools to build individual competencies for Executives, Senior Leaders, Middle Managers and Supervisors as well as Front-Line employees. It is critical to pair that with ensuring consistent messaging, from the right sources at the right time.

Standing in the Future.”

Tim asked to imagine that three years from now we have been identified as the most change competent organizations in our industry. In small groups we wrote and shared short descriptions of what we would see if we walked around in our environments at that time and the descriptions were positioned as “We statements.”

Some of the comments I heard when we shared as a larger group included the following

  1. We have a change management capability in and across organizations
  2. We have change and project management capabilities that are mature and aligned
  3. We value creativity and innovation as part of the change management capability
  4. We have dedicated change resources and change management curricula that leads to career paths
  5. We create our own future and are empowered to make decisions and innovate
  6. We know how to help leaders position the change in ways that get all people impacted by the changes excited because they understand what is in it for them
  7. We partner with sponsors and steering committees as a unified team to drive the change
  8.  We have transparency where people have permission to speak with candor without fear of retribution
  9. We have robust data about feedback to people and performance
  10. We are using common language
  11. We have increased adoption and minimal resistance to change
  12. We celebrate success

It was a great session and a pleasure to meet Tim and his team. We look forward to having him visit again!

Tim Creasey is Chief Innovation Officer at Prosci and the has played a key role in developing extensive research, methodology and capturing best practices as the lead analyst for many of the Prosci benchmarking studies.  Tim is a dynamic international speaker and thought leader on the topic of change management. He is also author of “Change Management: The People Side of Change.”

Do you have additional “We” statements you would add? Please leave any thoughts or comments below and thanks for visiting my blog!

Things Change, People Transition: Change as a Process

In general, change isn’t complicated, but it is complex. In its simplest form we use terms like; to alter, shift, adjust, move, switch, transfer, etc. Change is a transformation or transition from one phase, condition, or state, to another.

From a change management perspective, assumptions that each individual impacted by a new initiative will always experience change on time, on budget and on schedule, is flawed, because this approach lacks context and doesn’t always consider the people side of change. It may not consider outcomes and results after the change or ask what behaviors need to change and be sustained. Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently because people embrace or resist change differently. No two are alike.

Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently because no one will embrace or resist change the same. Individual Response to Change Management BestBehavior doesn’t happen in a predictive order and as a result, it is imperative to think about change as a process, rather than a project.

Things change. People transition.

The change curve was created in the 1960’s by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as a way to explain the grieving process. Over time, it has evolved as a tool to help people understand responses and reactions to significant change. Since change is a non-linear process, some people may take two steps forward and one step back along this curve for a number of reasons. Some examples might include:

  • Assumed or no role clarity for the change
  • No visible support and commitment from leadership
  • Lack of project, organizational and individual change integration
  • Those impacted do not feel they have had input into the process
  • Leaders and/or impacted people are not engaged
  • No consistency in change messaging formats, channels and frequency
  • Lack of transparency about why the change is happening
  • People impacted don’t understanding of “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
  • Business readiness or training may have limited or no understanding of adult learning theory application
  • People don’t feel permission to speak with candor
  • Past performance with organizational change could create assumptions that history will repeat itself
  • Impact on current role and/or fear of losing a job

There are countless strategies and tools we can use to help us to understand where people fall on the change commitment curve and then subsequent strategies to take corrective action. As change management practitioners, we focus on results, outcomes, reinforcement and realization of benefits (including ROI), for the people side of change. We do this using a structured, yet flexible set of tools, processes, skills and principles to achieve the required goals of projects and initiatives.

What challenges and approaches have you experienced or used to help bring people impacted by the changes along for the journey?

Please leave a comment below. I’d like this blog to be a forum where people feel comfortable sharing what they agree or disagree with along with best practices or key learnings.I will honor desired anonymity, so if you would like to leave a response without having your name listed, please feel free to let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Individual and Organizational Change Management Integration Plan

Individual and Organizational Change Management Integration Plan

The complexity that accompanies change and the process that goes along with it means different things to different people. As a result, we must view change through two lenses of individuals and organizations  because they are parts of a complex system. This intricacy blends art, science, culture, inputs, outputs, feedback, leadership, strategy, governance, competency, internal and external forces, change impacts, individual needs and values, management practices, change activities, skills, communications planning and more.

Convergence, the concept that there are always many ways to get to the same result, is a reality when we are creating strategic plans for new endeavors. Good change leadership involves anticipating how we will navigate potential impacts to individuals, teams and organizations collectively because they are inextricable. Assessments and coaching tools are available which can help us in performing readiness temperature checks, identifying potential pockets of resistance and understanding where people are on the change curve so we can determine appropriate action plans.

