1. I am appointed as the change manager for a project but how come nobody listens to me?
In change, resistance is a natural by-product. Nobody listens to you because you are the project or change manager. Sometimes, employees do not even listen to their bosses.
However, the data in Prosci® Best Practices Bench marking report suggest that there are underlying sociological, cultural and psychological forces that presets certain preferred senders and receivers in communications and sponsorship. This concept is particularly tricky in matrix organisations with mixed reporting lines. This is why change practitioners need to be flexible, communicative and adept at influencing different business units. They also need to have cleverly effective tactics in resistance management within their toolkit to help sponsors and middle managers reduce employees' inertia towards the change. In the Prosci® methodology for change management, there are a series of steps that enable effective resistance management in a project. If you're interested to find out more, come join us on a course anytime soon (more details below)!
2. It is impossible to get support from my sponsor. He/she is too busy and does not have time for me. What can I do?
Most executive sponsors and untrained professionals tasked to do change management do not realise that there are key roles that a sponsor needs to play. Effective sponsorship of a change is different from sponsorship of a project; it is more than just a title but a role with specific responsibilities. If the sponsor does not make appropriate executive decisions and take necessary executive actions the change will fail. According to Prosci's twenty years of research, the number 1 reason driving the success/failure of a project is active and visible sponsorship throughout the lifecycle of a project. Therefore, one of the core responsibilities of a change practitioner is to coach the sponsor.
While executive sponsors are generally busy, there will be times where they do have some availability to catch up e.g. early mornings before a meeting starts, lunch catchups, long wait for the lift to his/her office on another floor etc. Break down your sponsorship roadmap, coaching plans and activities into small manageable pieces. The phrase "don't let perfect get in the way of better" is the guideline to follow here. Try not to annoy your sponsor but show a genuine commitment to the change and remind him/her of its importance. Remind them of past failures and tell success stories or case studies. If the success of the change is truly important and prioritised by the sponsor, he/she will eventually see the value of change management and its vital connection to the delivery of business results.
3. What are the individual qualities and skills that make a good change management practitioner?
According to their largest longitudinal benchmarking study on Change Management, Prosci® discovered that Change Managers typically look for the following skills in a team member:
Evidently, not everyone can be a good change practitioner, let alone an expert at it. It takes years of training (in more advanced Change Management tools and techniques), experience and practice above a certain set of qualities and skillset.
4. How can I become more credible at managing change?
You must be able to convince and connect the people side of change to the deliverables of the project and ultimately to measurable business results. Obviously, you must first get yourself professionally trained in a structured, evidenced-based and actionable Change Management methodology to be able to do so. Thereafter, strive to gain knowledge and apply best practices of Change Management into your project. Lastly, practice makes perfect. The lessons and experience gained in the diligent and disciplined application of a robust and empirical method will become the heuristics that guide your confidence.
The Prosci® suite of role-based training helps aspiring change practitioners to build confidence by providing them with best practices data, easy-to-use tools and techniques, plus the basis of a business case to convince even the most sceptical business leader of its value. For instance, Prosci® captures and illustrates the value of change management perfectly in the Project Change Triangle (PCT™) model where each vertice underpins a foundational element (i.e. Sponsorship, Project Management and Change Management) that needs to contribute equally and strongly to the delivery of ROI from the change. In addition, everything that the project aims to achieve is encapsulated in the shaded area of the triangle. If you are interested to find out more, look out for the Prosci® courses and workshops that we run at CMC.
If you're passionate about driving the people side of change to deliver business results intentionally and intelligently, then you are destined to become a hero of change. Start off by attending our Prosci® Change Management Certification Workshop to become a Change Practitioner. We have spaces available in November and December courses in Singapore or maybe you prefer to take trip to Jakarta in November or Bali in January? We have plenty of options for you and feel free to contact our team if you have any enquiries!