As a qualified Prosci change management practitioner, you may find yourself gently reminding your co-workers, customers and business leaders that the effectiveness of change management does not begin and end in the classroom. Building change management capability, both competency and capacity, within an organisation is a journey that takes time and action before and after every training event. In this post we explore 3 common challenges change management practitioners experience after training and offer some advice and solutions on what to do next.
The ironic part of all this? Change management practitioners are the first to forget this when it comes to their own certifications and courses. Think back to your first ever course, you left excited and armed with new tools and process that will propel your change process to success. You were ready to drive your company forward… or you thought you were. We have all been there, the realisation that the new skills and new-found knowledge were only one part of a much bigger equation. Once qualified, applying the knowledge you learned within the real environment of your organisation potentially provided you with new opportunities and new, unexpected challenges.
Below are 3 key lessons our graduates have experienced and a few of the many questions they learned to ask along the journey of taking classroom learning and applying it.
1. Sponsorship will be your biggest obstacle
In your first course, you will have started out with the assumption that your project will have a single, perfect sponsor. It doesn’t take long to realise that this is rarely such a simple scenario. Instead, you may be placed on multiple projects in which there are multiple sponsors, none of whom has the capacity or knowledge of how to properly sponsor a change. Instead they are mostly comfortable with signing off the budget and timeline. For sure this adds a new degree of complexity to your change management work.
However, there are still ways to overcome this. The behaviours you need from a sponsor never change, what does need to change, is how you engage with them and support them. When working with one sponsor or seven sponsors, remember the basics of what good sponsorship looks like and share this with the sponsors. Empower and support them to behave in the right way and you will have what you need. Our article on developing effective sponsorship is a good refresher if you are struggling with sponsorship. If your organisation is deploying one large important change project/program this year or if you are working through multiple changes, effective sponsorship becomes even more critical. After all, for the last 20 years of Prosci change management Best Practices research, effective active and visible sponsorship has consistently been the #1 reason why projects succeed in delivering their ROI or fail to. Consider raising awareness of the value of effective sponsorship with the sponsors themselves by investing in a private CMC Prosci Sponsor training program. 6 hours well spent!
2. There is groundwork to be done before applying the principles of change management
In the Prosci change management practitioner Certification Program, we begin under the assumption that your well articulated, clearly defined solution awaits. We train our new practitioners on what you do once you have been assigned to a project as a change manager. What we regularly encounter is the fact not every project will have been well designed nor clearly articulated.
If you face this challenge, know that there are two key things that must happen before you begin to plan and execute any activities: solution design and change definition.
Our historical research shows that the earlier a change manager is involved in project design, the better! If you can work to get a seat at the project table, be a part of shaping the project and understand the true fundamental objectives so you can work to design the right solutions and build adoption and usage of the new ways of working required into the scope at initiation. Integrating project management and change management activities and outcomes at the earliest stage is a sure predictor of change success. If these outcomes haven’t been defined, you are doing everyone a service by asking.
3. If you don’t have the resources or the budget you may not experience the highest levels of success
We have all fallen into the rap of planning for change whilst breezing over the fact we may not quite have the right levels of financial or operational resources. All the planning and designing of solutions can be worthless without the resources to effectively execute them.
So, what can you do to get the resources your project demands? How can you be successful with only limited resources? According to Prosci Best Practices research having dedicated resources for your project is the #3 reason why projects succeed or fail. Why not begin by building a compelling business case for your change management activities? Use your knowledge, leverage change management best practices data on budget and headcount, change management ROI calculator tools and articulate the return on investment your business will experience as a result of their investment of the right level of resources. Being transparent and concise here early in a project can help to ensure you get the support you need. Aligning the level of change management spend required to the % of financial benefits successful change will deliver also furthers your cause. Not sure how to do this with data that executives understand? Consider the 1-day CMC Prosci Building the Business Case for Change Management workshop.
If you aren't quite sure what to do next, why not contact us today? Our experts could point you in the right direction as you progress on your journey as a change management practitioner.