The three-phased Prosci® approach in the diagram is an example of a tool that I like to use with leadership early in the process because it clarifies the mystery of change management. It illustrates that we have a structured approach to managing people (teams, and organizations), processes and technology from a current state towards the program’s desired future state. In addition, it builds off of previous posts where we examined using Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement (ADKAR®) as a tool for gaining commitment from individuals to increase adoption. It is also tied to how we implement strategic engagement by partnering with the PM and Senior Leaders to integrate change management into the project plan. This is important because according to Prosci’s annual benchmarking research on change[1], the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorship

There are countless templates, tools, and approaches used by Change Management Practitioners everywhere. It is important to me that this blog is a forum where people feel comfortable sharing what they agree or disagree with along with best practices or key learnings. As a result, below are some questions I invite you to answer:

  1. What approaches (good, bad or indifferent) have you taken that integrate changes experienced by people and organizations and what did you learn from it?
  2. What approaches have you observed and what did you think about it?

I look forward to hearing from you, thanks for visiting my blog!

I will honor desired anonymity, so if you would like to leave a response without having your name listed, please feel free to let me know!

Root Cause Analysis – Getting to the Why

There are many ways to approach problem-solving, one of which we often use in business, is called Root Cause Analysis. Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a systemic approach and a way of linear thinking that gets to the bottom of why a something occurs and figuring out what might be done to prevent these problems in the future. Below is one five-step process used to solve for RCA.Root-Cause-Analysis-Getting-to-the-why

1.  Clearly define the problem:

  • What is happening?
  • What symptoms come along with what is happening?

2.  Collect and analyze the data:

  • How long has this problem existed?
  • What is the impact of this problem?
  • What can we learn about it?

3.  Determine possible causes by asking “Why?” continually until you can go no further:

  • What happened first, second, third that brought us to this setback?
  • What conditions are allowing this to occur?
  • Why?  Why?   Why??

4.  Identify the root cause:

  • What is responsible for the problems identified in #3?

5.  Brainstorm & implement solutions to fix it

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 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 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 down draft — you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft — 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 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!

Circles of Meaning

Once in a while, I like participating in the “Weekly Photo Challenge” over at The Daily Post. A new meme comes out each Friday and I think about the proposed topic. I wonder what I could say about it and what my readers will be interested in as well. This week, Cheri asks us to let a shape, a circle, inspire us.

Circles Change Management Business TimeI took this picture at the James J. Hill Business Library because it had a certain old world charm that grabbed my attention. I like the concept of time as it relates to the evolution of knowledge throughout the ages.

Circles have been used metaphorically since the beginning of history. In many cultures, they represent unity, enlightenment, divinity and protection. At first glance, a circle can seem simple, yet they are one of the most common and universal signs used throughout history of the world.

Circles have symbolic use in divinity: For example, with Taoism the Yin Yang image embodies two forces in the universe that are opposites that balance one another. Hinduism uses the Dharma Chakra to represent the wheel of law that leads to enlightenment. Artists have used halos in Christianity and Buddhism to symbolize light and holiness. Paganism circles exemplified supernatural forces, and in ancient times Celtics stood inside of circles for protection.

Circles are symbols of inclusiveness, wholeness and eternity because the continuous line characterizes something with no beginning and no end.  They also represent completion or “coming full circle,” as in starting where one began. Circles often remind us about the cycles of life, years, seasons, days, minutes, hours and of course, TIME.

In business we use circles in many ways. In meetings, we sit in circles, in flow charts, circles show beginning or ending of processes, we move in cycles from centralizing to decentralizing something away from or to something else. We also assume many things in business happen in linear patterns, which is not the case. A circle could be a way to make the case for this.

In change management, we can think about circles as cycles of behavior. We evaluate and measure individual change differently than organizational change because successful organizational change happens when individuals deliver and sustain the new behavior.  Our focus is to change old ways of thinking by providing various levels of coaching guides and tools for leadership, Circles of Concern Influence Change Controlstakeholder and sponsors during different stages of projects.

We provide assessments to mitigate resistance to change because we understand that behaviors happen in cycles or patterns. One example of many, might be to leverage Steven Covey’s “Circles of Influence” model (where appropriate) for conversation about what we control, influence and have concerns about.

When we integrate change management with project management, studies have proven it leads to higher levels of success such as increased in adoption rates and sustaining of new behaviors.

Are there other ways you see circles used as symbols in business, project and change management? I’m looking forward to having you join the conversation. Thanks for visiting my blog!

 

Commentary: Best Buy Keynote Scott Durchslag at MN High Tech Association Spring Conference

MHTA Spring Conf 2013 KeyNote Scott Durchslag SVP Digital and Mktg, Pres .comI have always been an early adopter when it comes to media and technology and early in my career spent 4 years working at Best Buy. So it was exciting to attend the Minnesota High Tech Association Annual Spring Conference to hear Keynote speaker Scott Durchslag, SVP of Digital and Marketing and President of BestBuy.com and e-commerce. Despite the company’s challenges in the past year, they have had a lot of exciting things going on.

Last November we published an academic paper called Best Buy Strategic Management Analysis as part of the Executive MBA Program at The University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. (I’ll be Graduating in May). Being a person who loves the process of discovery and learning, it was fascinating to uncover companies and brands they own, observe how the Board of Directors and Dick Schulz, the founder and former CEO interacted as he was making attempts to buy back the company.

It was intriguing to learn what has evolved over the past few months and hear how everything is unfolding. Best Buy has a new initiative called Renew Blue which was presented at their shareholder meeting in November. Based on MBA learning, and the information Durchslag presented, it felt like they are facing a revolutionary change which is a rare, dramatic transformation that shifts mindsets and culture in the business.

I have a unique background that blends Marketing, Social Media, Digital and Project Management (IT and Business), so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see that early the same morning a press release was posted saying “Best Buy to Sell its Stake in European Business to Carphone Warehouse.” I understand why they did it and think leadership made a good call based on the research done in the assessment we published. Best Buy is using a mindset of “Test, innovate and learn” which is good because it encourages people to take risk and become part of creating a new culture. And Innovation is more important now than ever, so it is definitely going to remain on my radar.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Please share below.

NPR #SOTU Commentary: Cyberattacks, Risk, Offense and Defense

I.T.  Information Sharing and Project ManagementLast night in President Obama’s State of the Union Address, he issued an executive order which proposes to make our technology infrastructures stronger. The idea would initiate and encourage cross-sector information sharing. History has repeatedly demonstrated bringing professionals and information together merges ideas, creates knowledge and sparks innovation. This concept is not new, it is a form of open architecture that has allowed our technology to emerge to where it is today.

As an I.T. project manager I can attest that this topic is intriguing and its complexity is wide and deep.  This morning I was listening a story on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and I felt compelled enough to share. I encourage you to listen to it.

Please click on the link below and after you have heard what they have to say, come back and share your thoughts!

NPR: “Victims of Cyber Attacks get Proactive Against Intruders.

Thanks for visiting. Keep coming back!

Project Management Work Breakdown Structure

Work breakdown structure (WBS):  The deliverable-oriented hierarchical decomposition of the total scope work to be executed by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.

WBS purpose: Organizes and defines activities (the total scope of the project.)

WBS Component: An entry in the work breakdown structure that can be at any level

WBS dictionary: The artifact that provides detailed deliverable, activity and scheduling information about each component in the WBS to support the WBS.

Examples of what could be in the WBS Dictionary:

  • A code of account identifier
  • Description of work
  • Assumptions & constraints
  • Responsible organization
  • Milestones
  • Resources
  • Cost Estimates
  • Quality requirements
  • Acceptance criteria
  • Technical references
  • Agreement information

Work Package: The work defined at the lowest level of the work breakdown structure for which cost and duration can be estimated and managed

Project Management Sample High Level Work Breakdown Structure

Steps before beginning the WBS:

  1. Obtain charter approval
  2. Define the project requirements
  3. Form the core team
  4. Ask the team to list all work packages under their responsibilities so they can be combined to make the WBS.

-Source: PMBOK

Project Initiation and Stakeholders

Just to find something new - State of MindProject initiation is the first step in the project management process.  It is where we have to figure out who the key players will be on our team and how we are going to define the scope of the project. This is where we do a stakeholder analysis. A sample template of a stakeholder analysis can be found at the Project Management Institute website.

I’d like to compare the stakeholder analysis to the game of chess. It is very strategic in nature, but in order to learn how to play, one has to know how to identify the difference between the rooks, king, queen, bishops and pawns. Players need to know how to move around within the 64 squares of the board. In project management doing a stakeholder analysis is sort of like learning a chess game because a good project manager learns who the customers are and what resources are available, because resources will always be limited, so who you know and how you build relationships will matter.

Not all stakeholders have the same reason for participating in a project so it is important to understand why they are there and what motivates them. Having that knowledge will be helpful for figuring out how to manage them.  Looking for people with the right attitude will matter. For example, is there a way to know where they fall in the Meyers-Briggs scale or other tools to identify social styles? What are the social ‘norms’ of the organization? How do people communicate and interact? Some prefer face to face meetings, others email or voicemail. Keep track of this because it can be an important factor. Our expertise doesn’t have to be what we do for our job. It is about what the culture wants. Give rewards, find what people are doing right and they will do more.

Good questions to ask around the stakeholder analysis:

  1. Who are the stakeholders and how can we help them understand what is in it for them?
  2. How do they want to receive communication?
  3. Do stakeholders understand their roles in the project?
  4. Where do they fall in organizational hierarchy?
  5. What happens to the project if a stakeholder gets overlooked?
  6. Can anything be done to avoid missing stakeholders in the future?